Gant relaunches in the US after major brand refresh, plans pop-up store and showroom in NYC

Gant returns home – to America.

The brand, which has undergone a major rejuvenation, was born in New Haven Connecticut in 1949, but lost its way in the United States despite being headquartered in Europe. Gant had a low-key launch last month in that country, and next year will open a pop-up boutique-showroom on SoHo’s Mulberry Street. The brand, which hadn’t been sold in the United States for two and a half years, is bringing its new, slightly retro look to Manhattan and beyond.

A multifunctional space in SoHo will serve as the face of the brand in the United States. Gant could use the space for a showroom and pop-up store. The business has a lease on the space for the next few years, but could outgrow the small store by then.

The relaunch in the US last month was a symbolic homecoming and marks an important strategic moment in the rejuvenation of the brand. “It’s very difficult for us to talk about ourselves as a physical activewear brand without having a physical presence in New York and other cities,” said Creative Director Christopher Bastin.

“For us, the boutique becomes a little brand universe, where we can show the collections to people, have a showroom, sit down and work and design collections,” he added. “This won’t be your average pop-up story. We’ll be more of a brand space at first, and then figure out what to do with it.”

“We had too many stores and a huge office with a lot of people involved in the US,” said Eleonore Säll, executive vice president of global branding. “When the pandemic arrived, it was a good time for us to step back and take a break and see how we approach the United States in a logical way, both from a business perspective and from a business perspective. a brand perspective.

“A lot of consumers felt that this brand wasn’t for them, or maybe it was my dad’s brand,” Säll said. “It was very vague and the market here is a very dangerous place if you don’t have the personality of the brand or lose its core.

The collection looks like a cross between traditional preppy styling and “The Royal Tenenbaums,” a 2001 Wes Anderson film about an eccentric family.

“We had to change it now,” Bastin said. “We had to rediscover our personality, go back to our roots, and be much more Gant, while being very contemporary. It turns out that we were right about the position we chose for the brand. The product is so beautiful and really up to date now. Starting next year, we will be able to tick almost all the boxes. In the meantime, we have a banner year for Gant in terms of numbers.

Gant CEO Patrik Soderström said the brand will achieve sales of $1.3 billion this year. “We’re aiming better this year with a 24% to 25% increase from 2021 and obviously 2020. We were up 26% in 2021 from 2020,” he said. “Obviously we’re on a long journey, but looking at the numbers, we’re doing pretty well right now in terms of rebranding and brand direction. Europe is our core business right now.

“We operate China, India and Australia,” Soderström said. “We are coming back with our e-commerce site in the United States. At this time, we are looking for potential partners in the United States. We will target wholesale customers in the future.”

Gant does not rush into anything. “We want to make sure we’re taking the right positions and the right partners and the right wholesale customers, so we’re taking it step by step to make sure we’re not going too fast,” Soderström said.

“Gant’s return to the United States is not only a key milestone, but also a symbol of what the brand stands for: celebrating its roots while renewing itself and expanding into new territories, always in a meaningful way. and authentic,” said Thierry Guibert. , CEO of MF Brands Group, the parent company of Gant, which also owns Aigle, Lacoste, The Kooples and Techfibre.

The United States could eventually become Gant’s biggest market, but it won’t happen overnight. “Because the brand was born in the United States, the country has huge potential,” Soderström said. “But it’s also the fact that the United States affects the rest of the world when it comes to lifestyle. It’s important to us as a brand. If all goes as planned, we expect the United States to be one of the biggest markets over the next three to five years.

Gant has found a sweet spot in American sportswear that he wants to exploit. “We found that we could change our views and our content on social media and the way we present ourselves to the consumer quite quickly,” Bastin said. “We are now present in over 80 countries and we have a very loyal fan base. What we’ve realized is that we really need to start filling up with new consumers.

“We were looking at what the competition was doing, we were looking back and not trying to change Gant, but rather be more Gant,” Bastin said. “We found that sweet spot where we could be a little bolder and more forward-thinking while still meeting the needs of consumers who already love the brand.”

Bastin looks back on Gant’s history and heritage for inspiration as he reflects on the direction fashion is taking and the direction sportswear in general is taking. “Being rooted in our history is something that becomes very important, so whatever we do is kind of tied into the DNA of the brand.”

The new Gant definitely appeals to a slightly younger consumer, Bastin said. “It’s not that style is necessarily related to age, but we can see that we’re getting more traction with younger consumers than before,” he said. “We are also attracting attention with more fashion-forward consumers than before.

“If we look at where we were maybe three or four years ago, Gant was a safer brand,” Bastin added. “Maybe we haven’t embraced our heritage the way we are now. What we can see is that most consumers approve of what we do. Good to have confirmation of what you are doing with this big change.

Globally, Gant’s business is split 70% men and 30% women. The company has offered a full women’s collection since 2004. Every Gant product has been impacted by the rebrand, including footwear, eyewear and home collections. “If you omit a part, it’s a bit difficult to get it all online,” Bastin said. “The changes have really been implemented at all levels.”

Gant is about to open a new flagship in Spain, the first new flagship to open in a while. There will be more flagships, Soderström said. The company is looking to open stores around the world on an intentional, step-by-step basis, and may do so in the United States, but hasn’t decided when.

Worldwide, there are approximately 850 Gant outlets, including company-owned stores and those opened through subsidiaries and in conjunction with distributors. This includes department store corners. “Sweden is the biggest market,” Soderström said. “Apart from Sweden, we have great potential, wherever we are in the world.

“We believe what we bring to the table is our legacy,” Bastin said. “We are one of the few American sportswear brands to have been around since the birth of American sportswear. It’s going to be a baptism of fire for sure, but we’re super excited to pursue these guys and gals hanging around the streets because they’re basically the people we’re looking for. It’s gonna be fun.”