In 1914, Bernard Gantmacher arrived from Ukraine to New York City. He enrolled at Columbia University and to finance his studies he worked night shifts in the garment district of the Lower East Side. His first job was to sew shirt collars and he soon proved to be a master at the sewing machine. There he met his future wife, Rose, who was working as a button and buttonhole specialist.

In 1927, the couple moved to New Haven, Connecticut. The city was the center of a booming textile industry and Bernard set up business as a sub-contractor, making shirts for other labels.

Gant were quickly recognized as skilled shirt makers and became trusted partners for some of the most notable brands of the time. To satisfy the many customers who wanted to make sure they were getting the same high quality every time, Bernard started labeling the shirts with a diamond “G”. Soon everybody was talking about the “G-shirt” and demand far exceeded supply.