First of all, what is the button-tab collar on a shirt?
It’s a tab of additional fabric that buttons behind your tie knot. The tab pulls the collar flat to the neck, allowing the tie knot to stand proud.
It’s over 50 years since the introduction of the button-tab collar. Why bring it back now?
There’s a nice piece of history about it. Tab collars were popular after WWI; Britain’s then Prince of Wales and future King Edward VIII, a style icon in his time, wore one on his visit to North America in the winter of 1919. These were semi-soft collars, often detachable and fastened with stud buttons. Elliot Gant himself patented his version – a permanently fixed button on the tab – in 1963. Today GANT is known as a button-down brand but as a dressier alternative, I think it’s a beautiful, stylish collar to bring back.
Has it been updated for today’s fashion?
We’ve kept it very close to its original 1963 form, just adjusting it for our modern fit and construction techniques.
Elliot Gant won an award from Esquire Magazine for his invention. How influential was Esquire back then?
I was invited to Esquire’s offices last year to view their original magazines from the 1960s. They were a real joy to look through. It would have been an incredible time to live in. America was creating the modern world. Men’s magazines were a great source of inspiration and information about the latest trends.
Do you feel a weight of responsibility when you’re dealing with a brand that has such a rich history?
There is a responsibility, yes. The brand has a rich and layered history that we must both refer to and live up to. There is an amazing archive and the ability to re-issue a relevant piece for that “forever now” experience, but what I take with me is the energy and optimism, the entrepreneurial spirit that built the brand. It’s tapping into that sense of innovation, passion and authenticity that will help the team build the next 60-plus years.