Growing up in Raleigh, Judy Hill learned at a young age the vital role of the textile industry to the fabric of North Carolina life.
My dad was an N.C. State professor, says Hill. And I grew up around a lot of the textile professors and was very familiar with textiles in North Carolina.
Watching the industrys decline in this state felt like a personal loss for Hill. So when she and her family began creating bow ties and, more recently, polo shirts for their company, High Cotton ( highcottonties.com), there was no question that their pieces would be made in North Carolina.
We really had an unwavering mission from the start to be a true Southern company and make all of our products in North Carolina, she says. Its a true labor of love for me to bring something back that was really lost, and I think the textile industry is worth fighting for and bringing back.
High Cotton began as a small sewing project in 2009 to create washable bow ties for Hills med student son, Cameron. As the compliments and requests for her designs rolled in from her sons friends and colleagues, a business began to take shape.
Now Hill runs the company with the help of her sons co-founder James serves as vice president of sales, Cameron works on the website, and Patrick, a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, serves as a campus rep. Last fall they added a line of polos to their collection, and on Friday theyll open their first brick-and-mortar store in downtown Raleigh.
Were starting to do clothing, and its definitely a different direction, Hill says. Were looking to be more of a lifestyle brand.
Even as the business grows, the Hills maintain their commitment to supporting the North Carolina textile industry. Their new polo shirts are made of cotton grown in Whitakers, which is then spun into yarn in Thomasville, made into fabric in Lumberton, sewn into shirts in Fairmont and embroidered and packaged in Greensboro. They could probably get the shirts made cheaper elsewhere, but that would mean turning their back on their neighbors something the Hill family refuses to do.
When you look at the cost, the extra expense to do it here is worth it to us, says James Hill. Were staying here in our own backyard and working with farmers in our state. Its just a different way of looking at things, and were so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with so many talented people in our own state.
Spring for some Armani
Representatives from Armani Collezioni will bring the new spring collection to Saks Fifth Avenue in Triangle Town Center for a designer show Friday. To schedule an appointment, call 919-792-9100, ext. 5390.
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