Ariel Hsieh

Gant, a high-end couture shop on the corner of Broadway and York Street, on Monday officially opened “The Study” — a second-floor study space not be confused with the hotel of the same name located just around the corner.

Situated just above the store, the air-conditioned lounge area offers students free snacks, a craft room, tables and couches. The space was designed by Cesar Gavaria, the visual merchandising manager for Gant North America.

“The whole idea behind the study area is to give students a different option from the library but to also include them more on our brand and the events we host here,” said Gonzalo Zuniga, keyholder of the Gant store on Broadway.

The history between Gant and Yale dates back to 1949, when founder Bernard Gantmacher brought his shirt company to New Haven. Gant’s button-up shirt — characterized by the locker loop, box pleat and back-collar button — became the unofficial uniform for male students at Yale according to Zuniga. He said Gant shirts were sold at the Yale Co-op and were soon popular among Ivy League students and “the stylish American man.”

Gant has since gone global, with over 500 stores in 70 countries and 4,000 retailers around the world. A Swiss retail company acquired Gant in 2008, so the clothing brand has evolved to have more European influences on classic American sportswear. Still, Gant is committed to expanding its image beyond a high-end clothing retailer.

“To be a leading brand in the future we believe consumers need to understand why your brand exists,” said Gant CEO Patrik Nilsson in a press release on Sept. 20. “Our ‘why’ is Never Stop Learning. It is a promise to improve each day, to listen and learn on our quest to create deep and meaningful connections with our consumers.”

The company also has various community outreach programs. Students have the opportunity to become Gant College Brand Ambassadors, in which they receive a collection of shirting to market to their campus, and then they receive a 15 percent commission on sales. In addition, Gant has previously offered GQ-style mock interviews for students.

Gant has been made fun of in the Yale community for its high prices. According to Zuniga, the brand is tailored to young professionals, not necessarily undergraduate students. Still, Gant is making efforts to appeal to students by increasing its student discount from 20 to 30 percent.

Jacob McNeill ’21 said he recently visited Gant but did not purchase any clothing. Instead, he opted for a historical book about the Ivy League. Given the student discount, he said, he would consider purchasing formal wear at the store if he needed an outfit for an event.

Megan Gupta ’21, who went to the store with McNeill, said she felt pressure to make a purchase at the store.

“We were the only people there, other than the staff,” she said. “It was very pressured to stay or to look or to buy something. I feel like that’s what happens at a lot of the shops at Yale, is that there’s a pressure when you go in there. I do feel the same kind of pressure [at other stores on Broadway] because they are all elite, upper-class stores that provide very expensive products.”

Gant’s Broadway store opened in 2010.

Ariel Hsieh | ariel.hsieh@yale.edu