Photo courtesy of Cotton Holdings, Inc.

Is it a rodeo — or a fashion show? A little bit of both, actually, at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. This year, urban darlings and cowgirls can take inspiration from mainstream fashion trends. Sure, leather fringe and denim will always have their place, but why not create a rodeo outfit with some spice?

To get the lowdown on 2023's rodeo style, we sat down with the unofficial queen of rodeo fashion, Zinat Ahmed, who has cultivated her jaw-dropping rodeo looks over the past six years. Ahmed is the executive vice president of marketing and branding at Cotton Holdings, and not only did she help oversee one of the most lavish tent ever at HLSR's annual cookoff, she is also sure to make an entrance at every rodeo event.

"Rodeo season in Houston has always been a great time to step out of the box and tell a story through fashion," Ahmed tells CultureMap. "It's an opportunity to dust off our boots, take risks, and accessorize incredible pieces we rarely wear. I love telling stories through creative outfits. Whether with sequin suits or brightly colored boots, rodeo is the time to bring a different level of creativity and unique flair to your overall look."

For the next month, ultra-glam looks with bold statement pieces will rule the buzzy rodeo scene. This is the year of the "Disco Cowgirl," according to Ahmed, with oversized statement pieces, bejeweled boots, and wild embellishments. "There are no rules anymore," she says. "Put on your squash blossoms, wear denim on denim, throw on a bright pink hat, or have your full rhinestone cowgirl moment."

Since RodeoHouston runs through March 19, fashionistas still have time to gather all the essentials for a fantastic rodeo season. With that in mind, we've assembled local rodeo fashion inspiration that will make you wish the rodeo is a year-round event.


Christina Greene Jewelry

Christine Green's Rice Village boutique is bursting with rodeo fashion, including the gorgeous gemstones she is known for. Shoppers can also pick up scarves, dresses, hat bands, stunning beaded bandanas, and handbags.

King Ranch Saddle Shop

Iconic Texas brand King Ranch has everything you need for the ultimate rodeo experience. Their newly opened Rice Village outpost is stocked with apparel, boots, accessories, and cult-favorite leather bags.

Seeds of Glass

Houston artist Amy Simon's Astros-inspired jewelry designs are a favorite of the Astros' wives and Houstonians everywhere. Her brand of handmade beaded necklaces and earrings burst onto the scene during the World Series, and she hasn't stopped creating since. The H-town-inspired jewelry is a great finishing touch to any rodeo outfit and can be worn long into baseball season.



Maida's is a Houston classic and has been making bespoke custom boots since 1901. Their master craftsmen can make any fashion dream a luxurious reality, and the best part about the investment is that they will never go out of style.

Parker Boot Company

Family-owned Parker Boot Company makes all of its boots by hand. Owner Zephan Parker learned from the best master craftsmen from all over the state. Their Heights store also offers a selection of handmade belts, wallets and accessories.

Republic Boot Co.

The award-winning boot company makes all of its boots in Houston. Their Heights showroom has a selection of in-stock boots and craftsmen ready to get started on a custom pair.


Tecovas is known for its large selection of handmade products at a great price point. Pick up high, low, or zip-up boots along with bags, coats, and accessories at either of their City Centre or Rice Village locations.



We are currently obsessed with Freya's Rodeo Edit. The Houston brand has several felt and straw styles to choose from. Shoppers can't go wrong with the Mesquite or the Robin styles.

The Hat Chick

This year's rodeo darling, The Hat Chick, is popping up everywhere. The brand's fun hats with customizable embellishments will be at Hemline Heights location and Zadok Jewelers Rodeo Kick-off, among others, throughout the rodeo season. Check out their schedule to customize a hat for yourself.

Kemo Sabe

Luxury western-wear brand Kemo Sabe will pop up in Rice Village during rodeo season. Shoppers can pick up clothing, boots, buckles, jewelry, and their line of Kemo Sabe Grit Hats. A celebrity favorite, they have been worn by Beyonce, Katy Perry, LeAnn Rimes, John Mayer, and more.

zinat ahmed cotton 'q club tent

Photo courtesy of Cotton Holdings, Inc.

Zinat Ahmed, in a must-have, custom collection Teressa Foglia hat, rocks rodeo chic at the red-hot Cotton 'Q Club tent.

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Popular Indian restaurant adds second location offering exclusively vegetarian fine-dining experience

Delicious Dedication

Foodies in the know have been visiting Nirmanz Food Boutique in Sugar Land for the past six years, drawn by its wide variety of Indian cuisines that include Punjabi, North and South Indian, Indo-Chinese, Indian street food, and even Indian fast food.

Now, hungry Houstonians and visitors seeking bright flavors and high-end hospitality can flock to the second location in Richmond, which opened at 11143 Harlem Rd. in fall of last year. It will feature an exclusively vegetarian menu.

It's the first of many planned expansions, says chef Nirman Shah, who runs the brand with his wife, Niyati, and three daughters: Manushi, Aayushi, and Sreyanshi. “These girls of mine are my truest of assets,” he often expresses.

Shah and his family have always followed the path of vegetarianism, and it has long been a dream to have a restaurant that showcases only vegetarian cuisine.

"In the Indian culture, there’s a large population that follows vegetarianism and there is a lack of fine-dining vegetarian, Indian restaurants here in America," says Shah. "Our goal is to place a spotlight on this particular genre and spread awareness of this cuisine that's growing in popularity."

