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Meet Kennimer, Austin’s Electrifying Western Wear Brand

From neon fringe to exceptional embroidery, we get to know the husband-wife duo behind the transformative styles

Kennimer Austin Western Wear

A hat and clothing brand, Kennimer is home to unique western wear with an inspiration from nature. Husband and wife duo, Bonnie and Ben Kennimer, established their fashion company based on a love for bright colors, classic items over trends, an eye for creative detail and a love for making consumers happy and comfortable.

Brand foundersr and husband-wife duo, Bonnie and Ben Kennimer. (photo by Brittany Dawn Short)

Tell us about the inspiration surrounding your brand.

We aim to pay homage to the traditional elements of western clothing and hats while infusing them with our own contemporary style. The Bronco hat is essentially the style of hat that I’ve worn for years, which was always my customization until I started the brand. It was my customization on whatever hat I’d go to buy. I would make it look like that. Once I started my brand, that was clearly my go-to of the style I wanted to put out. It’s become pretty popular because it’s a shorter brim. It’s not as big of a hat as you’d buy from other cowboy brands.

Regarding clothing, the embroidery style on the Amaryllis suit is actually an amaryllis that I grew and did a drawing of to create that image. It’s a quintessential ladies’ suit, in our opinion; it’s a nice fit classic look. I have several amaryllis that I grow, and that one was special. It was one I had never seen. It’s two sets of petals, and it’s a really nice flower.

We grab a lot of inspiration from nature and our current environment. We’ve been on road trips and come back with ideas from every scene we saw — for example, a mountain scape and some plains. We just draw a lot from natural life.

Kennimer Austin Western Wear

When did your company form? How have you grown since then?

We formed in 2017. The company originally started with our felt hats made using tools crafted ourselves. We integrated clothing into the business after a year, since growing from our home workshop having physical locations in Houston and now Austin. We’ve had the opportunity to dress some of the most dynamic artists in the world, while maintaining a consistent made in-house clothing line, and continue to look forward to future expansions.

We notice a lot of bright colors. What are your thoughts on wearing bright expressions?

Kennimer always strives to empower individuals to embrace their unique style and express themselves through bold, colorful designs. The gold color in our brand is another color I have worn for a while. It’s just kind of been a color that I wear and I like a lot. It was nice to be able to put that in a collection and offer it to other people.

Kennimer Austin Western Wear

In your opinion, what makes a hat great?

When you can bring style and function together in a space that elevates the wearer’s mood, that makes anything great. Especially when it comes to a fine hat.

Style is always subjective. The style of hat that you like is kind of open to anyone. The quality of the hat is less objective. A 100% beaver is the most durable and the best hat you’re going to get. With us, it’s just the way we operate. We want to have quality materials. That’s the #1 thing, I believe when you are looking for a hat. Is it going to work? Is it going to last?

If it’s high quality, taking care of it will be generational. You can pass that hat down. The craftsmanship is also important — it has to be put together well. In my design, I like to do different things you don’t really see generally in a western wear store. You aren’t going to see a lot of blues and pinks and brighter colors in a quality hat. A lot of times you get it in a lower quality. You can wear it for a season and that’s okay. I like to put my style onto quality materials.

Kennimer Austin Western Wear

What are some of your favorite trends for this year?

Rather than adhering to mainstream fashion trends, we prefer to follow our own path. Each season we draw ideas from what truly captivates us in our own environments, allowing our designs to be guided by our creative vision.

What is an important movement within the fashion industry that you’ve noticed?

The growing emphasis on making clothing in a mindful and sustainable way. Making quality pieces that will last is where we like to stand in sustainability. My hats are products you can wear for the rest of your life if they’re properly taken care of. You may want to get something else because your style may change, but you don’t have to.

I really enjoy that there’s been a lot of focus put on sustainability. People are more aware of fast fashion trends, which we try to stay far away from. We like to make things that are going to be your piece. You can wear one of our styles for a good long time.

Kennimer Austin Western Wear

What is your hope for people who decide to explore your brand?

The ultimate goal to is to create products that hold purpose and value for our customers. We want each item we craft to become their most cherished. We hope to inspire your personal style within our designs.

We always have people coming back and saying, “I wear it all the time. It’s my favorite hat and I love it.” Being able to create something that people want to wear and show off and having them be part of the brand. For hats and clothing, we have repeat customers all the time. I love it and thank you. That means a lot to us when someone can wear it every day and still love it. Just being happy about wearing something that we create is pretty special.

Kennimer Austin Western Wear

DJ Diplo recently wore your clothing. How do you feel about that?

Creating a custom piece for Diplo, like many other artists we design for, it always feels great to work with a person in a creative space. It’s really nice working and creating with other artists and creatives to come up with something we may not have thought of right away.

What are some plans for the future?

We are currently working on getting a brick and mortar store in Austin. We have an opportunity for a small space here. Plus, we have some other collaborations in the works. We also have a new collection coming out, and we got accepted to New York Fashion Week. We will have about 30 looks for that. It’s a big project along with a new line of hats coming out that will drop in the next few months.

Kennimer Austin Western Wear

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