Brand Focus – Gant
One of America’s most famous menswear brands is undoubtedly Gant, named after a Jewish man who arrived in New York city as an immigrant and headed straight into Manhattan to get himself a job as a sewing specialist in a bustling factory. The man who began it all was Bernard Gantmacher and he met his future wife in the factory, going on to have a family in New Haven, Connecticut. From here they began acting as a sub-contractor, supplying shirts for various other companies. The couple’s two sons had successful careers in the navy and air force respectively but they gave it up to pursue their family’s business further and they placed a small “G” on their shirts to remind the consumers who was manufacturing the shirts they were buying. Eventually, people began to search for the small G rather than the brand they were buying from and this paved the way for them to start their own label as we know it today.
By the 1960s Gant’s dress shirts were becoming notorious with students in the US, noted for being worn with an open neck style. They were becoming a notable designer for a number of distinctive traits such as cross-stitched buttons, a loop at the top of the back pleat and a double truck hem. The Gant cut became an identifiable style amongst the youth of America and they earned a great reputation with this age demographic. But because none of the more traditional shirt makers were willing to adopt these new styles it left Gant to exploit the market further.
Gant initially went for a relaxed style and used sportswear materials to create a feel of youth and they began to appear in more and more department stores across the US as they enhanced this reputation further. By the end of the 60s it is said they were the second largest shirt manufacturer in the world, and at this point the family sold the business. Since this time they have exchanged hands on a few occasions, most notably they sold to a Swedish company to expand them internationally and once this began to out perform the US version of the Gant label they acquired that part of the business too. Gant has a mixed international heritage and the majority of its shares are now owned by a Swiss company.
They now operate in over 70 countries and of course, they have progressed from making purely shirts even though it is still regarded their speciality. They are now just as notable for making jeans, wool sweaters, outerwear and polo shirts which all have the same timeless, neutral and understated qualities for which they have always been renowned for.
Since their heritage now includes many different nationalities and cultures we see a unique blend which helps them stand out from rivals. Their philosophy is of being well dressed without being dressed up and they have been described as taking America’s casualness and combining it with European elegance.
Their strategy for selling this brand has always been simple, produce quality and sell to only the most prestigious sources, all the while remaining casual. They no longer have the same All-American tag as the likes of Ralph Lauren do but they have carved their own identity and their unique brand has stood the test of time because they have forever remained relevant in fashion.
No true Gant look can be created without an iconic shirt and they are ideal for suiting up, working, relaxing or going out- you can argue they have the most versatile shirt on the market.
They have a number of seasonal and up-to-date looks in their current collection which can be achieved with the likes of the roll neck knit and the navy mid-length jacket.
For an off duty style the Gant Rugger polo shirts combine perfectly with jeans, a beanie and the casual styled G49 jacket.
Shop for Gant at Mainline Menswear here
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