PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Jill McGowan has built a national reputation as a designer. From her Portland offices, she designs and manufactures women's shirts. She is most famous for what her company calls "The Great White Shirt."

McGowan is a native of Pittsfield who has earned college degrees in international affairs and business. Her education qualifies her perfectly to sell her products in many countries and almost every state.

She employs 10 to 20 employees, depending on the time of year.

McGowan started as a designer at F. W. Hathaway in Waterville. After discussions to see if that company would bring back a line of women's shirts, she decided to try it on her own.

There have been difficult times in the highly competitive fashion industry, but McGowan has persevered. Her upscale fashions are available at her store on Main Street in Freeport.