Rodger Chieffalo is turning his hobby into a business with the new store Chieffalo Americana.
Cufflinks, scarves and men's and women's apparel.
Chieffalo Americana sells hats with a history.
Jackie Prophit (soon-to-be Chieffalo).
Vintage Wester belt buckle.
Cleans and shapes hats to suit your style.
Rodger Chieffalo wears a lot of hats. Literally. And, now you can buy one.
Chieffalo, the owner of commercial real estate brokerage and development company Chieffalo Realty, is on the ownership and management team that’s breathing new life into a Fort Worth institution: Roy Pope Grocery. (The reimagined iconic store is now targeted for a January opening.) Chieffalo is engaged to be married on October 20; he and his now-fiancée, Jackie Prophit, will open a new fashion-minded Western store on November 1.
Chieffalo Americana will take over the former Tucker Brown space at 4698 Camp Bowie. The storefront will feature fashionable accessories with historic appeal, from vintage Stetson’s and Fort Worth-crafted Peter Bros. hats to both Western and fashion belt buckles and straps.
What started out as a personal hobby — collecting and renovating vintage cowboy hats — has grown into a full line of clothing and accessories in just a few short years.
With a lifelong passion for fashion, custom clothing, American vintage, and handmade craftsmanship, Rodger Chieffalo has collected and studied the history of hats, cufflinks, buckles, and Western scarves for the past 12 years or so.
He began sharing his passion online with like-minded customers from around the country about three years ago — and the demand has steadily grown.
“Once we pulled the trigger and set an opening date, everything kicked into high gear,” Chieffalo tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “We are scrambling to get stocked by the other lines that we’ll be carrying.”
He describes the menswear as traditional styling that will complement his accessories, while the women’s clothing will have more of an exotic feel.
“The idea of the collection is to create a style that is distinctively Fort Worth,” Chieffalo says. “Every hat is completely rebuilt, as are the vintage buckles and my cuff links, which are all fitted with a proprietary stiff back stem.”
For Chieffalo, the hunt is half the fun. Most of Chieffalo Americana’s products are vintage goods, found in antique shops or at estate sales and secondhand shops in West Texas.
If you get Chieffalo talking about the history of urban Western hats ― what he calls the “Cowboy Fedora” — you’d better hold onto your hat. He has a lot to say. Chieffalo’s specific passion is the slim-brim hat style that has been a mainstay for nearly a 100 years. This three-inch brim style typically has a five to six inch crown and came in tan to gray tones. It was the preferred style in cattle-driving cities spanning the Midwest, from Chicago to San Antonio, from the 1920s to the 1960s.
“Everybody wants these hats,” Chieffalo says. “Stetson called theirs the Open Road, Peter Brothers had Amon Carter’s famous Shady Oak, and Resistol’s version was called the San Antonio.”
No matter whether you call them — other names have included Cattle Buyers, Statoliner, and Banker’s Special ― these hats are back in fashion in a big way.
“When ranchers came to town, they picked up on the slim-brim style and bought one to wear when they were in the city,” Chieffalo says. “The guy that owned the cattle wore a slim brim; the guy that worked the cattle typically wore a wide brim. This is where the term ‘all hat and no cattle’ came from.”
The redesigning of these vintage goods is done by Chieffalo himself, with particular focus on the functionality, durability, and, of course, style of each item. Chieffalo Americana will be a handmade luxury brand. Much of the inventory consists of one-of-a-kind, renovated, and redesigned vintage goods.
The store will feature an ever-changing assortment of vintage beaver felt hats, new summer straw hats, both vintage dress and Western belt buckles, new leather belt straps, new and vintage cuff links, new and vintage silk scarves (including rare Hermès and something that true cowboys call “wild rags”), plus new luxury leather goods.
The store will also have a revolving art collection for sale, gracing its rustic brick walls. Chieffalo Americana plans to host pop-up stores as well as trunk shows by custom shirt and suit makers.
“You’ll have to stop in regularly to see what’s new,” he says.