Apparel for Every Destination

By Amanda Lacey

Photography Courtesy of Western Rise

WESTERN RISE reinvents business & pleasure travel wear

STEREOTYPE WARNING:It’s not often you hear of a man packing more clothing for a trip than a woman. However, when Kelly Watters and her husband Will found themselves living the Colorado life—going from multiple outdoor activities a day straight to meetings with clients while also traveling abroad for work, that’s exactly what happened. Kelly had access to performance clothing that transitioned not only across different situations but also socially. Will struggled to find anything that would do the same, finding very gear- or sports-specific options that didn’t quite transition into social situations while on the road. He was packing heavier than Kelly when they traveled. 

One of the best ways to start a business is to see a need and fill it. So, they did.

The couple, with Kelly at the helm as co-founder and president and Will as co-founder and creative director—fueled by determination—founded Western Rise with an adventurous spirit and a lofty goal: to provide a single set of men’s performance clothing for every day and every occasion. What’s better than that? 

By creating versatile, high-quality, stylish and sustainable clothing, Western Rise enables modern travelers to carry less and experience more. Its products revolutionize how modern travelers experience the world, focusing on four key elements: technical materials, advanced treatments, timeless styles and premium construction. They also use sustainable fabrics, carbon neutrality and ethical manufacturing.

“We focus a lot on longevity, style and durability. We want you to be able to roll up a pair of pants in your bag, have them take up less room than a T-shirt, and then wear them for ten days while being odor-resistant, not showing signs of wear, or needing to be washed,” Kelly Watters says. “It’s a different use case that we design for; that makes what we offer very different from other products on the market.”

In addition to the core essential pieces Western Rise currently offers (travel and everyday pants, merino button-downs, classic tees and more), the brand plans an expansion into womenswear in 2026. Continuing with the mission to simplify people’s lives and to allow travelers to experience more with less, Western Rise intends to launch an entire travel system—not just one travel bag, but a set of five bags that all intermix to allow for a fully custom packable experience depending on your trip and where you’re going.

Will & Kelly Watters, Founders of Western Rise

Should you find yourself in Telluride, Kelly Watters says you can feel free to walk into the Western Rise headquarters to see plans drafted for the following season; otherwise, you can find this online retailer through Nordstrom, Back Country and other specialty retailers across the country.