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1907-1927

The Start Of A Long Journey

The story of GANT begins with a Ukrainian boy in search of a better life who sailed to America, fell in love, found success and forever changed American style.

The story of GANT begins with a Ukrainian boy in search of a better life who sailed to America, fell in love, found success and forever changed American style. Berl Gantmacher was a miller’s son from Miropol in Ukraine who, by the time he was a teenager, had already made his way from the Russian Empire to Rotterdam. From there he continued west, embarking on the S.S. Potsdam, a Holland America Line steamship, and sailing to New York City. Archives at Ellis Island record him arriving on November 12, 1907.

He was 17 years old.

Like so many immigrants before him, he Americanized his name, changing Berl to Bernard. He enrolled in night classes at Columbia University’s College of Pharmacy but during the day he found work in the city’s bustling Garment District. It was hard work – he was as a “closer,” someone who assembles garments – but it developed his entrepreneurial zeal and taught him tailoring. It also introduced him to Rebecca Rose, a woman with a job sewing buttonholes and buttons. She would later become his wife.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Bernard joined the US Army and went to fight in France. Upon completing his military service he returned to New York with a renewed desire to succeed. He graduated from college, married Rebecca, and decided the time was right to go into business for himself. With his partner Morris Shapiro he founded the Par-Ex Shirt Company based in Brooklyn.

Par-Ex made shirts par excellence for other brands, including Brooks Brothers. The new company was a success, and in 1927 the Par-Ex Shirt Company relocated to upscale New Haven, Connecticut.


Contents of this issue
The GANT credo

Heritage


GANT is a company driven by a simple idea: Never Stop Learning. It’s a belief that has guided us since 1949 when Bernard Gantmacher founded a shirtmaking company in the college town of New Haven, Connecticut.

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Original Shirtmakers

BORN IN 1949


For GANT, it all began with shirts and we’ve never stopped reinventing them. Born in 1949, it’s a shirt that is rich in legacy and history.

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Original Shirtmakers

AN AMERICAN DREAM


Get a glimpse at GANT’s early, eventful years from 1907-1968.

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1927-1949

THE GANT BRAND IS BORN


Encouraged by his sons, Bernard Gantmacher establishes GANT Inc. and starts to make shirts under the company’s own label.

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1950s

THE COLOUR EXPLOSION


In the 1950s the prevailing colour for a man’s shirt is white – until GANT invents a daring new look, sparking the Oxford Colour Explosion.

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Mid-1950s

THE MARK OF QUALITY


How a discreet G, stamped on the tail of the shirt, becomes part of the American menswear history.

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1949-1959

REACHING THE RIGHT CROWD


Marty and Elliot insist that when it comes to GANT products, only the best is acceptable.

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1954-1959

NEW HAVEN & THE IVY LEAGUE LOOK


Influenced by the city of New Haven, Connecticut, and the nearby Yale University, GANT plays a major role in shaping the Ivy League Look.

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1949-1960

GANT SIGNATURES


The perfect roll, the locker loop, the box pleat, the back collar button and the button tab. Innovation is key for a company that is ahead of its competition.

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1960s

YALE CO-OP STORE


The GANT shirt becomes an immediate sensation at the Yale Co-op campus store.

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1949 and onward

ENTERING AMERICAN SPORTSWEAR


From Ivy League to American Sportswear, GANT helps define the casual-yet-smart look.

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