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Cowgirls in Space

Space Cowgirls
Space Cowgirls: Kim Leary and Byrnne Cortez make clothing for "just about any woman who kicks ass."

They have seen the future of fashion, and it's pretty weird

By Michele Jenkins

Blue and pink sequins, fake-fur chaps, tiny cap guns and the ubiquitous cowboy hat (preferably with sequins) are some of the basics of the newest addition to the San Francisco fashion scene, the Space Cowgirls.

A UFO of the fashion design world, the Space Cowgirls were first spotted in Nevada's Black Rock desert at this year's Burning Man festival, and since then have been sighted at underground events all over San Francisco. According to the alien minds behind the other-worldly fashion--Kim Leary and Byrnne Cortez--cowgirl creations will be landing in mainstream clothing stores by the end of this year.

Currently Space Cowgirls tank tops, cocktail gowns and accessories are found almost exclusively on one of the cowgirls or their deputies--those deemed worthy by the fashion vigilantes. The Cowgirls have played at what they call "the big casino of fashion" for less than a year now, but they have already taken over both the minds and closets of many unsuspecting San Franciscans.

So where do they find inspiration for their designs? Art, San Francisco, insane people on the street, drag queens, '50s Americana, Mae West and Farrah Fawcett are among the obvious sources. "Just about any woman who kicks ass," Cortez says. According to her, they chose the name Space Cowgirls because their clothing reflects the past in styles and the future in fabrics.

So it's safe to assume that the Space Cowgirls are not quiet and demure. Anyone who doubts this should catch Cortez and Leary yelling into their tiny Toys R Us megaphones. Among their slogans: "It is not about accessories--it is about a lot of accessories."

Space Cowgirls make clothing for those they like to call "real women with real bodies." In a time when haute couture seems to be designed specifically for 7-foot-tall androgynous heroin addicts, the Cowgirls hope to provide bizarre and often one-of-a-kind wearable statements for the rest of humanity.

Space Cowgirls apparel will hit stores by Christmas, but until then call 415/641-6133.

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From the October 1997 issue of the Metropolitan.

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