Gildan Activewear

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Gildan Activewear Inc.
Public company
Traded as TSXGIL
S&P/TSX 60 component
Industry Textile, Clothing
Founded 1984
Founder Glenn Chamandy, Greg Chamandy
Headquarters Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Key people
Glenn J. Chamandy (CEO), Rhodri J. Harries (CFO)
Revenue US$ 1.95 billion (FY 2015)[1][a]
US$ 327.2 million (FY 2015)[1][a]
US$ 304.9 million (FY 2015)[1][a]
Total assets US$ 2.83 billion (FY 2015)[1]
Total equity US$ 2.19 billion (FY 2015)[1]
Number of employees
42,000 (2015)[1]
Subsidiaries American Apparel (online retailer)

Gildan Activewear Inc. is a Canadian-American manufacturer of branded clothing, including undecorated blank activewear such as t-shirts, sport shirts and fleeces, which are subsequently decorated by screen printing companies with designs and logos. The company also supplies branded and private label athletic, casual and dress socks to retail companies in the United States[2] including Gold Toe Brands, PowerSox, SilverToe, Auro, All Pro, and the Gildan brand.[3] The company also manufactures and distributes Under Armour and New Balance brand socks.[4] The company has approximately 42,000 employees worldwide,[1] and owns and operates manufacturing facilities in Rio Nance, Honduras[5] and the Caribbean.

Glenn and Greg Chamandy founded Gildan in 1984 with the acquisition of a knitting mill in Montreal, Quebec, Canada,[6] to make fabric to supply the Harley Inc., the childrenswear business already owned by the family. It later expanded to sell t-shirts made of 100% cotton to wholesalers, which resold them to United States and Canadian screen-printers, to be decorated with designs and logos. By 1994, Harley was closed in order to focus on the expansion of what had become Gildan Activewear.[7]

The combination of very low wages and advanced technology has allowed Gildan to lower its price per shirt to below that of Chinese manufacturers.[8]


Gildan opened its first offshoring sewing facility in Honduras, in 1997. The plant was vertically integrated and employed 1,200 workers. A year later, the company achieved an Initial public offering and was listed publicly on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and the NYSE MKT.[9]

By 2001, Gildan was the leading distributor of 100% cotton T-shirts in the US as determined by the ACNielsen S.T.A.R.S. Report.[citation needed] The next year, the company opened a knitting, bleaching, dyeing, finishing and cutting facility in Rio Nance, Honduras.[9]

Over the next few years, Gildan continued its expansion by opening sewing facilities in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic and a distribution center in Charleston, South Carolina.[10][not in citation given]

In 2010 the company invested $15m in Shahriyar Fabric Industries Limited in Bangladesh to support planned growth in Asia and Europe.[11]

Gildan Activewear shirts with Wikia logo

Gildan bought Gold Toe Moretz, a North Carolina-based sock manufacturer, in early 2011. Previously, Gildan had primarily focused on its activewear market share, and had started entering the retail channel with the acquisitions of two sock manufacturers. The Gold Toe acquisition doubled the company’s sock revenue.[12][not in citation given]

In May 2012, Gildan again expanded with its purchase of 130-year old apparel maker Anvil Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Anvil Knitwear and producer of environmentally-friendly lines of sustainable, recycled and organic apparel.

Gildan bought a 30-second spot to air an advertisement during the third quarter of the 2013 Super Bowl. The ad was part of an overall $25 million marketing push created by DeVito/Verdi, which included broadcast, print, digital, event marketing, and public relations. Gildan started speaking to the media about its Super Bowl ad in early December 2012.[13]

The company also sponsored the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, which was played December 15, 2012 in Albuquerque.[14]

In 2014, Gildan Activewear acquired Doris Hosiery for $Can 110 million.

In 2016, Gildan Activewear announced its $55 million purchase of PEDS Legwear.[15]

In 2017, Gildan Activewear purchased American clothing company, American Apparel for $88 million at auction. This deal did not include retail locations.[16]

Environment and sustainability[edit]

In the past decade, Gildan implemented sustainability initiatives to reduce or eliminate potentially negative effects its facilities might have on the environment. Facilities in Honduras and the Dominican Republic employ Biotop, a biological wastewater management system that uses gravity, microorganisms and sunlight to remove chemicals and dyes from wastewater.[17][not in citation given] When treated by Biotop, the water is beneficial to nearby ecosystems and suitable for use in local agriculture. [18]

Allegations of labor rights violations[edit]

Genesis, S.A. is a Haitian factory manufacturing T-shirts whose main customer is Gildan Activewear. It has been accused as the most serious offender in a campaign of retaliatory dismissals, targeted at the leaders of a new labor rights and union organizing effort in Port-au-Prince.[19]

Harshest working conditions in the global apparel industry[20][edit]

Genesis, S.A. is a Haitian factory manufacturing T-shirts and its only customer is Gildan Activewear.[21] Genesis, S.A. has been the most serious offender in a multi-factory campaign of retaliatory dismissals, targeted at the leaders of a new labor rights and union organizing effort in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Haitian apparel workers receive the lowest wages in the hemisphere and face some of the harshest working conditions anywhere in the global apparel industry.[7]

WRC Report: Stealing from the Poor: Wage Theft in the Haitian Apparel Industry[edit]

A report titled "Stealing from the Poor: Wage Theft in the Haitian Apparel Industry," highlights the fact that the "average wages are even lower at the new Caracol Industrial Park despite the fact that the project was heavily subsidized by the United States government with earthquake recovery aid as a means of providing Haitian workers with a path out of poverty."[22] The best farmland was taken from farmers to give to the South Korean company, and wages have never been what they promised the workers.

