How did you get into an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career such as design; specifically, shirtmaking?
To be honest, I was quite late getting into fashion. Growing up in the 1990s in a rough suburb of Stockholm, art and cultural studies were not exactly natural career choices for me. It wasn’t until high school that I began to really understand my interest in clothing and that some people (although far from my world) actually did this for a living. Don’t ask me how this happened but the thought of turning this newfound interest into a full time venture went fast. It was almost like I had the initial thought and I just couldn’t shake it. Before completing my BFA at Beckmans College of Design here in Stockholm, I studied drawing, tailoring and pattern making. Since then my world has revolved around fashion in an almost, well, obsessive way.
What is something that people might not know about shirtmaking?
I’m not sure if people are aware of the amount of work that goes into every single GANT shirt. Not only do we design the fit itself but we also develop the base cloth. In other words, this refers to what type of yarns we want to use and how we source our fabrics. When we decide on the yarns, we go on to create a technical drawing of the actual design pattern through CAD (computer-aided drafting), where the textures and different colors are visualized. With precise instructions from us, the mills we work with go on to create that particular fabric.
What inspires you as a designer?
To me, inspiration is like a very shy friend that you invite over for dinner; she is not likely to come. So you go to art school to learn how to set the table and dim the lights. You learn what music she likes playing in the background, what dish to cook for her and what time she prefers eating. You learn to, quite literally, set the stage for inspiration and for me this means being very organized with my routine. With that nailed down, things are set for finding inspiration anywhere. Working as a designer for GANT you luckily don’t have to look very far; our long history is made up of a massive archive of design treasures that are just waiting to be re-interpreted and brought back to life.
What does a GANT shirt, with all its heritage, represent to you today?
Well, it’s a true star isn’t it? Although the GANT shirt been around since 1949, it hasn’t aged a day! It’s an icon that’s timeless with its elegance, authentic with its signature details and powerful with its integrity. At the same time it also represents a blank canvas – you can literally wear it with anything. At GANT we’ve been designing shirts for years but we never grow tired of it. There’s always something left to learn.
What is the best part of your job as a shirt designer?
That’s easy! When we get to unpack the finished samples that have just arrived. There’s something so satisfying about finally being able to see the physical results of your original idea and the hard work that went into creating it. It feels like Christmas!
What is your favourite way to style a shirt?
I like my shirts big and airy, so for my everyday uniform I usually wear a shirt two or three sizes larger than what I actually need; then I roll up the sleeves, pair the shirt with my favorite GANT Rugger jeans (worn-in, stonewashed and with a straight leg) and soft ballerina pumps. The exaggerated silhouette makes for a classic look that I find both modern and interesting; and it also doesn’t hurt that I’m ready for anything the day may throw at me!
How does it feel when you see someone wearing your design?
When I see someone wearing my designs, it’s a very humbling experience. To me, this means that a specific person found my design in the store (or online) and loved it to the point where they decided to make it a part of their appearance – and therefore a part of themselves. I see fashion as our second skin, so when people choose GANT as their second skin, I find that very powerful.
What details make for a great shirt?
If I had to choose, I would say the box pleat at the back of the shirt to give the wearer a bit more room to move about. Almost every GANT shirt features this detail, together with the yoke and the hanging locker loop. But to become a truly great shirt, it needs to be made from a fantastic fabric. This is where my personal taste always leads me back to the super-soft hand feel of GANT Rugger shirts. They’re as soft as cashmere so it almost feels like I’m wearing air. I think you could say that I’m definitely addicted to them.