As one of the global leaders in smart casual wear for men, Gant is steeped in history since its founding in 1949. Read on for the complete history of Gant.
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Credited as the brand that brought button-down shirts to the mass-market, Gant is an American powerhouse that has its roots set firmly in the smart casual menswear market. Having formed well over 50 years ago, its contemporary appeal still maintains its allure to this date.
Read on for the complete history of Gant.
The History of Gant
1914 - 1960
Having arrived in New York City in 1914, Ukrainian Bernard Gantmacher started out in a garment factory sewing shirt collars while simultaneously studying to be a pharmacist. At the same time, he met his future wife, Rebecca Rose, who was also working for the same factory as a button specialist. On returning from military service, they married and founded the Par-Ex shirt company along with Morris Shapiro.
While they initially started out making shirts for other brands including Brooks Brothers and J.Press, when their two children returned from University they convinced Gantmacher to begin making shirts under his own brand. In 1945, the Gant company was founded and following the death of their father, in 1955 - the brothers took control of the company.
1960 - 2000
Due to its popularity among male university students in early and mid 60s, Gant clothing designed the 'Yale co-op' shirt to be sold exclusively on campus. In 1968, Gant was sold to Consolidated Foods with both brothers still remaining on. With the resources that came with Consolidated Foods, the 70s saw massive growth for Gant, launching both a sportswear line in 1971 and it's 'Rugger' brand in 1974.
In the early 80s Pyramid Sportswear of Sweden was permitted to design and market Gant clothes outside the U.S. due to popularity, this expanded to a European hub for the brand in a matter of years. Phillips-Van Heusen acquired Gant in 1995 due to financial troubles with its previous owner, a couple of years later - In 1997 - Gant opened its first standalone store in the US. Two years after this, in 1999, Gant was sold to Pyramid Sportswear of Sweden for $71 million.
2000 - Present
Following the purchase by Pyramid Sportswear, the company changed its name to Gant Pyramid Aktiebolag and, as such, Gant became a global brand. By 2006, Gant became a public company on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, this was short lived however as it was acquired by Swiss retail group Maus Frères in 2008.
Since then, Gant has held its popularity among ivy league college students and businessmen alike, stepping into the 21st century with classic yet contemporary designs for the modern man.
Complimenting the traditional Gant aesthetic, Gant Rugger is a contemporary, preppy twist on the label's classic stylings. Easily taking the place of the iconic brand's younger, cooler brother; Gant Rugger harnesses the strengths of the fifty-year-old brand and pulls them into the 21st century with fresh prints and a premium, vintage feel.
Taking a look at some examples below, the modern, luxury designs of Gant Rugger are obvious in the unique, design led prints and silhouettes. Lending themselves to both conventional designs and more trend-worthy pieces, the diversity of the collection with both romantic and utilitarian vibes running throughout.
Your Quick Guide to The History of Gant
- On returning from military service, Gant married his wife and founded the Par-Ex shirt company - what would go on to become Gant.
- In 1945, the Gant company was officially founded.
- In 1968, Gant was sold to Consolidated Foods with both brothers still remaining on.
- the 70s saw massive growth for Gant, launching both a sportswear line in 1971 and it's 'Rugger' brand in 1974.
- In 1997 - Gant opened its first standalone store in the US.
- By 2006, Gant became a public company on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
And there we have it! One of the few US heritage brands that didn't make its start in a military setting - well, unless you consider Bernard's service during the first world war. Starting as a shirt brand, the label has gone on to produce everything from outerwear to underwear to Gant shoes and now holds a large portion in its respective market.
Whether it's a classic piece or something a little more trendy from the AW16' collection - check out the latest from Gant by visiting the brand page below.