Introducing a new product is a big deal. We pride ourselves on having a focused, but excellent assortment of products. When we do launch something new, it is the culmination of months of planning, prototyping, fitting, debating, revising, debating some more, and eventually naming. The history of any given product’s anatomy is always an interesting story. This is the story of the Vesper Polo.
After our customers’ overwhelmingly positive response to the Ace collection, we started getting more comfortable with the idea of launching other product categories. That’s not to say we were suddenly going to launch winter coats and tuxedos. Any new product categories had to stay in the Mack Weldon lane, but it felt time to start widening the lane ever so slightly. That meant looking for wardrobe staples that were in need of an upgrade. Products where we had a distinctive point of view and could deliver the highest in quality and performance attributes at a price point that provided real value to the customer. The more we discussed possible products, the more we kept coming back to a wardrobe staple that the industry had long forgotten: the polo shirt.
Brands like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger were built on the back of the polo shirt. It was their key item. But over the last decade, those brands dropped the ball and stopped innovating. It was as if the apparel world had moved on from the polo. What made that frustrating was that guys hadn’t stopped wearing polos. Go to any youth baseball game on a Saturday and every dad in the stands will be wearing one. But innovation had ceased, and the polo shirt was in desperate need of a modern makeover.
Around the same time that we were getting serious about making a polo, Daniel Craig was starring in his third James Bond film, Spectre. For the last century, James Bond has been the fictional epitome of cool: suave, appreciative of the finer things in life, and always cool under pressure. Traits not too dissimilar from the Mack Weldon brand identity. What does that have to do with making a polo? Daniel Craig has donned a polo shirt on multiple occasions in his Bond movies (specifically, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace). The shirt Craig wears is unlike anything on the market here in the U.S. because it is the antithesis of a polo that Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, or even Nike would make. It does not have a logo on the chest; it has a pocket; it is slim fitting, and it features a self-collar (industry speak for a collar made of the same material as the rest of the shirt). It was everything Ralph and Tommy couldn’t sell to the masses. And we thought it was perfect.
With Bond as the inspiration, we set about designing Mack Weldon’s take on the polo. As with everything we do, it started with the fabric. The very first polo shirts were made as performance shirts, so we took a breathable mesh cotton, the original performance fabric, and added modal and a touch of LYCRA to make it extra soft and breathable. The fabric was then cut in a modern and slim-fitting silhouette, and finished off with little details like a pocket and self-collar.
The Vesper Polo launched this past July and our customers love it. What’s long been a staple of every guy’s wardrobe is now a staple in the Mack Weldon assortment. No longer do guys have to settle for lackluster offerings from the brands that pioneered the polo. Now, whether you’re throwing the football with your son or chasing shadowy criminal organization, the Vesper Polo will keep you stylish and cool.