It's not every day you meet someone with a degree in apparel and textile marketing who works in the agriculture industry. That's the case for Abby Stack, who I met recently at the Big Iron Farm Show. She was attending her first ag trade show for Rosies Workwear - her aunt's California-based company that offers women a stylish alternative to traditional men's workwear.
On AgweekTV this week, I share the story of Rosies Workwear, which was inspired by Rosie the Riveter and the thousands of other women who stepped up to do the jobs the men left behind when serving in World War II. Check your local listings or find the segment at Agweek.com.
As the Rosies Workwear marketing and event manager, Abby primarily attends garden or hobby farm events. However, the company wants to reach more women in the crop and livestock industries, so she made her way from Kansas City to the farm show in West Fargo, N.D. Abby grew up in the city and earned a bachelor's degree from Kansas State University in apparel and textile marketing. With friends involved in agriculture, she wanted to work in the industry. Her job at Rosies Workwear melds her passions.
Many women work in traditionally male-dominated jobs, but that doesn't mean they should wear the same clothes. All Rosies Workwear products are made of lightweight, durable and comfortable fabric in a range of colors and patterns and with removable kneepads. Plus there is a zip option below the knee to create shorts for warm weather. The versatile coveralls and overalls embrace the can-do attitude of women who are welders, do-it-yourselfers, ranchers, mechanics, painters, farmers and gardeners. The Rosies Workwear line also features gloves, tool belts and other apparel.
Abby's aunt, Sharon Moore, a DIY enthusiast and welder, started the business 15 years ago in California. She couldn't find any workwear that fit and allowed her to do her job safely and efficiently. As Abby describes, men's workwear is boxy, feels like cardboard, has sleeves that are too long and crotches that hang down to the knees on many women. Knowing there are other hard-working women out there, Sharon took matters into her own hands and came up with her own design for women's workwear.
At the farm show, Abby gave me a mini fashion show featuring Rosies Workwear styles. As a 6-foot-tall female, one of my first concerns with fit is the length. I met a loyal Rosies customer in the booth, Cat Albert from Galesburg, N.D., who owns six pairs of the overalls, and wears them daily in her rural job, attending her kids' games and in her favorite pastime, tractor pulling. Cat came specifically to Big Iron to see the Rosies booth. She is as tall as me. The overalls fit her perfectly and featured numerous deep pockets of all sizes - for gathering eggs or holding screws, nails, pacifiers, toys, snacks or whatever a woman needs to pack while working.
After visiting with Abby and learning more about Rosies Workwear, I was sold, as was my farmer friend, Cara. We're each now the proud owners of berry-colored overalls from Rosies. I also have a bright pink safety vest to wear on my evening walks with my dogs or on job sites with my husband.
No matter your role, you can be fashionable and functional while working cows, under the hood of a car, with a welder or paintbrush in hand or in the garden.