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iStyle: College blues

Gant helped to create the preppy look that’s the hallmark of American menswear and is just as popular over here. Now its offshoot, Gant Rugger, has opened its first UK store.

The preppy look is intrinsically linked with the north-east of America - and the Ivy League universities found therein - but its timeless appeal ensures that it remains a go-to reference in modern menswear. One of the biggest proponents - Gant and its offshoot Gant Rugger - doesn’t just emulate the preppy style, but was one of the original brands which helped create it.

The button-down collared shirt that the Gant of New Haven designers Marty and Elliot Gantmacher helped to popularise in America in the Fifties got the label off to a roaring start, but it was innovations such as the locker loop, box pleat and a button to secure a tie that ensured the brand kept its dedicated following. In 1973 the brand introduced its first Rugger – a classic striped sports shirt that became an instant classic.

The modern offering maintains that classic varsity style, imagined this season in a palette of fresh pastels inspired by the sun-faded, wind-swept houses of the village of Alassio on the Italian Riviera.

Opening in central London today is Gant Rugger’s first UK standalone store, which draws on the brand’s six decades of design history to explore the history of its preppy classics which are now deemed vintage. As well as a reclaimed wooden floor and original tiles, the store is equipped with an exhibition area, which will change to reflect the seasonal campaign. For its inception, the space has been designed and filled by Team Americano – the menswear journalists, photographers and bloggers picked by the brand to star in its current campaign shot on location at Pitti Uomo, the menswear shows in Florence, and Alassio.