How Gildan Became the Biggest Name in Streetwear

Much in the same way that a painter or visual artist looks at a blank canvas and can imagine a multitude of different possibilities, the same can be said in a fashion context for the plain, white T-shirt, which has launched thousands of brands and subsequently bankrupted hundreds more.

While there’s no tried-and-true method for emerging from nothing and becoming something, most people agree that you have to start fresh. Although a brand like Mitchell & Ness was catapulted onto the national stage by making something old, new again, that is the exception and not the rule.

For a certain generation, this blank T-shirt was of the Hanes variety and probably reminds you of your father or uncle who would wear them so often that the cotton ended up feeling like silk and the area around the armpits turned the color of Mountain Dew.

But in a contemporary context, the reigning champion is Gildan.

Gildan Activewear Inc.’s president and CEO, Glenn Chamandy. Photo: Financial Post

The Chamandy’s answer was T-shirts and sweatshirts, which continue to be staples that could just as easily be utilized by a long-haul truck driver as it could be by a person looking to build a streetwear brand.

"We knew that by starting from scratch we could make a better product for less,” Greg told Forbes.“We didn’t have the built-in disadvantages of an entrenched company. We don’t try to be all things to all people. We wanted to only produce where we knew we could be the low-cost producer."

Anti Social Social Club is a brand that allegedly used Gildan blanks. Photo: Hypebeast