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Meet the Makers

GANT has been an innovative force within preppy American Sportswear for decades. From the early days of the back-collar button, locker loop and box pleat to our more recent sustainability initiatives and use of upcycled ocean plastic in Ocean Prep products, we live by our credo: Never Stop Learning.

Wajahat Hussain, Strategic Material Developer: 

What does Never Stop Learning mean to you?

Fashion enables people to make a personal statement. On one hand, the advent of global sourcing decades ago enabled the industry to scale up, fueled economic growth and led to employment all over the globe.

On the other hand, the uncontrolled growth in population, production and consumption has led the industry to face a wide set of sustainability challenges. 

In a nutshell, the planet’s resources are finite and we are using more than it can produce. Nature has a closed loop production system whereas man-made production systems do not.

Therefore, in an effort to be more sustainable, we at GANT are trying to look into different aspects of material production, application and usage from a building block perspective.

The aim is to bring both incremental and radical change wherever possible. As a part of that effort, we have begun creating concept and material guides that we refer to as Material Toolboxes. These are then used by product creation teams to do a more conscious selection of materials.

Annie Wrang, Product Developer for Shirts: 

How do you approach sustainability?

When I started at GANT, almost four years ago, as a multi-product Product Developer for GANT’s sub-brand GANT Rugger, we worked with sustainability in terms of choosing organic cotton in all our jersey qualities and reducing water usage when it comes to garment washing. Much has changed within GANT since then. 

I joined the shirts department and became Product Developer for men’s shirts. The shirts team is a key product category for GANT which makes it even more important to work with a conscious focus on sustainability.

Since shirts are always a priority for GANT, I work together with the Strategic Development Team on a daily basis and use our internal toolboxes for guidance in terms of how we work with the Better Cotton Initiative and our concept innovation fabrics like Ocean Prep.

For me, when it comes to developing shirts, there is much more you can do with regards to sustainability than just the fabric. The most common view of a GANT shirt is the classic button-down shirt in a high-quality fabric.

However, there are also the trims, buttons, inside woven labels, paper packaging, the bag protecting the shirt when being shipped… The list can go on!

Today, a lot of our trims and packaging are made of natural or recycled materials which is something I am proud about. As a Product Developer I can truly impact how GANT can contribute to a more sustainable business.

Richard Toon, Design Lead for License and Special Projects: 

What is your role in driving innovation at GANT?

Back in 2016, the Creative Director and I were given the challenge of putting performance tech into our products, specifically the shirts. At the time we were given a handful of plastic-feeling products that claimed to offer sportswear performance.

We were somewhat disappointed by the claims, as well as the look and feel of these products. So we challenged ourselves to think big and set our sights on enhanced performance that reflected our American Sportswear heritage of effortless, high-quality preppy oxford shirting. It wasn’t easy, to say the least, in a limited and conservative market of available yarns.

After endless searching, phone calls, development, and tweaking we hit gold with a yarn combination that offered the great look and hand-feel we are known for, along with cooling properties. The result was a rack of eight different oxford button-down shirts in different colours patterns that we quickly and instinctively called Tech Prep.

It was a smash hit and went on to form a significant part of our business, both now and in the future, as GANT becomes increasingly developmental of its raw materials and styles.

Whilst developing Tech Prep, we looked through our archive and were made aware of the innovative history behind GANT products and thinking through the years.

This led to a continuous hunger to push the icons of American Sportswear through innovation and sustainability of materials, trims, finishes, and product which has developed and carried over into my role as External License & Projects Design Lead.

For example, we have launched an innovative wet weather rain boot, Stormhaven, which is perfect for the city or the country, and Ocean Prep footwear and eyewear containing upcycled ocean plastics in a partnership with Seaqual.

We are constantly challenging ourselves, our co-workers, our suppliers and our consumers with new innovative and sustainable products.

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