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The History of GANT: From Shirts to American Sportswear

GANT, the renowned shirt manufacturer, has a fascinating history that dates back to 1949 when it was established. However, the roots of the company go even further back to the early 20th century when Berl Gantmacher, the son of a Ukrainian miller, emigrated to the United States. He Americanized his name to Bernard Gant and, after serving in the US Army during World War I, he decided to enter the garment industry. Bernard founded Par-Ex, a Brooklyn-based shirt company that manufactured high-quality shirts for various brands, including the prestigious Brooks Brothers.

The Gantmacher family experienced significant growth, and Bernard’s sons, Marty and Elliot, played an essential role in the company’s success. Born in the 1920s and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, they grew up helping in the shirt factory and witnessed the emergence of the Ivy League look, a new and relaxed style that would revolutionize American fashion.

When World War II interrupted their careers, both sons were drafted into the army. After the war, they pursued education at the University of Connecticut, with Marty majoring in business administration and Elliot in marketing. Armed with their new skills, they returned to the family business with a vision to transform it. They convinced their father to leave the contract-based business and instead sell perfectly tailored shirts under their own label.

GANT Inc. was officially established in April 1949, with Marty and Elliot embracing their family heritage by changing their name from Gantmacher to Gant. They understood the power of advertising and wanted their products to be associated with the best places. They strategically advertised in The New Yorker, a magazine known for its appeal to metropolitan readers and intellectual elites.

In the early 1950s, GANT witnessed an explosion of color, introducing new shirts in bolder colors and unusual fabrics, such as Madras, bolchestripe, and tartan shirts. The brand’s attention to quality and craftsmanship set them apart, and they developed several signature details in their shirts, including the “perfect roll” collar, the back collar button, and the button strap, all contributing to the Ivy League look.

GANT’s reputation for quality and style grew, and they became synonymous with the button-down shirt, which became an essential part of the Ivy League look. The Yale Co-op, a college campus store in New Haven, played a pivotal role in popularizing GANT shirts among students and beyond. GANT shirts became a symbol of American sportswear, reflecting the relaxed yet smart look that was gaining popularity during that time.

The company’s dedication to quality and attention to detail propelled them forward, and they continued to expand their product range beyond shirts. By the late 1960s, GANT had evolved into a full-fledged American sportswear brand, offering a wide range of clothing suitable for an active and comfortable lifestyle.

Throughout the years, GANT remained committed to excellence, sustainability, and style. Their garments appealed to both men and women, and their reputation for producing high-quality clothing only grew stronger.

In the modern era, GANT continued to thrive as a prominent fashion brand, known for its rich heritage and commitment to timeless style. Their legacy as a shirt manufacturer evolved into a broader line of apparel, catering to a diverse audience while staying true to their roots.

As GANT continues to grow, they stay focused on their core values and maintain a deep appreciation for their history, ensuring that their timeless designs and dedication to quality endure for generations to come.

GANT’s Sustainability Policy: A Commitment to Conscious Fashion

Sustainability is the guiding principle that threads through everything GANT does. As a brand with a rich history dating back to 1949, GANT understands the importance of taking a responsible approach to creating high-quality products that are not only timeless in design but also designed for a longer lifespan. Embracing the values of conscious fashion, GANT is dedicated to making a positive impact on both the environment and the communities it serves.

The 7 Rules: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Wardrobe

As part of their sustainability initiative, GANT introduces the “7 Rules,” a blueprint that encourages a more circular approach to fashion. Aligned with their motto, “Never Stop Learning,” these rules inspire everyone to build a long-lasting relationship with their clothes, promoting responsible consumption and minimizing waste.

1. Repair: Embracing Garment Longevity

Even the highest-quality garments eventually show signs of wear, but GANT believes that a small repair can go a long way in extending a garment’s life. To support their customers, GANT offers the Lifelong Repair service, promising free repairs on GANT jeans. Customers can bring their favorite jeans to the store, and GANT takes care of the rest, helping them maintain the longevity of their cherished denim. However, this program does not apply to GANT outlet stores.

2. Refresh: Caring for Your Clothing

With a little extra care, clothing can age gracefully and endure for longer periods. GANT provides customers with a comprehensive care guide, offering tips and best practices on how to care for their products. Whether it’s drying an Oxford shirt or storing delicate knitwear, GANT’s store staff are always available to share their knowledge on clothing care.

3. Relove: Extending Garment Lifespan

GANT has been creating high-quality classics from durable materials since its early days. As part of their sustainability commitment, GANT invites customers to be agents of change by extending the lifespan of their garments and embracing “pre-loved” clothing. By reusing and recycling clothing, customers can contribute to a more sustainable fashion ecosystem.

4. Remake: Embracing Creative Solutions

As a responsible brand, GANT continuously works to minimize waste and make the most of fabric remnants. Past initiatives have included limited-edition collections featuring unique pieces made from fabric scraps from their design studio and factories. With more exciting initiatives on the horizon, GANT aims to be at the forefront of creative solutions for sustainability.

5. Regive: Providing Access to Clean Water

GANT believes that access to clean water is a basic human right. In partnership with WaterAid, GANT has established the Conserve Every Drop Project. This initiative aims to provide clean water and sanitation facilities to communities in the Bangalore area of India, aligning with their ongoing commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

6. Recycle: A Key to Circular Fashion

Promoting circularity, recycling should be a natural step in the lifecycle of every garment. GANT collaborates with the organization TexAid to promote recycling and circularity. Customers are encouraged to return their discarded GANT items to GANT stores, where the garments can be recycled and given a new life, diverting them from landfills.

7. Rent: Exploring Rental Fashion

As a further step in promoting a recycling philosophy, selected GANT stores now offer a rental service for special occasion clothing and tailored pieces. By encouraging customers to rent clothing for one-time events, GANT not only minimizes consumption but also introduces more people to the world of sustainable fashion.

Strategies and Reports: Transparent and Accountable

GANT remains transparent and accountable for its sustainability efforts, implementing strategies to monitor and measure its progress. The brand regularly publishes reports on its sustainability initiatives, sharing achievements and areas for improvement. By being open about their journey towards a more sustainable future, GANT demonstrates their commitment to conscious fashion.

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