Bob Kidder believes in American manufacturing. So much so that when it came time to put his money where his mouth is, he actually bought a shirt factory—the famed former Alden Street Shelburne Shirt factory to be exact. Although the 200 year-old mill has been caught in the crossfire of multiple custody battles, it has remained in continuous operation for the last 75 years. Kidder, no stranger to menswear with stints at high-end brands like Hart Schaffner Marx, bought it in 2009 when its future was anything but certain. Now he, along with a group of skilled, dedicated craftspeople using vintage sewing machines, nurture a healthy private label business under the appellation New England Shirt Company. “It’s all single needle shirting,” says Kidder. “A slightly modern version of classic American style—it’s not fussy.”
In addition to their own label, Kidder and company manufacture for upwards of 150 men’s labels and click n’ mortar shops in the U.S., Jack Robie being one of them. I had the pleasure of designing two popovers for Jack Robie this summer—a blue oxford cloth and red bengal stripe poplin. I trekked up to Fall River, Massachusetts last spring to put the final brushstrokes on them. Both turned out beautifully and can be had at the One Orange pop-up shop on Nantucket as well as at JackRobie.com.