SI talked to Bob Andrews, Creative Director, Gant, Stockholm/Sweden, about synergies regarding the design, and the differences between Gant and Ralph Lauren.

You are on board with Gant since April of this year – do you still remember the first thing you did?
The first thing I noticed was the fact that the design teams did not collaborate. That means the menswear designers did not know what the womenswear designers were doing, and vice versa. This was also showing in the collections. I changed that in order to create new synergies. Now, there’s an active exchange between the teams and this fact becomes clearly visible in the new collection for pre-fall 2011. There’s a central theme in both lines; consisting themes and motives that pop up both in the menswear and womenswear range.

And regarding the looks – what can we expect from Gant’s new collections?
Well, Gant’s overall theme is still classic American sportswear, but it’s interpreted in a new way. Thus, in the Gant pre-fall 2011 collection which will be delivered in May/June, we have used a lot of black – this you wouldn’t have expected earlier with Gant. Color themes, pattern and details like badges, buttons especially designed for Gant, and washes combine the menswear and womenswear. That way, each individual piece of apparel is to stand for itself. In the past, Gant was pretty much about entire looks which were shaped by layering – a longsleeve, a T-shirt to cover it, worn with a blazer or a hoody. We have left that behind us. Now, the separate piece plays a much more important role; each piece stands for itself but still can be combined with every other piece in the collection.

You worked at Polo Ralph Lauren for 17 years. Can you name some significant differences between Gant and Ralph Lauren?
The difference between Ralph Lauren and Gant is the different dna of both companies.  You also have to consider that Ralph Lauren is a company that generates a turnover of about 5 billion Euros. For Gant, it is 1 billion. This difference in size already matters a lot. Ralph Lauren has a huge team, and New York as their headquarters is simply a very busy city, that’s why the overall business pace is a lot tougher there. Considerably less people work for Gant – and the headquarters is in Stockholm – it is just very refreshing and cordial here. I think I can say that of all the companies I worked for so far, I like Gant the best.