With the influx of brands entering the market of street fashion and luxury, lines are starting to get blurred where some 25 years ago you were either strictly streetwear or high fashion. Trends have then stemmed from these two polar opposites where the likes of athleisure have found a home in the middle of the two. But before brands such as kids were dressing head-to-toe in Jordan tracksuits or designers such as John Elliot was introducing tailored sweatpants to the world, Rene Lacoste was taking the tennis world by storm in his personalised and brand new pique polos that changed the world of tennis attire, and left a lasting impact on the world of fashion.
Traditional tennis attire in the early 20th Century looked more like formal wear for a high-tea event, as opposed to it being a form of performance apparel for the athletes. Long dress shirts, ties and full length trousers were the “ideal” performance gear; although that wasn’t long until Lacoste would introduce the pique-knit polo shirt to the scene in 1933. With its textured cotton knit, soft unstarched collar and shorter sleeves, this provided the wearer with flexibility in wear, breathability on the court and a lighter feel. From there, Rene’s relationship with the fashion scene only grew and brands would look to imitate the iconic pique-polo.
From mid to late century , Rene and his team were growing at such a fast pace that global expansion was at the forefront of their vision. The 50’s marked the launch of their kids range, the 70’s saw the launching of their international campaigns celebrating its brand heritage, and by the 80’s and into the 90’s the brand had already started entering the market of accessories and fragrance with their signature colognes, sunglasses and sneakers, which would eventually become a staple for the upper class. By this point the world would soon take notice of Lacostes cross-cultural impact on the world of sport and fashion.
Into the 2000’s, Lacoste would be co-signed by some of sports greatest athletes such as Andy Rodick, Stanislas Wawrinka, and even non tennis players such José María Olazábal, a two-time Masters Tournament champion and Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie would be seen wearing Lacoste on the course.
Most recently, Lacoste has launched their Lacoste LIVE! Line in 2011 which caters products to a younger consumer, with a taste level to match the contemporary. This has allowed the brand to stretch reach farther into the younger audiences attention whilst also being able to adapt to the changing times of fashion and culture.
2018 saw Lacoste take a massive leap into animal conservatism where it signed a 3 year partnership with IUNC (International Union for Conservation of Nature), and into 2019, the brand launched a collection titled “SAVE OUR SPECIES” that saw Lacoste putting their iconic crocodile on hold and substituting it for 10 animals on the endangered species list. Each embroidered animals on the polos were made in limited quantities, which were in relation to the number of that specific species that are left in the wild.
Moving into the future, Lacoste is seen to be staying true to the roots of its brand, yet being flexible enough to cater to the audience of fashion, youth culture and social awareness; and with a brand that boasts a colourful 86 year history, SOLEMATE is proud to be carrying the Lacoste brand in our stores, and we are proud to share this product and this story with you.