Even though we catch our reflection out of the corner of our eye, we're almost mistaken for what decade it is. The Seth Thomas clock isn’t much help. Newspaper articles and photographs from Gant's manufacturing facilities in New Haven from the 1950s—1970s plaster the walls. We're in the dressing room, modeled after the foreman’s office of Bernard Gant, of the new Gant Rugger shop on Bleecker St. A navy/red striped polo, madras sport shirt and heritage-rich blue oxford pullover haphazardly drape over the office chair. Gary’s silhouette knocks on the door to see how we're doing. He's astute yet nonchalant. He runs off to grab a different size for us.
The 700 square foot store in New York’s West Village showcases a more industrial factory look, partly inspired by the company’s New Haven, CT manufacturing heritage. The narrow space reveals exposed brick, open ceilings, vintage furniture and factory-floor fixtures. A custom adjustable wood shelving system is reminiscent of an earlier time. Fabric rolls, a mid-century sewing machine and archival shirt-making patterns dot the quirky factory blueprint. It’s the kind of space you, as a guy, walk in and wish was your closet—you want the entire collection. We walk out with the oxford pullover to start.
“Gant was a small family business in the beginning and they poured their heart and soul into it. So we tried to create a space that inspires a mix of creativity and functional design, with a nod to the passion that went into our grass-roots shirtmaking origins from all those years ago. It’s a very personal space.”
Christopher Bastin, head designer of Gant Rugger