Michelle Crite is the owner and designing artist behind “Red STAR Riggings” a new upcoming line of Western Hats. These fashionable hats quickly become the admiration of any cowboy or cowgirl. At the 2009 Houston Stock Show and Rodeo, Noel Orsak wore her custom hat by Red Star Riggings. Her new hat became the fancy of everyone she talk too. “There’s not a more unique Western Hat,” states Noel who is a volunteer committee member of the Houston Stock Show and Rodeo.
Red Star Riggings makes both Straw and Felt hats. The difference is the finishing traits of the true southwest influences. Each hats have brims wrapped in hand laced woven leather accents. The crowns are finished with various hat bands. Some done with latigo leathers with Turks head knotting customizes the crown. Others finished with Navajo Indian beading or with horse hair tassels on the end.
“Her creativity continues to emerge with exciting colors and texture combined not used before in the western hat market. Her designs include cowhide, tooled leather, ostrich, alligator, hot iron brands, beads, Conchos, crystals, and special techniques not seen anywhere before. Michelle loves to custom design hats - with personal brands - even using horse hair from the owner’s horses in the design. Each hat is a work of western art,” states Linda Galayda who was Vice President in marketing for Foley's department stores before retiring to care for the Texas family ranch.
Michelle Crite grew up in Texas as a military dependent. Her father was station in San Antonio where she developed her love of horses, the western culture and old western movies. Michelle lived in several locations before heading to San Francisco, California where she attended University of San Francisco graduating in 1993 with a degree in Computer Science. Michelle continued educating herself in computer software and management becoming certified as PMP, CISM an CISA education in 1998 at Houston Baptist University.
Michelle’s resume is as impressive as her creative style design hats. Formerly working SAP Security Team Leader then Computer Risk Manager with the companies Arthur Andersen, Baker Hughes, a consultant with ARTIC CAT, Horn Murdock & Cole and Westlake Chemical before she found herself as a Project manager with Noble Drilling Services, a leader in the world oil drilling based in Sugar Land, Texas. Although. In 2009 the company had a major lay-off where Michelle found her position pink-slip though the lay-off became her blessing.
This actually gave her the time to get started in something that had been tinkering in her head, “Red Star Riggings.” At her home on “RED STAR RANCH” located outside Houston in Waller, Texas she took the time to design several hats each hat finished and custom complete. Michelle, being an avid equestrian an member of LOTT (Ladies Of Texas Tradition) shared her ideas. Michelle credits her best friends including Dana Frazier who owns “Six Shooter Junction” in Hempstead, Texas.
It was first through Mary Hill Hebble, who works part time at “Six Shooter Junction” of Hempstead, Texas that I discovered the unique custom hats. Mary along with several girl-friends had been photographed by Double E Photography as part of a photo shoot for Texas Longhorns for Hire. Five various age women wearing tight fitting jeans of western attire each flashing the hat-wear of Red Star Riggings. The short crowns finished in a GUS style block and the wider brims seem to make each women appear taller. Something about the hats seemed to accentuate a magnetism of sex-appeal with its audacious fashion statement, “I am pure country.”
Michelle shares that her favorite artist Dorman Burns who does paintings of Cowgirls using watercolor as his medium. “His paintings of large brim hats on his cowgirls are very beautiful,” states Michelle. Standard Hat Manufactures seem to cut most hat brims short just around 3 inches. This wider brim makes for a more true western appearance of earlier fashions coming from the Southern Plantations influenced by Spanish Sombreros that return to the true origin of American Cowboy hats.
Ros Pactor, Vice President/Fashion Director of Folly’s before Macy’s purchased the department store stay’s current on fashion. Dallas, New York, Paris or London, she is in the know. Ros said, “If you are looking for what the Chic-est Cowgirls will be wearing this Rodeo season, check out Red Star Riggings. Hats are all about the fashion buzz and it’s no wonder that the big news is all about this extraordinary hat. An accomplished horsewoman, Michelle Crite knows what really works when adding stylish completions to your western outfits.”
Michelle took her collection to the Houston Stock Show and Rodeo last year where it quickly became a success. She followed up by taking the collection to Dallas, Texas and Denver, Colorado where again the hat drew much attention. Custom hats are not cheap want-a-be’s. They are an important necessity to finish the true look of fashion. She also held a vendors booth at the Extreme Mustang Makeover where she stated, “It was fun meeting all the trainers, learning something new and seeing the finals.” Be it exemplifying manly cowboys or bolstering the bling of cowgirls, the details complete these hats unlike others. Michelle easily reflects on her childhood of Texas, to her travels around the world has remained true to her heart and love of western culture of the American old west.
Michelle had made many hats on the side learning how to tie unique knots such as the Turks head and braid or lace. The business just came into play at the perfect time between a lay-off, help from friends as each hat is finished by hand and keeping faith. Although, Michelle also bounce back in the job market too today working as a ANSS-Project Control Systems - Financial Management Lead with another large Houston, Texas firm. However, her passion is her hats where she continues to build this line currently available through “Six Shooters Junction” Hempstead, Tx and Pinto Ranch with locations 1717 Post Oak Blvd • Houston, Texas | Northpark Center • Suite 2184 • Dallas, Texas
Michelle Crite places her love for unique western hats by hitching her Red STAR Ranch brand RSR too her Red Star Riggings. She believes in serving more than just a quality product, but one made with the American Pride and craftsmanship. Cowboys are known by the hats they wear. A product that you can be proud to say, I am a Star, wearing RED STAR RIGGINGS.
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