It all started, curiously enough, in the worst days of the Great Depression. The year was 1932, and Max Gitman decamped New York to establish a shirt making concern in the heart of Pennsylvania coal country: the Ashland Shirt & Pajama Company.
For 46 years, Ashland produced shirts for other labels on a contract basis. But in 1978, Max’s sons Alfred and Sheldon decided to start selling shirts under their own moniker. Gitman Bros. was born.
Gitman Bros. is today one of the few remaining shirt companies whose manufacturing is accomplished entirely on these shores. I’m particularly taken by its Gitman Vintage division, which combs the company’s archives to resurrect fabrics and designs from its past.
I recently purchased a button down from the Gitman Vintage collection–from Charleston, S.C. retailer Indigo & Cotton, an enterprise that traffics largely in American made goods.
My shirt–a real gem–is fashioned from a lightweight royal blue and pink madras plaid. It has the crispness associated with a lightweight linen, without linen’s proclivity to excessive wrinkling. And while the collar is just a touch shorter than I’d prefer, it’s still longer and more classically shaped than most of the American made button downs out there.
Of note: If you’re considering purchasing one of these shirts from Indigo & Cotton, I recommend that you consult the size chart on the Gitman Vintage website. It’s more accurate than the chart on the Indigo & Cotton site.