Designer Asia Hall is changing western-wear traditions with her Neon Cowboys fashion brand. Her light-up cowboy hats and other country-western apparel accessories have caught the attention of music fans and celebrities alike.
Her clever cowboy hat invention proves how inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. Hall’s idea for a light-up cowboy hat came out of the darkness during a country music festival performance.
“During the nighttime, the headliners are just performing and it’s just really dark,” she said in a 2017 interview. “And, I realized that they needed something that was kind of more exciting and fun and keep the energy and keep the mood up. Technically, lighting up the party.”
Hall thought about her experience in the country-western festival scene, as well as other similarly themed bars and venues. The bright lights of the neon signs seemed like the perfect fit for a fashion statement. And, so she got busy working on an idea.
Her time as a computer science major in college and having a father who was already in the fashion business came together in the creation of an LED cowboy hat. Eventually, she and her design team came up with a mold to create translucent plastic hats that would glow with colorful LED lights. She took her prototype to music festivals, and people couldn’t get enough of them. It was the momentum Hall needed to launch Neon Cowboys in 2014.
Since then, the Neon Cowboys team has streamlined the light-up cowboy hat to a light and sleek look and has expanded to include other fashion glow-ups, including bolo ties, shirts and even cowboy boots.
Celebrities including Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Dua Lipa and Kacey Musgraves have jumped on the light-up looks. Hall told Texas Monthly the partnerships have been a boost for her brand, and that her collaboration with Musgraves helped get her product into the public eye and into fans’ hands.
Hall also knows that being a Black entrepreneur in a predominately white industry has both its upsides and downsides.
“It’s so cool to me that more minorities are claiming that cowboy culture for themselves,” Hall told Texas Monthly interview. “On the flip side, we have had to deal with online trolls who have accused us of appropriation, which is crazy because the original cowboys weren’t white … at the end of the day, being a cowboy is so American and it’s not fair to think that only white people can have that identity.”
To see the full Neon Cowboys collection, visit the brand’s website.