For over 12 years, Trey Gilmore, the Lucchese Director of Product Development and Men’s Design, has been a part of Lucchese and has defined the design and style of Lucchese cowboy boots. Trey grew up on the outskirts of city life – south of Abilene, Texas. He lived there until 2002 with his wife and then moved to Parker County and has been there ever since. Growing up in west Texas, you could say Trey has a love for the western lifestyle. He said, “My pops always wore cowboy boots and well-made products because it was the lifestyle we lived in. As a kid, he would always talk to me about the quality and how you could identify a well-made boot.”
What brought you to Lucchese?
When I was 18, I was taking some college classes and working at the local Luskey’s in Abilene. In 2002, I opened a store in Weatherford for Luskey’s. I worked for Luskey’s until 2005, which is when I went to work for Michael and Anissa Teskey. Michael and Anissa had built an incredible Tack business (1998) with their own hard work, grit, and a good team of folks. In 2005, they hired myself, Ronnie Campbell, and Lorinda Van Newkirk to help them put together what is still one of the coolest stores you’ll ever walk in to. The most enjoyable part of working for both of those companies was working with the customers on building their unique styles and designs, specifically with Lucchese, which we carry in both stores. That’s what nurtured my passion for Lucchese specifically – the cowboy boot constructions and how to build them and what differs.
In 2009, I had an opportunity to come join the Lucchese team. It is truly a rewarding responsibility we have to carry the torch for such an amazing American Brand.
Tell us a day in the life as Director of Product Development.
On a day-to-day basis, it’s building our new lines, putting them together, and developing our hand-stained exotic collections. I develop all of the colors in Lucchese’s finishing room with our finishing professionals. We mix and trial each color before adopting them into our life. It’s a trial and error process to make sure they’re going to wear properly. When we have new patterns, we’ll make sure they fit properly while maintaining that Lucchese quality.
How much time do you spend at the factory?
Typically, I spend about two to three weeks out of the month at our factory in El Paso. When you’re developing new product, making changes, and adjusting fit and patterns, it requires nonstop attention. My time in El Paso is great because I’m able to watch these works of art come to life. I certainly enjoy being around all of our craftsmen and women that truly pour their heart and soul in everything we make.
How do you get inspired to create/design a cowboy boot?
I get inspiration from all over whether that be from Lucchese vintage styles or adjusting 100+ year old Lucchese patterns to bring something to life. When we create a new style, we have master bootmakers in our product development department that hand-cut our new inlay and overlay designs. Lucchese truly does separate itself from the rest of the western footwear world.
I do often go back to the days gone by, standing in those cowboy shops of Abilene and hear my Pops talking about all leather, handmade boots, and why they’re worth the money you pay for them. He’d tell me, “It’s an investment in your feet, Sonny-boy” and I believed him because a lot of days he spent 15 or 16 hours in them.
Tell us about your special projects.
We just recently finished a project that was well over 2,000 hours from beginning to end. Lucchese was commissioned by The Pizzuti Companies to create a one of a kind, truly unique, hand-carved and hand-tooled piece to cover the front of the reception desk at The Joseph, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nashville. Hand-tooling as a whole is something I have been around for most of my life – it’s a unique part of the western lifestyle. It’s something you’ve seen in cowboy gear for as long as the cowboy has been around. So, I went to Nashville and took my concept and collaborated with Joel Pizzuti and Dan Gore of The Pizzuti Companies. The concept I came up with was to use state flowers and insects from Texas, Tennessee, and Ohio to tell the story of Lucchese and The Pizzuti Companies coming together to create this beautiful masterpiece. My partner Rafael Hernandez and I went to work.
Rafael and I had no idea how amazing this piece was going to turn out. After a year and a half of sketching, development, and actually carving and tooling the piece, it turned out remarkable. From design concepts to sketching to sampling and then the carving and tooling of the piece, I think it’s something that speaks volumes about The Joseph and Lucchese, our capabilities, and the talent we have.
In addition to my special projects, we started a footwear project with King Ranch® that will be released in the fall, so stay tuned!
How have you continued to emphasize western wear in much of your personal and professional work?
The western lifestyle is simply just the way we live. Growing up in Taylor County, Texas, we fed and raised some show stock and traveled around the state showing. For most of my life, I’ve worn cowboy shirts with my boots, and there’s really nothing like a good hand-crease hat.
How have you seen the western industry change since you’ve been in it?
It’s been eye opening to me the last two and a half decades seeing how the styles have evolved. How we’ve gone from narrow and medium round toe boots in the ‘80s to ropers in the ‘90s then wider round and square toes in the 2000s. We see toe styles and shapes change, denim washes darken and lighten, and decades later, pearl snaps are everywhere. Now, you see as many snap-front shirts as you see buttons in the industry. That’s something I connect back with to my childhood. It reminds me of the good old days of where and how I grew up.
What’s your favorite pair of Lucchese boots? Why?
This is a tough one. One of my favorite skins is eastern diamondback rattlesnake. I remember having a pair of rattlesnake boots as a youngster, and I thought I was so cool. It’s an eye catcher, it’s unique, and not every brand offers it. People still to this day will stop me and start conversation asking who made those boots. Being able to tell them they’re Lucchese brings out that sense of pride. To be able to share what I do and to have those wonderful men and women on the floor that build these beautiful works of art is supremely satisfying.
What do you feel every day when you put on your Lucchese boots?
I feel a lot of things. One of the greatest is the artisan hands of the men and women that build these masterpieces – there is no other fit out there like it. When you have that perfect fit, every pair that you pull on feels amazing. It’s like Christmas every morning. You get to pick which one you want to wear, and they all feel unbelievable. I feel lucky to have been able to experience and learn from my colleagues about this wonderful brand. I feel lucky to have been surrounded by all of the people that helped me along my journey in the cowboy boot industry. I’m happy to be a part of the best boot company in the world.
You do many of the voiceovers for Lucchese videos, and now you are on the Facebook live videos for the brand. How does it feel being the narrator and voice of Lucchese?
I’m honored. I love spreading the good word. I love sharing what Lucchese is about, how we do it, or offer a piece of knowledge whether that’s to a friend or a colleague. It truly is rewarding.