Fashion Shoot: The New Heritage

Image credit: Tom Dorrington

“Perfect Oxford!”. It isn’t often that you see those two words together in a Cambridge student paper. And when I met our eight lovely models to shoot GANT’s new collection, the name of their newest shirt didn’t go unnoticed. Not that it proved too much of a deterrent - at the end of the shoot the shirts were returned with more than a little reluctance! 

The Perfect Oxford is one of two shirts launched by GANT at New York Fashion Week in September, under a new sub-label, GANT Diamond G. The brand’s creative director, Christopher Bastin, says that the shirt “represents the true essence of past and present, found in a single product”. And that’s what GANT’s rebrand is all about: re-establishing Ivy League roots, with a fresh new interpretation of classic styles.

There was something else about the clothes that stood out to the models - the price. As I pulled clothes out of GANT bags and handed them round, there was lots of appreciation: “This is nice! How much is it?” As a Cambridge student, I’m painfully aware of just how wrong the rich-kid stereotype tends to be, and the cost of GANT clothing would make many students think twice. 

What that attitude doesn't take into account is the investment that a GANT piece represents: the brand has always demanded high quality, and innovation in design. Shirt details such as the back collar button, perfect roll, and locker loop might mean nothing to the average shopper, but they’re the hallmarks of clever design. And as a result, GANT clothes last - for years. Not only are they produced to a high quality, but their timeless appeal means that they’ll never go out of fashion.

That said, this new collection is right on trend. Autumn catwalks saw a fresh iteration of preppy style - loafers, pussy bows and tweed, updated with crisp tailoring and pastel shades. GANT’s ready-to-wear interpretation channels this look, with shirts in a range of pale shades, roll-necks, striking knitwear, and tweedy patterns. 

In a sense though, GANT’s rebrand isn’t just about the clothes - it’s about the people who wear them. The international campaign for the new Diamond G shirt runs under the slogan “They changed the world, not the shirt”, and focuses on successful, pioneering Ivy League graduates, who’ve worn GANT since college. Shooting in Cambridge, we wanted to see how GANT’s Diamond G shirts - and the range as a whole - work for the new generation. Our models came from across the university, and all of them show that there’s more to a Cambridge student than appears on the degree certificate. So in the spirit of the GANT campaign, we decided to find out more.

Robbie (above, far left), third-year HSPS at Homerton, directs and acts in a lot of student theatre at Cambridge. He’s just back from a tour of east coast American high-schools and colleges, during which he performed as part of the cast of The Taming of the Shrew. This term, he’s directing Tribes, a late-show at the ADC.

Chris (above, far right) is also a third year, at Caius, studying Land Economy. He’s modelled a lot before - professionally, in television adverts and music videos. He also organises Cambridge’s Strawberries & Creem music festival.

Lola (above) is in her second year of English, at Selwyn. She’s on the committee of the CUSU women’s campaign, and the BME campaign and she’s involved in writing and activism in both roles. She also does a lot of acting - last year she played the title-role in Othello, and this summer she was in Titus Andronicus at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Levi (group above, centre right) is studying HSPS at Caius, and is in his third year. He’s an EU careers ambassador, and he’ll soon be going to Brussels as part of his role promoting work with the European Union. He's also the college Access Officer, tasked with increasing the accessibility of the college to applicants from all backgrounds.

Toby (above right) is also involved in Cambridge drama - he acted with Robbie in the American Stage Tour. He’s a second-year English student at Robinson, and college LGBT rep. He’s into drag, and also writes his own songs.

Abbi (above left) like Chris, has modelled before - at last year’s Cambridge University Charity Fashion Show. She’s a recent English graduate, from St John’s, and she’s now working in advertising in London. While she was at Cambridge she was involved in rowing, as a cox, as well as wheelchair racing.

Fenella (above), a third year theologist at St John's, is captain of the university shooting team, and runs with the Hare & Hounds cross country club. She's also a member of Corpus Christi choir, and plays the violin. 

Ru (below left) is in her third year of History at Murray Edwards college. At Cambridge she’s been involved in college rowing, and edited the books section of TCS. She’s co-director of Murray Edward’s choir, and she’s also getting involved with the mindfulness society - she thinks mental health issues at Cambridge are really important, and has benefitted from mindlessness herself.

All our models show that a Cambridge degree is about more than a traditional, rigorous course. There’s room to explore the things that interest you beyond the degree itself. Directing the shoot, it seemed to me that GANT’s new range does a comparable thing - retaining the quality and sophistication of the brand’s earliest designs, but presenting them in an up-to-date way that anyone can match, combine, and style their own way. Oh, and did I mention? There's a GANT store in the Grand Arcade.

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