Shah revealed that all Nirmanz locations will be converting to exclusively vegetarian soon, and there will be an additional menu that features gluten-free, vegan, jain, and swaminarayan options for those with dietary restrictions. In the near future, there will also be additions to the menu featuring cultural root dishes, which are often not found outside of India

"Ultimately we want to create a dining space that is inclusive, where there is something for everyone," Shah says. "As professionals in the hospitality industry, nothing makes us happier than having loved ones dine in our restaurants, celebrating a joyous time, while leaving satisfied."

A graduate of Indian Hotel Management in Ahmedabad, Shah has more than 25 years of U.S. restaurant experience.

Before arriving in the U.S., Shah earned accolades working as a head chef at the renowned Rambagh Palace Hotel in Jaipur, now a luxury Taj Palace Hotel, and also studied food technology.

The new location in Richmond is a celebration of Shah's culinary journey throughout his time in America. Beautifully adorned with antique furniture and pieces that were brought over from the city of Rajasthan, the restaurant's ambiance helps tell the story of the chef and his family.

The authentic menu tells its own delicious tale with comforting favorites like palak, tikka masala, and koftas, plus some unexpected fusion creations.

Thanks to both its food and its family spirit, the beloved restaurant brand is a popular choice for weddings and has catered at some of the city's most stunning venues.

Shah also believes in giving back — community is extremely important to him. He has gone out of his way to deliver free meals to medical offices and clinics during the pandemic, and helped feed locals during Hurricane Harvey and the devastating ice storm.

Bringing cuisine and culture together has always been Shah's goal, and now there are twice as many opportunities for his fans to experience that.


Nirmanz Food Boutique's original location is at 16338 Kensington Dr., suite 160, in Sugar Land (832-532-0699). Its new location is at 11143 Harlem Rd. in Richmond (832-281-9990).

Nirmanz Food Boutique

Photo courtesy of Nirmanz Food Boutique

The second location in Richmond is now open.

2 star chefs roll out sushi spot with fresh-from-Tokyo goods along with intimate new bar in buzzy Buffalo Bayou hub

sushi in the park

Two of Houston’s most prolific sushi chefs have signed on to an eagerly anticipated mixed-use development. Chefs Patrick Pham and Daniel Lee, the owners of 2023 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Best New Restaurant winner Aiko, will open Doko, a new sushi restaurant, and Bar Doko, an intimate cocktail bar, in the Autry Park mixed-use development.

Expected to open this fall on the ground floor of the Hanover Parkview mid-rise, Doko will serve a menu of sushi that utilizes fish flown in from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market. The 1,900-square-foot restaurant is expected to seat 50 in its main dining room and 12 at its bar.

Tiny Bar Doko will occupy just 600-square-feet in a space that’s adjacent to Doko. The group’s first bar, it will serve Japanese-inspired cocktails. Houston architecture firm JT ARC Studio and Los Angeles’ JAW Collective will create the designs for both establishments

Taken together, Doko and Bar Doko are the latest projects from Duckstache Hospitality, the company that chefs Pham and Lee established with business partners Andrew Lin and C.J. Short. In addition to the aforementioned Aiko, they also operate Kokoro in downtown’s Bravery Chef Hall, Himari at the Stomping Grounds in Garden Oaks, and two outposts of hand roll concept Handies Douzo.

“Autry Park is an amazing opportunity to continue to showcase our culinary creativity in a unique setting,” Lin said in a statement. “We look to evolve our offering in Japanese cuisine to provide our guests with memorable dining experiences.”

Doko and Bar Doko will join a number of new restaurants at Autry Park. They include two new concepts from Berg Hospitality, Annabelle Brasserie and Turner’s Cut; two restaurants from MF Sushi chef-owner Chris Kinjo, MF Lobster and Ceviche and Annam, a Vietnamese restaurant; Auden, a vegetable-forward, globally inspired restaurant; a second location of pilates studio and coffee shop Duo; and the first Houston location of Austin favorite Lick Honest Ice Creams.

Developed by local real estate firms Lionstone Investments and Hanover Company, Autry Park occupies 14 acres on the western edge of Buffalo Bayou Park. The project's three-phase masterplan includes five towers encompassing 1,450 residential units, 350,000 square feet of Class A office space, and 100,000 square feet of retail, according to press materials.

Dave Chappelle heads to Houston as part of 4 Texas arena stops

Chappelle's Show(s)

Comedian/actor Dave Chappelle will soon bring his "Dave Chappelle Live" stand-up comedy show to arenas in four cities in Texas, including Toyota Center in Houston on July 1.

Other dates include American Airlines Center in Dallas, on June 29, AT&T Center in San Antonio on July 12, and Moody Center in Austin on July 14.

Chappelle is a complicated figure who's been celebrated for his trailblazing comedy and vilified for his controversial stances. Chappelle's Show, which ran from 2003 to 2006 on Comedy Central, was widely praised, and Chappelle remained extremely popular despite the abrupt end of the show and him choosing to recede from the spotlight in the following decade.

His re-emergence in the late 2010s brought success in the form of three straight Grammy wins for Best Comedy Album, but also continued jokes aimed at transgender people. He has been the subject of multiple protests over that material, and has even had a show canceled by a venue in Minneapolis after receiving criticism for hosting him.

As if to underscore the contentious nature of his comedy, no cellphones, cameras, or recording devices will be allowed at any of the four shows. All phones and smart watches will be secured in special pouches that can be unlocked at the end of the show. Anyone caught with a cellphone in the venue will be immediately ejected.

Tickets for the four shows will go on sale at 5 pm on June 5 at ticketmaster.com.