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Gildan Activewear Inc.
TypePublic company
S&P/TSX 60 component
IndustryTextile, clothing
FounderGlenn Chamandy, Greg Chamandy
Key people
Glenn J. Chamandy (CEO), Rhodri J. Harries (CFO)
RevenueDecrease US$ 1.98 billion (FY 2020)[1]
Decrease US$ -180.2 million (FY 2020)[1]
Decrease US$ -225.3 million (FY 2020)[1]
Total assetsDecrease US$ 3.02 billion (FY 2020)[1]
Total equityDecrease US$ 1.56 billion (FY 2020)[1]
Number of employees
44,000 (2020)[1]
SubsidiariesAmerican Apparel (online retailer)

Gildan Activewear Inc. is a Canadian 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 44,000 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 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]

Gildan has factories in low-wage countries like Honduras and Haiti, which has allowed Gildan to lower its price per shirt to below that of Chinese manufacturers as of 2006.[8]


Gildan opened its first offshore 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]

In 2010, the company invested $15m in Shahriyar Fabric Industries Limited in Bangladesh to support planned growth in Asia and Europe.[10]

Gildan Activewear shirts with Wikia logo

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.[11]

The company also sponsored the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, which was played December 15, 2012 in Albuquerque.[12] In 2014, Gildan Activewear acquired Doris Hosiery for CA$110 million. In February 2015, Gildan announced its intent to purchase the Comfort Colors brand and assets, for a total purchase price of approximately US$100 million. Comfort Colors is the leading supplier of garment-dyed undecorated basic T-shirts and sweatshirts for the North American printwear market.[13] In 2016, Gildan Activewear announced its $55 million purchase of PEDS Legwear.[14] In 2017, Canadian company Gildan Activewear purchased American clothing company American Apparel for $88 million at auction. This deal did not include retail locations.[15]

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 Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince.[16][17]


In a 2017 commercial, Gildan depicted older men in (sometimes ill-fitting) white briefs and urged younger men not to wear their fathers' underwear.[18] Blake Shelton was a spokesperson for the company.[19]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Gildan 2020 Annual Report to Shareholders" (PDF). 26 February 2021. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  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". Archived from the original on 3 March 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  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. ^ "CANADA: Gildan invests $15m in Bangladesh factory". 31 March 2010.
  11. ^ "Early Kickoff for Marketers at Super Bowl". The New York Times. 12 December 2012.
  12. ^,ESPN[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Gildan Activewear Announces Agreement to Acquire Comfort Colors for $100 Million". Marketwired. 4 February 2015.
  14. ^ Delean, Paul (27 July 2016). "Gildan snaps up Peds Legwear". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Gildan wins auction for American Apparel, pays $88M for the brand — but not the stores". CBC News. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  16. ^ "WRC Factory Investigation Genesis, S.A."
  17. ^ "Preliminary Report on Unlawful Dismissals at Genesis, S.A. (Haiti)", October 11, 2011.
  18. ^ "OKRP, Gildan Advise Millennials, 'Don't Wear Your Dad's Underwear'".
  19. ^ Reuter, Annie. "Blake Shelton Is Officially an Underwear Model". Taste of Country.

External links[edit]