Ivy Trendwatch: Gant Rugger x Take Ivy

The designers at Gant Rugger appear to have hit the books in preparation for the Spring 2010 collection. Or at least one book: “Take Ivy,” the 1965 Japanese photo book hyped to the max on the Web over the past couple of years.

The sartorial motifs of “Take Ivy” abound in the Rugger collection, mixed and matched with colors changed. There are hooded rain slickers, shorts worn with white socks and loafers, skinny chinos with untucked oxfords, jeans with the pant legs rolled up, and canvas sneakers sans socks.

There’s also the wool and leather varsity jacket:

And the varsity windbreaker with striped collar and cuffs, worn with shorts:

And the hooded rain slicker, also paired with shorts:

And finally the untucked, sleeves-rolled oxford accessorized with bicycle:

Further “Take Ivy” influences can be seen in the “Road Trip” video on the Rugger website, which includes bucolic scenes of nature (very Dartmouth), and young men bicycling around a small college town. Or maybe Brooklyn.

Now owned by Gant Pyramid AB of Sweden, Gant is proclaiming a redefining of the brand based on a rededication to its 1949 origins in New Haven, Connecticut. Writes the company on its website:

After years spent scouring the US for vintage originals, sorting through dusty swatches, and searching through our vast fabric archives with an unheard-of attention to detail, the new and improved Gant Rugger is back with a vengeance to reclaim the field with a collection unlike anything else out there.

Unlike anything, that is, except “Take Ivy.”


We’re one of the very few brands still standing who were right there at the birth of American sportswear during the 1950s, and it’s our heritage that makes us who we are today.

Now don’t think I’m being censorious in pointing out the book and collection parallels: Tradition-with-a-twist is the best approach to making fashion, as it properly balances novelty with respect for the classics. There’s no need to create new forms, as they’ve all been perfected already. So cheers to Gant for keeping the taste for classic American style alive for a new generation.

As for “Take Ivy,” someone just lent me a copy and I can say it’s much more enjoyable in print than in pixels. The style and functionality of the clothes really leap off the page, or rather draw you in, revealing American sportswear at its best.

If you’re interested in The Ivy League Look, I highly encourage you to seek out a hard copy. Try your local lending library. Or eBay. Or a Gant store. — CC

11 Comments on "Ivy Trendwatch: Gant Rugger x Take Ivy"

  1. Christian, that’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the collection. Thanks for confirming it by providing the side-by-side comparison pictures.

  2. Weird serendipity as I got the book on the same day the collection splashed all over the web.

    Same sort of thing happened yesterday as I wandered in to St. Thomas’ Episcopal church, then put on “Metropolitan” last night and there it was.

  3. Was there any need whatsoever for the “Gant Rugger” collection? Aren’t all of these items already available from other manufacturers?

  4. Indeed, the fashion industry often strikes one as based entirely on a combination of needless novelty and total redundancy.

  5. “Indeed, the fashion industry often strikes one as based entirely on a combination of needless novelty and total redundancy.”

    This is precisely why those with a sense of style, rather than fashion, stay away from such “collections”.

  6. I’d rather hang out with the guys on the right than the guys on the left.

  7. It’s funny how visitors to this site and others celebrating the Ivy/Trad/Preppy style often complain that no one makes these type of clothes anymore and then when a company decides to do so, criticize that company for doing so. Whether or not these items are “readily available from other manufacturers”, is it bad that they will now be more widely available?

    Sure, the pictures are probably lifted directly from Take Ivy, but so what? How many times have fashion collections stolen their ideas from movies or old photographs. Heck, most of Ralph Lauren’s collections wouldn’t exist if not for the inspiration of classic styles.

    I’m looking forward to seeing some of these Gant styles in person and hoping they will be available in my area.

  8. It all comes down to whether one wants to wear the real thing (already available) or wear Halloween costumes (Gant Rugger imitations).

  9. “# Comment by Ox Ac Uk — February 5, 2010 @ 4:58 pm
    I’d rather hang out with the guys on the right than the guys on the left.”

    That’s an understatement. I took a look at the Rugger web site. Those pretty boy models – Jacques, Reid and Stas (LOL) – are making a movie of some hokey road trip in which they apparently wear their Gant costumes. I’m sure it will be exciting (not) to follow.

  10. Very nice comparison Christian. I think Gant reached back to a good place…a place most men in this country need to revisit.

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