Photo: Courtesy of Tradlands.Always on the lookout for new local designers, I was pretty excited when I discovered Tradlands, a women's shirting company based here in San Francisco. It launched just a year ago with Sadie Roberts at the helm, a woman on a mission to create impeccable women's basics that take a page from the boys.
Gone are the days of coveting those perfectly tailored button-ups in your boyfriend's closet, Tradlands is your new go-to for effortless tomboy style. I got a chance to sit down with the founder and talk shop. Her muses, the company's ideology, and just her so-cool down-to-earth personality is going to make you wish ya'll were besties. Read on to discover your new basics — and designer crush — ahead.
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Photo: Courtesy of Tradlands.Can you tell us a little bit about Tradlands?
"We make menswear-inspired staples for the woman who drifts towards the menswear section and thinks, 'I wish they made this for me.' Our intention is to make the best clothing for our customers — women who are creative, hardworking, and like to be comfortable in their clothing. We make shirts that are guaranteed to last and made to be lived in. All of our goods are designed and sewn in San Francisco, with trims and fabrics sourced within the United States. Each style is made in small-batch production. This keeps vitality and versatility in our line for our customers and for us."
Photo: Courtesy of Tradlands.How did you get started?
"I went to art school in Rhode Island with a focus on pattern-making and textile design. I also have an associate degree in woodworking. My work experience has varied from designing custom staircases to crafting clothing and textiles. I carry a deep love and respect for the American craftsman tradition.
"From the time I was in college, I wanted to start my own company. With Tradlands, I decided to fill a void that I have always found when shopping for myself. Our story was really inspired by what wasn’t there. Time and time again, when shopping for myself, I wanted the styles and textiles I saw in menswear ... so, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Along with moving to San Francisco and marrying my husband, starting Tradlands is the best decision I've ever made. I wake up every day and love my work."
Photo: Courtesy of Tradlands.How does San Francisco influence your design?
"I knew that I wanted our production to be localized from the start. There is a long and important garment history in San Francisco that is slowly being revitalized. By manufacturing in San Francisco we are on hand for our production runs and oversee each shirt that gets made. I feel it is the best way to [not only] ensure well-crafted details, but a healthy work environment. The personal values my partner and I have, and caring for the livelihood of those we employ, are essential to our company. We are making the best clothing we can and also creating a socially and environmentally responsible workplace.
"To pay homage to the place the line is designed and sewn, each piece is named after a place in San Francisco. When we name each piece, we think about where we imagine a girl wearing it or a place that is distinct to us."
Can you talk a bit about the design process and manufacturing of your garments?
"My collections don't really follow trends. I focus on refining basics that every woman wants in her wardrobe. The most important aspect of the design process is a relentless emphasis on fit, details, and quality that is often reserved for menswear. When deciding on fabrics and silhouettes I ask myself, 'Will I love this in five years?' If the answer is yes, I know it's a keeper. I start with sketches and mock-ups. It's important for us to perfect the pattern first. Once a sample is finalized, we choose from the best fabrics we can get our hands on to build out a collection."
Photo: Courtesy of Tradlands.Do you have any tips for those who are interested in developing their own personal style?
"As I have gotten older and become comfortable in my skin, my style is more about ease and function. I prefer sun-kissed cheeks to blush, and my broken-in Vans to heels. I keep going back to the wardrobe pieces that I have had for years. Growing up on the East Coast, I always found myself stealing from my mom's — and dad's — closet. Oxford shirts, Fisherman's sweaters, and jean jackets. Now I find myself recreating those looks with a bit more maturity. I invest in great, effortless clothing. It's cool to be comfortable and confident."
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