By Mathias Caspersen
The basic philosophy is unchanged, reaching back to the Ivy League image of the 1960s. But today GANT is an American legend reshaped for a new generation.
GANT was for decades the quintessence of Yale campus life. The story started back in 1927 when immigrant Bernard Gantmacher moved to New Haven, USA, and founded what was to become one of America’s most influential – and copied – brands. And while preppy college attire has seen a revival in recent years, GANT has undergone a quiet revolution to bring the brand into the loop of 21st century fashion.
Today, few would think twice about the little loop that sits just under the back collar of many designer shirts. But the locker loop was invented in the 1960s by GANT to allow Yale college students to hang their freshly ironed shirts in the locker without creasing them. This was just one of many small details that made the brand a favourite at Ivy League universities where the attire was available at co-op college wear stores.
The Yale Co-op shirt is still the focal point of GANT collections. And the aim is still for every piece of GANT clothing to be genuine, simple and easy to wear, a formula that has guided a wide range of timeless collections.
Despite its global success, GANT doesn’t dwell on its past, which is all down to one man, creative director Christopher Bastin.
A walking encyclopaedia of American sportswear, Bastin has left his unique mark on a range of leading global brands, including Acne, Whyred and H&M. The ever-hardworking designer has also given GANT new direction, which is evident in the brand’s recent collections. And even before he was appointed as chief creative director of GANT, he was responsible for the relaunch of GANT Rugger, his greatest achievement.
Where GANT is stylish and steadfast in its timeless ethos, GANT Rugger embraces playfulness and humour. The style is young and debonair. In his own words, Christopher Bastin remodelled the GANT Rugger brand for those who dare go a little further. He draws inspiration widely, from Japanese gardening to his great passion second only to fashion, namely food. The GANT Rugger collections echo the stylish simplicity of the early Yale-days yet feature everything from wardrobe basics to innovative designs.
GANT Rugger, according Bastin, is about standing out from the crowd in a stylish way.
Today, we see the GANT legacy worldwide. While the basic philosophy is unchanged, mirroring that of 1960s Yale, GANT today is less about Ivy League college life and more about everyday wearability. Timeless style and quality make and materials are still what guide the brand, as in the days of Gantmacher.
Christopher Bastin keeps the legacy alive, while updating each and every detail in every seasonal collection. GANT is an American legend reshaped for a new generation.