While we were meeting Bob Andrews, GANT's new Creative Director - Click here - we thought we'd popped over to the design studio next door and have a chat with Christopher Bastin of GANT's younger label GANT Rugger. Inspired by GANT's history and vintage pieces, GANT Rugger is fast becoming the place to get colourful and cute preppy pieces.
Born in 1973 in Stockholm, Sweden, Christopher started his career in the fashion industry in 1992 at the Swedish denim hotspot Solo. He held various positions at H&M, Whyred and Acne as product manager and buyer, before joining GANT in 2005 where he began his design career in earnest. His first mission was to design a men's shirt range. Christopher's first full collection for GANT Rugger was Spring 2010.
CG - Christopher, what's the difference between GANT mainline and GANT Rugger?
CB - Primarily Rugger is a vehicle for the US market. Instead of American with European touch which is the thought behind GANT mainline, this is 99% based on vintage especially pieces from our archive we've been building up.
CG - We hear you've been finding old GANT pieces on eBay, what's been your best find?
CB - I have been looking on eBay but my wife will divorce me if I spend anymore time on there so I have help from people in New York who basically nail down things for me. We found a shirt saying Gant of New Haven which was our first label from around 1950-52.
CG - The Rugger label looks very vintage, is it a copy of an original label?
CB - No it's just something we made up. For Fall 2011 we're going to change back to a more original GANT Shirtmaker label. Originally GANT were shirtmakers for the likes of J Press and Brooks Brothers. They did a special collection for Paul Stuart in New York and they always put our G logo somewhere on it. People started to look for the G and that's how the business started.
CG - What's the future for Rugger, we know you've opened a Rugger store in New York?
CB - We opened the new store in April which we really wanted to push. The design is based on the old GANT factory with sewing machines everywhere. We're opening in Denmark for Spring 2011.
CG - Who is the Rugger guy?
CB - The Rugger guy doesn't like trends, he's into what I would call 'Slow fashion'. The Rugger guy is pretty secure in his style. He's prone to mix ing, high to low. He's laid back and interested in the subtle details.
CG - What's your favourite piece from the new Pre-Fall 2011 collection which you are previewing here and is going into stores in May or June 2011?
CB - The outfit I like is this one (pictured). I like dapper, the young professor look.
CG- What's the theme or idea behind this collection?
CB - It's based on the New Haven maths club. New Haven is quite a run down town and then you have this shining beacon like Yale.
CG - Where is it made?
CB - The blazers are made in Porturgal, all unconstructured, interlining, there is no glue or fusing. The shirts are made in India.
CG - What was it like coming from Acne to Gant?
CB - It was a fantastic school, but GANT is the first company where I am 100% focussed on the creative side.
CG - What do think Swedes bring to fashion?
CB - I think it's silhouette. Mixing silhouette, so volume on top, narrow on bottom or vice versa, without going overboard. People are much more flamboyant or logoed in southern Europe.
CG - What do you think about British fashion?
CB - What is so cool about British fashion is their take on American sportswear. I like labels like Albam, I was in the back of their shop when they first started looking at all their great stuff.
CG - What can you tell us about Fall 2011?
CB - Colours are muted. It's based on an art school. So from maths to art. I've been looking at old year books from the Rhode Island School of Design.