Corporate citizenship[edit]

In 1994 Gildan became the first wholesale activewear manufacturer to obtain the Oeko-tex standard 100 Certification.[23] Oeko-Tex is a set of uniform safety standards within the textile industry; certification ensures that processes and final products have been tested for harmful substances and found to contain amounts lower than Oeko-Tex’s set limits.

Gildan has its own Social Compliance Program designed to enforce humane standards for working conditions and labor practices.[24] Facilities, including those of external suppliers, are audited for compliance with Gildan’s internal Code of Conduct and adherence to standards of the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP).

Gildan was also the first basic activewear manufacturer to be accredited by the FLA. Audits are also performed to ensure compliance with standards of the Fair Labor Association (FLA).[25]

Gildan established medical clinics in its manufacturing facilities that offer free care to employees – for work related accidents as well as non-work related preventative care, including basic prenatal doctor’s visits.[25] Maclean's Magazine cites this as a factor in naming Gildan to its list of Canada’s 50 Best Corporate Citizens.[26][not in citation given]

In 2010–2011, Gildan purchased 85% of non-yarn supplies locally in Central America and 76.5% in the Caribbean Basin.[27]


The company launched “I Support...Charity” in 2010 in an effort to promote community involvement and employee participation in choosing the charities that received donations. According to a company press release, Gildan donated $200,000 to various charities as a part of the program in 2011.[18][not in citation given]

Homeboy Industries, which provides employment and services for at-risk and formerly gang-affiliated youth, received a donation of $100,000 as a result of Gildan’s first “I Support... Charity” campaign.[28]

In 2011, the second year of the “I Support” program, Gildan added a new feature called Gildan Good Cards. The cards can be redeemed for a $50 donation to any 501(c)(3) charity and are given to employees who nominate a charity. The Good Cards have the effect of dispersing the company’s philanthropic efforts; while only five nominated charities receive large donations, more than 90 charitable organizations benefitted from Good Card redemptions. The cards resulted in an extra $100,000 distributed among the 90+ additional philanthropies.[29]


In a 2017 commercial, Gildan depicted older men in white briefs and urged younger men not to wear their dads' underwear like that.[30]

Blake Shelton was a spokesperson for the company.[31]


  1. ^ a b c Gildan Activewear changed its annual reporting period in 2015.[1] The figures presented in the infobox cover a period from October 6, 2014 to January 3, 2016, a period of 15 months.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Gildan 2015 Report to Shareholders". Securities and Exchange Commission. February 25, 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  2. ^ "How to coax profit from the market's 'Great Rotation'". Market Watch. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "Leading Apparel Manufacturer Turns To DeVito/Verdi To Develop Retail Brand And Refresh Iconic Gold Toe Brand. - Free Online Library". 
  4. ^ 2011 Annual Report
  5. ^ "Gildan Will Build New Textile Plant at Rio Nance". 
  6. ^ "Gildan Activewear Inc". 
  7. ^ "HSBC Global Connections — Helping businesses grow internationally". Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  8. ^ "Beat China On Cost: Gildan taps other labour pool and trade pacts". 9 January 2006. 
  9. ^ a b Story of Gildan Challenging China
  10. ^ Regional Business Journal[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "CANADA: Gildan invests $15m in Bangladesh factory". 2010-03-31. 
  12. ^ Business Week[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Early Kickoff for Marketers at Super Bowl". The New York Times. 12 December 2012. 
  14. ^,ESPN[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Delean, Paul (July 27, 2016). "Gildan snaps up Peds Legwear". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved July 27, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Gildan wins auction for American Apparel, pays $88M for the brand — but not the stores". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  17. ^ New York Times[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ a b "Gildan Genuine Stewardship Website - Environment". 
  19. ^ WRC Factory Investigation Genesis, S.A.
  20. ^ At present, Haitian apparel workers receive the lowest wages in the hemisphere and face some of the harshest working conditions anywhere in the global apparel industry., "Preliminary Report on Unlawful Dismissals at Genesis, S.A. (Haiti)", October 11, 2011. Page 1.
  21. ^ "Two collegiate licensees, Ad Resources and Cotton Gallery, disclose Genesis as a collegiate factory. Both brands buy their products through Gildan, which purchases virtually all of the factory’s output.", "Preliminary Report on Unlawful Dismissals at Genesis, S.A. (Haiti)", October 11, 2011. Page 2.
  22. ^ Worker Rights Consortium "The WRC’s research found that factories in Port-au-Prince fail to pay workers a third of their legally mandated wages. Average wages are even lower at the new Caracol factory complex despite the fact that the project was heavily subsidized with earthquake recovery funds from the United States government as a means of providing Haitians with a path out of poverty." WRC, Stealing from the Poor: Wage Theft in the Haitian Apparel Industry, October 2013, page 10.
  23. ^ Gildan Activewear Obtains Prestigious International Environmental Certification
  24. ^ "Gildan Genuine Stewardship Website - People". 
  25. ^ a b "Top 50 socially responsible corporations". Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  26. ^ 50 Best Corporate Citizens Maclean’s
  27. ^ "Gildan Genuine Stewardship Website - Community". 
  28. ^ "Gildan Donates $100,000 to Homeboy Industries for its First "I Support..." Campaign – Press Releases on". 
  29. ^ "Gildan Reveals the Names of the 2011 Gildan "I Support..." Program Award Recipients". 
  30. ^
  31. ^

External links[edit]