GANT, which has its brand roots embedded in all things preppy, has taken their heritage DNA one step further with the international launch of its GANT Yale Co-Op Shirt Collection (available here)– a line based upon original designs carried in the Yale University Campus Store during the 1960’s. Bob Andrews, GANT’s Creative Director is responsible for revisiting the classic Oxford Shirts and attire that adorned both the students and faculty at Yale University more than 50 years ago. Here, we caught up with Mr. Andrews and inquired about his reason for digging into the GANT archives and reinventing their signature staples.
Life+Times: How did the GANT Yale Co-op shirt collection originate? And why?
Bob Andrews: It’s an important part of our history and we wanted to remind people of our legacy. Our collaboration with Yale is significant because of how authentic it really is. When we returned to New Haven a few years ago with the GANT Campus Store, we were very interested in re-launching some of the Yale Co-op archives we had from the 60’s.
L+T: Out of all the Ivy League schools – what is it about Yale in particular that resonates with the brand?
BA: GANT was born in New Haven CT, and we are closely tied to the city and to the university. It’s where the Ivy League Look originated.
L+T: As the Creative Director of GANT – what exactly does your role entail?
BA: I set the creative direction and tone for the brand in regards to design, marketing, visual merchandising, and retail environment. My focus begins with research, color, styling, and overall mood, and we go from there.
L+T: Launched in the U.S. last spring, the GANT Yale Co-op shirts are re-issues of the archival designs that were sold at the famed Yale bookstore starting in the 1960s and quickly became synonymous with Ivy League style. What are some of the common threads that bridge the GANT Yale Co-op collection? Common themes?
BA: The common thread of the shirt collection is in the details. We’ve recreated our signature locker loop, which is a GANT invention, and other details like the back collar button and box pleat. We’re using our original archival Oxford cloth, and other fabrics like colorful madras. Plus original 1960’s patterns like tattersall, gingham and bold stripes.
L+T: You’ve also embraced the Yale students and faculty – having them star in the collection’s Spring 2012 print and digital campaigns. Why was this aspect important to the brand?
BA: We are a friendly company focused on real people and classic American style. The whole reason that we re-launched the Yale shirt program in the first place was to once again dress the student body. GANT used to feature college students in our past imagery and we wanted to once again embrace that by shooting on campus once again.