Every company needs a good origin story. High Cotton has a humdinger.
A 2004 study found that men’s ties, which are rarely drycleaned, harbor significant disease inducing bacteria. Fast forward to 2010. Judy Hill’s eldest son Cameron was attending medical school at UVA. He let her know about the study, and a spark lit the flame of inspiration.
She decided to sew Cameron a cotton bow tie to wear during his rotations. Her rationale was simple. As a bow tie, it was an excellent sartorial choice. As a cotton garment, it could easily be laundered to ward off pathogens.
From there, she decided to create a company focused on producing washable, cotton bow ties.
I work at a medical school, and a not insignificant number of physicians, particularly the older ones, sport bow ties. Even before medical science impugned the long tie for its germ retaining properties, country doctors recognized the inherent superiority of the bow tie. Formal enough still to command respect, the bow tie was far less likely to get in the way during an examination.
High Cotton has branched out in recent years. Suspenders, pocket squares, polos, cummerbunds, women’s headbands and t-shirts (all made in North Carolina) are now part of its expanded product line.
I recently ordered one of the company’s polo shirts, and it’s a thing of beauty. The cotton, harvested in High Cotton’s home state of North Carolina, is luxurious. While it’s a pique shirt, it’s much softer than other cotton pique polos I’ve owned. Plus, it’s not nearly as voluminous as the ones offered by other manufacturers. Where, for example, I have to wear a small Brooks Brothers polo, the medium High Cotton is an excellent trim fit.