All the Basics. All the Sizes.
Story by Patricia Merrick
Photos by Kurtis Kristianson
Beautiful clothes for beautiful bodies is the motto behind Rock & Prairie Clothing Co. – a local business created by Amy Hancock in 2019 to offer size-inclusive clothing for women.
“I’m a larger woman myself and I’ve been pretty much every size under the sun,” Hancock said. “One thing I realized, is, there’s just such a gap in that market and I think that’s a real opportunity for inclusiveness and community. Think about all the times you go shopping with your friend at the mall – if they’re larger, they’re not getting to actually shop for themselves in the same stores as their smaller friends.”
Rock & Prairie Clothing Co. creates clothing using sustainable fabric, including organic cotton and bamboo. The company produces elevated wardrobe staples, such as long- and short-sleeve shirts, pants, dresses and rompers.
“It’s quality basics – things that you can mix and match with other things in your wardrobe,” Hancock said. “You buy quality garments and you wear them and you wear them and you wear them. You don’t subscribe to the $7 T-shirt because the person who made the T-shirt is probably not even making $7 a week.”
Hancock designs and perfects the patterns before working with a pattern engineer in Calgary, who then digitizes them. A local factory in Calgary produces the clothing in small batches. Prices range from $50 to $150 per item.
“It’s ethical and fair treatment of the people that are making the clothes as well,” Hancock said. “I started the business because I really saw an opportunity for a locally-made product for all women’s bodies.”
Hancock worked on putting together designs and patterns during her first year in business and released the first production run in 2020. Since then, the local business owner has launched spring, fall and winter lines. She said she keeps a few standard designs available year-round and brings new items in each season.
Hancock lives in rural Crossfield and sells her clothing at the Crossfield Farmers’ Market. Participating in the market has been a successful way to showcase her wares, Hancock said, adding the market is exceptionally well organized and she enjoys the camaraderie that comes with being a vendor.
“It’s a real community. All the vendors are so lovely. No matter who you’re beside, it’s always a fun time. Everyone’s there to help each other,” she said. “I love talking to the people in the community.”
COVID-19 restrictions forcing market closures over the last year has been challenging for the new business owner. She has been working on expanding the brand online but said she had more success selling her pieces in person.
The entrepreneur sold sash bags – a crossbody purse similar to a fanny pack – in her first year of business to raise money for the first production of clothing. The sash bag was created by a woman in California and they are made at an ethical factory in India, according to Hancock.
Hancock named the business Rock & Prairie Clothing Co. because she was born and raised in the prairies and said she wouldn’t want it any other way. Her husband is from Newfoundland, which is also known as the rock.
The former flight attendant said she has been interested in fashion for as long as she can remember.
“Even when I was a little kid – instead of colouring in colouring books, – I had this stencil and it was a human body so I would trace out the body and then I would draw clothes on it,” she said.
Aside from fashion, Hancock enjoys crafting, camping and spending time outside with her husband Jeremy and their dogs, Boss and Harvey.
Rock & Prairie Clothing Co. is sold in consignment shops in Innisfail, Claresholm and at CrossIron Mills shopping centre, as well as online at www.rockandprairie.ca.
Hancock offers delivery for $5 in the Crossfield area, or items can be picked up at the CrossIron Mills location. For non-local shoppers, there is a $15 flat rate for shipping across Canada