This season, GANT champions creativity and unparalleled artistic freedom by inviting three artists to boldly reinterpret the Varsity Jacket. Dropping in a new capsule collection titled “Blank Canvas,” the limited-edition masterpieces aim to showcase the transformative power of art on the brand’s archetypal garment.
An emblem of American athletic culture, the iconic Varsity Jacket was introduced back in the late 19th century as a way to identify the top performing baseball players. Made from a heavy wool exterior and appliqued lettering, the simple-yet-classic design was later propelled into the fashion scene with heritage brands being the key players in the garment’s shift. GANT continues to push the garment’s legacy with new design adaptations season upon season.
With her album “American Gurl,” Florida-born artist and performer Kilo Kish is all too familiar with the collegiate culture synonymous with the jacket’s history. Using this as a starting point, she begins her design process with days of research which results from her mindset of “always wondering how things have come to be.” From here, Kish assembles references of Americana and Ivy League style to create doodles of stars and lettering in a traditional red tone. By sewing, heat pressing and airbrushing, she brings to life the drawings on patches and trims which she hopes will give the jacket a “personalized feel”.
Similar to Kish, London-based creative Ken Nwadiogbu embarks on the project through the lens of exploring his heritage. Fusing elements from his roots in Nigeria with styles of his newly coined artistic movement “Contemporealism,” he lands on an aesthetic that responds to royalty in Africa – using experimental color theory to actualize this depiction. As he blends a thermochromic palette of orange, yellow and green, Nwadiogbu says, “there is a relationship that all these colors have, and it connects me to my home.” On the final design, a back print featuring sporadic dots come together to reflect the universe as well as brushed sleeves that speak of home and belonging relating to his focus of “who we are.”
Rounding off the collection, GANT welcomes Paris-based architect Harry Nuriev who hones in on the creative excellence of Crosby Studios for his reimagination of the Varsity Jacket. Taking the same approach to garment design as he would with furniture or buildings, Nuriev says, “I always rely on my first feeling or instinct,” which in this case, is stainless steel. Juxtaposing its composition, he adapts the hard and unmalleable metal by using a metallic silver fabric to match the flow of the jacket. Looking to the modularity of his installation work, the architect cuts up swatches and arranges them in an alternating blocked pattern with dainty sketches printed in between them. Blurring the lines of architecture and fashion, he aims to showcase how both disciplines “consider how people live” through this design whether it’s bricks or material providing a protective layer.
Through this experimental project, the brand amplifies its ethos to “Never Stop Learning,” using the unique perspectives of three diverse creatives, who occupy various practices, to elevate its own design approach. In addition to the inspiring creative outcomes, the brand invites the respective artists to choose a charity close to their hearts, of which they will donate 100% of the proceeds to.
To shop one of the limited-edition Varsity Jackets in the “Blank Canvas” collection, head to GANT’s website now.