Owner of Roak Apparel, Jessica Barnett, focuses on eco-friendly clothing and inclusive sizing when it comes to her designs. She created a brand based on minimal pieces, made from the best fabrics.
“I wanted to keep things simple because it allows for creative styling and versatility. Plus, coming from my previous life as a jewelry sales rep, the simpler the clothing, the more you can play up and highlight accessories,” she said.
Barnett’s Dreams of Being a Fashion Designer
Barnett grew up in Florida, where she couldn’t change her style according to the seasons. “It impacted my view on fashion because I would always look through magazines and admire the booties, winter coats, scarves, wishing I could wear them,” she said.
In the fall and winter months, since it was a little chillier outside she could wear her UGGS, “Now that I’ve lived in cooler climates, I’ve adjusted my comfort level to different temperatures and can’t imagine wearing UGGS in Florida’s ‘cold’ and humid weather,” she said. Barnett loves when the seasons change, she’s experienced New York’s weather changes and now gets the opportunity to experience Denver’s.
How Roak Apparel Came to Life
The meaning behind the name Roak Apparel is very personal to Barnett. She grew up on a street called Regal Oak. She strung together the two names to create Roak. In growing up there, she discovered her dream to become a fashion designer and move to New York City by flipping through fashion magazines.
“Not only does the name tie to the specific moment and place when my goals emerged, but it also intentionally connects to its roots focused on nature (Oak Trees), whether that be the eco-conscious elements or the environments from which I draw inspiration,” she said.
Barnett lived in New York for six years. All of her clothing is still being produced out of New York City and will remain that way. Following her move to Denver, the Mile High City will now be home to Roak Apparels’s headquarters where all of the designing, marketing, and shipping will be done.
Roak Apparel’s Eco-friendly and Size-Inclusive Efforts
Roak Apparel produces eco-friendly and size-inclusive clothing. Barnett wants to provide customers with comfortable clothing that they can invest in and that will last them forever. She wanted to include petite and curve sizes. Currently, they offer sizes of 0-16 and Barnett plans to expand the range as her brand continues to thrive.
“When designing and sampling, I consider the size range and how the style will translate to each person’s unique body type. Everyone who puts on the clothes deserves to feel confident and comfortable,” she said.
Roak Apparel prides itself on being an eco-friendly brand. Barnett values a product’s life cycle. She wants her products to last a long time and serve their purpose. Barnett chooses specific fabrics to ensure her clothing is of the best quality, everything is produced in the U.S. and she provides quantities of her products that have less impact on the environment.
“I chose to provide limited drops with a tight assortment. The goal is always to sell, but that’s not what drives me. I genuinely enjoy the process, and that’s what comes first. Thus, allowing the eco-friendly aspects of the brand to happen naturally,” she said.
Materials and Collaborations
There are certain materials Roak Apparel uses to create clothing that is long-lasting and of great quality. Barnett uses fabrics made from Bamboo Viscose, 100% Silk and wool. “The fabric choices were based on the style and feel I wanted to achieve with each piece and its environmental impact,” she said.
Barnett has recently done a collaboration with Support Her Story, following her ‘Made in NYC’ production model. The collaboration features one of her recent pieces – a lavender scarf. While her scarf was printed in Italy, she used her techniques of cutting, sewing and packaging to make it here in the U.S.
The Future of Roak Apparel
While up to this point Roak Apparel has only been an online-based clothing brand, this holiday season Barnett will be working with Denver’s local, sustainable, lifestyle market, Made to Last Market in Belmar.
“As we near the end of the year, I think the future of Roak Apparel will stem from its growth in retail settings and marketing efforts,” Barnett said.