Preppy style is in the midst of a renaissance, with no shortage of recent TikToks available to teach you how to dress authentically #oldmoney. But while social media debates the hallmarks of a real Ivy League graduate’s wardrobe, many preppy brands are actually trying to loosen the style up. Prep fashion may have its origins in old-school academic settings, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t evolve — and shed some of its exclusive air in the process. As Gant‘s Snarkitecture–designed Stockholm flagship demonstrates, this line of thinking applies as much to preppy interior design as it does to preppy clothing.
Gant has a particularly interesting perspective on classic American sportswear. While it was founded in 1949 in New Haven, Connecticut — where it quickly became the outfitter of choice for many Yale students — it is now based in Stockholm. Since rejoining Gant in late 2019, the company’s Swedish creative director, Christopher Bastin, has been leading the brand with an outsider’s regard for classic Americana, but also a Nordic eye for playful contemporary details.
All of this is on display in Gant’s new 580-square-metre boutique in the city’s Östermalm district. Adding another layer to Gant’s cross-continental identity, the project was designed by an American studio: Snarkitecture, which is based in New York. While the firm pays tribute to Gant’s rich New Haven heritage, it does so in a way that flips many staid Ivy League trappings on their head. The result is a dignified environment that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Indeed, while it is easy to see the project’s wood paneling as a reference to traditional collegiate libraries, other design elements reflect a serious rebellious streak. Passageways between different rooms may be a nod to the grand archways that define many Gothic campuses, yet here they are shaped by loose, free-spirited squiggles. Wall niches modeled after wooden lockers (bench seat and all) feature similarly sinuous corners.
The undulations don’t stop there. Rippled edges define the store’s checkout counter and display podiums, while wavy lines are also used to demarcate herringbone flooring from other areas with offset planks.
In another example of the store’s casual loftiness, its three-storey staircase is carpeted not in a trad navy, but in a vibrant cobalt blue. What’s more, this carpeting spills out to create fun, puddle-like accents on each landing. Suspended within the staircase, a jumble of bent lighting tubes evokes the type of doodle that a frustrated student might squiggle in the margins after their pen runs out of ink.
Other strong moments of colour echo the bright tones of the clothes on display, with yellow panels and orange seats providing bold complements to the store’s collection of oxford and rugby shirts.
The lesson: compelling prep style doesn’t depend on where your degree is from, or how old the money in your bank account is. It pulls from tradition, sure, but it also leaves room for expressing your own unique perspective.
In its design for Gant’s Stockholm flagship, the New York studio puts its own spin on prep.