PARIS — Gant is out to establish itself as the global online destination for its hero product, the shirt, with the launch today of a comprehensive shirt guide on the brand’s 15 e-commerce sites globally.
“As the original shirtmakers since 1949, we know a few things about shirts. We wanted to share this knowledge and passion with our consumers and invite them to explore it for themselves online. This is just as much a brand experience as it is product information,” said Brian Grevy, Gant’s chief marketing officer.
The guide’s sections include a size and fit guide, care tips and folding guidelines. “Gant Shirtmaking 101” presents the creative folks behind the brand’s shirts while a section dubbed “The Anatomy of the Gant Shirt” details the shirt’s components, from the collar to the placket. Visitors can also read up on fabrications and Gant innovations, like the locker loop and the box pleat. An interactive timeline traces the evolution of the shirt across the company’s history, while the section “How to Style Your Shirt” covers the art of rolling up sleeves and tucking shirttails.
Now based in Stockholm, the brand has a lot to draw on with a unique archive of Gant shirts stretching back to its founding in New Haven, Conn., in 1949. In the brand’s heyday, Gant founder Bernard Gantmacher and his sons, Elliot and Marty Gant, were credited with revolutionizing the global men’s wear market with their expertise in shirtmaking, innovation and sense of style, establishing the East Coast look that spread around the world in the Fifties and Sixties.
There has since been a disconnect. The heritage brand, which was eventually sold to Sara Lee, went through several ownership changes — including Phillips-Van Heusen and a stint on the Stockholm Stock Exchange — before being acquired by Maus Fréres, Switzerland’s largest retail group, in 2008. Consequently, over the past decade or so, it has become more popular overseas than it has been in the U.S.
But Gant president and chief executive officer Patrik Nilsson is out to win back the American market. The firm in 2015 opened U.S. headquarters at 100 Wall Street. “We say that Gant was born in the U.S. and raised in Europe. It’s American sportswear but with European sophistication,” Nilsson said in a recent interview with WWD. The initial push, he added, will be on the brand’s signature shirts.
Gant in 2015 posted net sales of 9 billion Swedish krona, or $960 million at average exchange rates. The brand has a presence in 70 countries with 700 stores and 3,000 points of sales.