Encouraged by his sons, Bernard Gantmacher establishes GANT Inc – and starts to make shirts under the company’s own label. At the time the town of New Haven was one of America’s capitals of clothing manufacture. One reason for this was that it had a large community of Italian immigrants, many of whom were talented garment workers.
Times were good for the Gantmachers. The business grew – and so did the family. Two of Bernard and Rebecca’s children, Marty and Elliot, would go on to spur GANT to great success. The boys, born in 1921 and 1926, grew up in New Haven and helped at the shirt factory by sweeping floors and fusing collars. They were also aware of what was happening on the campus of nearby Yale University, which would change the course of American fashion.
The outbreak of World War II interrupted their careers and both sons enlisted in the army. Upon returning home in the 1940s they studied at the University of Connecticut. Marty specialized in business administration while Elliot majored in marketing. Then, armed with their new skills, they went back into the family business.
The brothers saw that America was entering a period of rapid and profound change. The war had blown away many old traditions. New kinds of art, music and fashion were spreading across the nation. Marty and Elliot saw an opportunity – and seized it. They convinced their father the time was right to leave Par-Ex and the contracting business behind. Instead of making clothing for other labels, they would sell perfectly tailored shirts under their own label.
In April 1949, GANT Inc. was born.