Gant, an American lifestyle brand, said today that it entered a partnership with nonprofit organization Waterkeeper Alliance to commence on a set of initiatives that will patrol and protect rivers, streams and coastlines across six continents. Gant offers premium clothing, accessories and home furnishings across men’s, women’s and children’s wear and reaches more than 70 markets internationally, with 750 stores and 4,000 selected retailers.

Described as a long-term global partnership, Gant will support the organization through an annual charity contribution, as well as collaborate with Waterkeeper Alliance via its CRM program, global donations, and staff engagement and support, according to the firm. The company said the partnership is the “next step” in its efforts to “make the world a better and more beautiful place.” Its first mission is to assist with Waterkeeper’s Alliance’s Ocean Plastic Recovery Initiative in the expansion of its recovery facility in Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; the company will announce more of its collaborative efforts in the spring, according to Gant.

Brian Grevy, chief marketing officer at Gant, said he wished to explore partnership opportunities that would elevate Gant’s commitment to sustainability. Established in New Haven, Conn., in 1949 as an East Coast “Ivy League” lifestyle brand, Grevy said it felt natural for Gant to partner with a coastal, water-based initiative. “Water is absolutely fundamental for us and for our business,” Grevy said. “‘Never stop learning’ is the philosophy that moves Gant forward. We focus on being better, learning more, and looking beyond ourselves and our products. With fashion production contributing to the pollution of our waterways, we need to be more conscious about efficiently using valuable resources. As a global brand, we feel that it’s important for Gant to take responsibility and encourage the industry to do better, which is why we’re looking into sustainable ways to use ocean plastic for our upcoming collections.”

Gant's Tech Prep shirt range

Gant’s Tech Prep shirt range.  Courtesy Photo

Grevy added that “It’s just been part of our DNA to actually create products based on natural fibers, which is [integrated] into the majority of our collections today.” Grevy continued, “We’re a company that never stops learning and [innovating], and sustainability has to be at the heart of what we do and how we do it.” In 2017, Gant introduced its sustainable product “Tech Prep,” a proprietary “specially constructed” star-shaped blend of a performance yarn and cotton, creating a lightweight, breathable and quick dry fabric. The material is described as “preppy,” staying true to its roots, and a “business expression of activewear.” The brand first began developing performance yarns in the Sixties.

Gant asserts that sustainability is also about making sustainable choices. “It’s all about ‘How do you modernize your heritage?'” Grevy said. “We are not a fashion company, we are a lifestyle company. The products we [create] are timeless, they have high quality. And what we mean by ‘high quality’ [is that] we want those products to either be carried through generations, or you have them for many, many years. That in itself is sustainable, because it’s not about the buy [and] throw out mentality.”

And Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance, said, “The Waterkeeper movement protects more than 2.5 million square miles of waterways around the world. In 2017, we launched [our] innovative project to help reduce plastic pollution in our oceans. Thanks to our partnership with Gant, we will take our work defending marine environments from plastic to the next level.”