The brand’s tie-up with the famed Le Mans 24 hour race has yielded a collection you’re bound to covet.
What led to this partnership and why is it a good fit?
I think we share some basic values. The Le Mans 24 hour race is an incredible venue that pushes the boundaries of what is possible in terms of endurance and performance. It makes engineers and drivers continuously innovate to be the best. GANT approaches design with a similar mindset of ‘Never Stop Learning’. We felt it was a really intriguing partnership. We share a common history in the year 1949; the year the GANT brand was born in New Haven is also the year the race was re-established after the Second World War. Learning about that race inspired us to create the collection. And learning about the modern race and how their industry is in change – the last 5 years have all been won by hybrid cars – has inspired us even further.
Can you share some highlights about the collection?
The posters that Swedish illustrator Jonas Bergstrand made for us are stunning. We have a rich heritage of working with talented artists who, over the years, have created beautiful artworks of and for our products. It was a joy to get that reference into the collection and to use elements of it for badging or in the weaves of the fabrics. The fil-coupé and embroidered preppy ‘Go To Hell’ shirts and polo shirts with racing cars on them are a firm favourite.
How do you plan to expand on the partnership in the next two years?
The team is really excited to take the collection to Le Mans this June. I have no doubt that being trackside over the 24 hours will inspire us even further for the 2018 collection and beyond. On race day, the Le Mans officials will all be wearing exclusively designed uniforms in our preppy Hamptons Blue.
Are the fabrics and /or cuts used in this collection different from what we see in GANT’s key product lines?
We have used our TECH PREP™ ‘presentable performance’ fabric for the shirts and polo shirts. Just over two years ago, we found some of our incredible first generation performance shirts from the 1960s while re-organizing our archive. These excited and inspired us to make a modern equivalent suitable for today’s lifestyle. There are a few performance shirts on the market today, but they all feel really synthetic. We are known for luxurious shirtings with beautiful finishes. Our ambition then was to make the technology invisible – to start with the best quality cotton fibers and invisibly weave in the technology. As I say, we’ve been making shirts since 1949. We are specialists. We know what goes into our shirt, right down to the farm where the cotton grew. The team has stood in fields, labs, mills, factories and wash houses, poking around and asking difficult questions about everything to create these fabrics. That’s where I see our connection back to the engineers and drivers at Le Mans; pushing our boundaries, sharing that ‘Never Stop Learning’ spirit that leads us to continuously challenge ourselves, to re-define, innovate, and then refine what we are doing over and over with great passion and authenticity.