I’m the first to admit I’m not exactly the outdoors type. Much as I love to disprove gender standards, I am completely, entirely a “girly girl” when it comes to getting out in nature. Even though I grew up on a farm, I avoided work on said farm at all costs, and helping my dad in the summers was my version of a slow, tortuous death. I will say, however, that I can appreciate fashion in all forms, and what girl doesn’t fantasize about taking a glamorous hike to the top of a nature preserve for the perfect Instagram shot? Not to mention kicking all the boys’ butts at hunting, fishing, whatever sort of hobby they’re in to these days. Lindsey Gates is finding a way for women like me, and those who actually do have a passion for all things outdoors, to look great while doing it. Her brand, Wild Rose Apparel, launched two years ago and has rapidly developed fans of flora, fauna, and fashion alike. Read our interview with her below to find out about this wild rose turned fashion designer:
Haute in Texas: Hi Lindsey! Thanks for chatting with us today! So tell us, why fishing shirts? Has fishing been a big part of your life? For those of us who are not “outdoorsy”, explain what makes a shirt “fishing-friendly”.
Lindsey Gates: When I had the idea to make my own line it wasn’t initially with fishing shirts in mind. It was more like, I want to make fashionable designer pieces for women who enjoy the outdoors. Ive grown up immersed in outdoor activities and the outdoor industry. It was actually at an industry related “fashion show” women’s brunch that I realized this is what I wanted to do. I was with my mom and sister in law and we were laughing because we thought the fashion show was going to be real fashion, instead it was coveralls and bulky camo jackets with maybe a little pink thrown in the mix here and there. That was the first day the idea emerged.
So why fishing shirts for the debut collection? Well, in the outdoor industry, fishing shirts are a fashion staple. If you live here you have seen men and women wearing them in public like it’s a normal shirt. They are typically made of polyester or nylon blended moisture wicking fabric and the button down fishing shirts always have some type of vented back panels with mesh lined yokes. The material is commonly pretreated with some kind of UPF protection to prevent sunburn, as well as quick dry and stain resist agents, so these shirts are perfect for those who enjoying being outdoors, especially in the Texas heat.
HIT: What did you find was lacking in traditional fishing gear that motivated you to create Wild Rose?
LG: In the past, the problem with fishing shirts for women is that they are replicas of the men’s shirts, they’re just made smaller. It’s quite obvious when you see them that these shirts were designed with only function in mind. So, when I decided I wanted to design fashionable women’s outdoor apparel I felt it was a natural fit for my first collection since there wasn’t anything like it on the market. I wanted to come in making a statement. I wanted people to know that this brand is where fashion meets function. This is for women who want to look stylish no matter what they’re doing. It’s for women who need a shirt as transitional as their day to day activities are.
HIT: Has fishing been a big part of your life?
LG: Yes, fishing and hunting both were a big part of my life as as a child. Growing up on the southeast side of San Antonio in the 80’s it was pretty rural still, so I spent most of my time outside as a kid. My grandparents lived about half a mile away on a small farm that had a pond so from as early as I can remember I was over there fishing. Being a daddy’s girl from the day I was born, whatever my dad did I wanted to do and my dad was really into hunting and fishing, so I was too. Even though I was out at the deer lease or fishing with my dad and the boys, I still wanted to look pretty and feel like a girl. I still have a picture of myself as an 11 year old posing with a deer I shot while wearing a multicolor silk bomber jacket I thought was so fly. Ha! So for me this venture is part of who I am and always have been. I’ve always been a strong competitive woman who wants to look good and kick ass at whatever I’m doing.
HIT: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far in designing your own line?
LG: It’s so hard to pick one! When I set out to design this line I had no idea what I was in for. I was raised by entrepreneur parents who built their businesses from the ground up, so I thought I knew what to expect going into business for myself because I watched their trials and tribulations and saw their struggle, but I never knew how much stronger entrepreneurship would force me to be.
When you really let yourself take that risk and jump off that cliff, it’s so scary but so amazing at the same time. It’s like you free fall for a minute, then realize you’re either going to hit the ground or build some wings. If you decide to build the wings, the strategy is just to keep at it, even if you can only add one feather at a time. Eventually all the hard work starts to come together and you realize you’re flying, and even if it’s not super high, to know you even got off the ground gives you more life than anything else you can imagine. So for me, of all the lessons Ive learned so far I would say, as cliche as it sounds, the biggest so far is that if you want to fly you have to build the wings yourself and there is no time for second guessing, just continue to build!
HIT: What is the Wild Rose woman like? How does she reflect a modern day sense of womanhood?
LG: The literal definition of Wild Rose is a species rose that grows wild in nature with no help from man. So if you think about that for a minute, you have this beautiful flower that is delicate yet strong enough to grow wild in nature without help from humans. That’s what a wild rose woman is. A beautiful yet seemingly delicate woman who is so much more than what one might initially perceive. She is strong and able to do anything she puts her mind to and look good doing it. She knows no limits. She is a wild rose.
HIT: Where do you see the brand in five years? Ten?
LG: Working on spring summer 2026 with a TEAM of women who love fashion and the outdoors as much as I do. It’s my dream to hire every bad ass woman I come across who is with the movement and can bring something to the table. Our corporate Christmas cards are going to be so dope!
HIT: If you had to describe your purpose for life in one word, what would it be?
HIT: Name one woman who inspires you.
LG: My mom is my biggest inspiration for sure. Her middle name is actually Rose, so even the name Wild Rose was inspired by her. She has always been a strong beautiful woman who is wildly confident. By wildly confident I mean she can handle any situation like a boss. On the outside she seems so little and cute that you would never expect her to be so tough. I absolutely love that about her. Through her example she taught me how to be a strong independent woman while still being kind and loving and beautiful, both inside and out. The way she balances her beauty and strength has always been something I’ve loved most about her.
HIT: What’s next for Wild Rose? How do you continue to innovate?
LG: Next up is some fall fashion for hunting season. I have a camouflage I designed before I ever designed a fishing shirt, and I want to make some pieces with it! Every season will bring new collections. Women who enjoy the outdoors can look forward to seeing new pieces with new inspiration coming with each new collection. The Paradise collection (the one I just launched) was inspired by my travels and exploration of Italy, so with each new collection I will be drawing on inspiration from my own travels to create beautiful pieces women can wear as they explore and conquer their own world.
Now don’t you feel ready to go catch a prize-winning bass or something?! 😉 For more information on Wild Rose, including shopping their fabulous line, check out their website here or their Facebook page here.