This simple, comfortable classic striped T-shirt is ideal as a layering piece for work or play. Made in Dutch Country, Pa., by a family-owned knitting mill that has been in operation since 1906, Small Trades shirts represent everything ideal about heritage American manufacturing.
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Why it's special
Locally SourcedMaterials and manufacturing from same location
Made in the U.S.A.Products manufactured in the U.S.
HandmadeEach piece is lovingly assembled
Size, Fit & Care
- Fits true to size
- Sits at hip
- 100% cotton
- Model wears size small
Back to Basics
The Small Trades Story
A trip to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles turned out to be much more than a relaxing afternoon of art and architecture. Robin Weiss, founder and Creative Director of Small Trades, saw something there that inspired her to change her life, and ours. At the Getty she viewed an exhibit by the photographer Irving Penn called “Small Trades.” This gallery showcased images of individuals with the iconic tools of their trades. Robin was already looking for something new, something different. She says, “I was living in two worlds: one was fashion.” So when inspiration from the exhibit struck, what did she decide to do? Go back to the classics, and do them right.
“I’m not a big trend person. I love a little trend. But I like to mix it with the tried and true.” Keeping this simple, classic aesthetic in mind, Robin searched for a producer in the United States that could help her bring her brand to life. In 2010, she found a factory that has been owned and operated by the same family in Dutch Country, Pennsylvania—Robin’s home state—since 1906.
She began a phone relationship with the owner, a manufacturer named Gary who—at the time—only sold to the Japanese. The phone conversations between Robin and Gary lasted for four months. During this correspondence, Robin specified that she would like to sell Small Trades in the United States to customers who care about the craftsmanship behind their products. Thus, a partnership was born.
“I’m not a technical designer,” she says, “I’m more of a creative director. And I stayed true to what he did but restyled it for the customer I had in mind: more current,“ a woman who “appreciates quality, simple style, classic, timeless pieces.” That is precisely what Small Trades became: beautiful, well-made product for all ages that will never go out of style.
The brand started out small, but grew quickly. Robin began with five bodies and samples for just five stores. But Small Trades was expanding: enter business executive Mary Ayscue. Mary and Robin had worked together previously at the well-known Brooklyn boutique Butter, which they had sold a few years ago. Mary joined Robin to launch Small Trades, focusing on brand-building, sales and building out their cozy store in downtown New York City.
Thoughtfulness applies to every aspect of the Small Trades design process, from production to buying to sales.
There are a lot of people making a lot of stuff out there. I try to make sure things are made the right way.
By right, Robin means carrying on the legacy of a sixth-generation knitting mill that needs her business to continue crafting the highest-quality shirts imaginable. We’re glad she did.
The History of the Mohnton Knitting Factory
The Mohnton Knitting Factory has been operated by the same family for six generations, with the founder’s great-grandson, Gary W. Pleam, as the current president. The factory is vertically integrated, with knitting, cutting and sewing all done by Mohnton itself, making all of its goods 100-percent American-made with American components. Most of Mohnton’s employees have been working at the factory for over 20 years, and some have been with the factory for more than 40 years. Each worker is dedicated to producing top-quality goods. With over 100 years of experience sewing garments and sportswear, Mohnton is one of the pillars of American heritage manufacturing. It is also one of the oldest continuously running textile factories in the United States.
Things haven’t been easy for Mohnton over the past decade, though. Much of its business was lost after the financial and housing crash of 2008. Were it not for the Japanese market, which craves crafted American goods, Mohnton would have gone out of business. Today it is rebuilding, focusing on the revamped interest in its production values, as evidenced by companies like Zady.