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Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

Made Locally, Sold Globally: Gitman Bros. Shirts

Written by Joe Ulrich, Arts & Culture Desk and WITF Host | Jun 29, 2015 11:02 AM
Gitman Factory Floor

Photo by Joe Ulrich

The factory floor at Gitman Bros. in Ashland, PA

Around 2008, a number of clothing manufacturers popped up brandishing "made in America" as one of their big selling points. It was partly a reaction to fast-fashion: clothing that was cheaply made and meant to be thrown out after a year or so, and partly a response to jobs being shipped overseas. But heritage and domestic production aren't new ideas, especially not to a clothing company located in Pennsylvania's coal region whose products appear in world-class stores and are worn by celebrities.

In 1932, Max Gitman started the Ashland Shirt and Pajama Company in Ashland, Schuylkill County. In 1978, a group of men approached the two Gitman brothers, Alfred and Sheldon, who were running the factory at the time and asked if they would help start a new shirt company. That was the beginning of what's now known as Gitman Bros.

Gitman Bros Logo

While many American manufacturers have shipped their production overseas, Gitman has bucked that trend and in fact sees their factory in Ashland and the sewers who work there as vital to their shirts. 

Now, Gitman Brothers shirts and its newer line called Gitman Vintage are found in some of the most elite fashion stores around the world and have been worn by celebrities including Gwen Stefani, Drake, Pharrell and others.

Gitman Celebrities

Photo by,,

Pharrell Williams (Left), Gwen Stefani (Center) and Drake (Right) wearing Gitman Vintage shirts.

"Had we gone off shore or something, none of that would have ever happened," says Chris Olberding, Gitman's Creative Director, "Because the shirt would be totally different because of those people downstairs, the sewers downstairs making it."

"They are artisans in that factory in Ashland," says Mickey Phillips, Southeast Sales Manager for Gitman. "They take pride in what they do and we take pride in the fact that the product is still made in America."

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