Hurlingham Polo Association unveils its new clothing and lifestyle brand
June 30, 2018
Polo is inexpensive to watch, is played by some of the wealthiest, fearless and most attractive sportsmen in the world and has never been more popular. As the polo season begins, Luxuria Lifestyle takes a look at the sport and an exciting new clothing brand bearing its name.
Fast, furious, and featuring a remarkable union between man and horse, polo epitomises the British love of dressing up and enjoying a tipple whilst watching a fixture on the summer’s sporting calendar. Crowd participation is encouraged, in that there is a genteel surge onto the pitch after each chukka to tread down the ‘divots’ displaced by the deadly mallets.
Frequently referred to as the Game of Kings, polo hails from a world of military history, heritage and glory. In fact, Winston Churchill once said, “A polo handicap is a person’s ticket to the world”. Today polo is played in 80 countries around the world and is growing at 25% per annum in the UK where there are over 70 polo clubs and approximately 3,000 registered players. There is also a marked increase in participation amongst young devotees of the sport, with more than 1,500 school and university players now registered nationwide, while a group of younger and wealthier international ‘patrons’ – owners of teams, are changing the face of the sport. Passion for the sport has spread as far as Hollywood’s finest, with Sylvester Stallone declaring that it feels like ‘playing golf in an earthquake.’
At the heart of the game is the Hurlingham Polo Association – the sport’s oldest governing body and the spiritual home of the modern game of polo. Founded in 1875, the Hurlingham Polo Association is based in Faringdon, Oxfordshire where it governs polo in the UK and 37 other countries around the world.
The Hurlingham Polo Association has recently amplified its status by creating a high quality range of merchandise known as HPA, that expresses the character and values of the Game of Kings. This emanated from a partnership between the Hurlingham Polo Association and entrepreneur Simon Hawkins of sportswear company King of Games. Hawkins is a man with impeccable credentials in sportswear consumer brand development. Former Senior Vice President at sports giant Reebok for a decade, Hawkins worked with FIFA where he directed the execution of the 2010 World Cup; assisted the PGA and FIBA in brand development projects and is considered to be a visionary when it comes to underpinning a sport with the definitive kit, design and sponsorship. As Simon comments: “We’ve put a lot of thought into this. The Hurlingham Polo Association brand is built on the values of our sport. It is our intention that all products and communications carrying or expressing our brand live up to these truths, standards and aspirations of our business: authenticity, integrity, quality, unity and style.”
With the strapline ‘Authentically British, Absolutely International’ characterising its DNA, Hurlingham Polo 1875 is a British brand of performance sportswear and clothing apparel, playing kits and lifestyle goods that reflect a respect for a sport that is highly appreciated the world over.
Having already established a core Essentials line as well as Teamwear – the new On and Off the Field collection for riders and ponies, and indeed playing kit for the British polo team itself, the ranges celebrate British style merged with polo’s international appeal. These collections include playing kit, as well as clothes and kit for training and go-to-polo sporting casuals. They are all expertly designed, beautifully made and appropriately branded Hurlingham Polo. At the time of the launch, Oliver Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive at the HPA, said: “We are really excited to reveal the new playing kit; we have put a lot of effort into researching how the quality can be improved.”
Add to this a brand new collection for men and women known as HP Active. As its name suggests, HP Active is designed for all active and sporting lifestyles is perfect for riding, walking, running, cycling or simply wearing to the gym. It is stylish, doubles as great casual wear and is underpinned by its legacy of glamour, tradition and British heritage. Not only are the clothes beautifully designed and made in the UK, but the cut facilitates movement, and the fabrics combine comfort, style and function. Garments incorporate Spandex for stretch and fit, and moisture wicking in the yarns keep the wearer cool and dry.
HP Active wear will be officially launched with a glittering champagne reception at Ham Polo Club on 18th May this year under the auspices of one of the world’s top polo players, Fred Mannix, the global brand ambassador.
A member of one of Canada’s first families, Fred captained the Commonwealth side at last year’s Coronation Cup, and currently plays for Argentina and North America. He made the journey to Argentina in 2006 and recruited local superstars to form his own team, Alegría, which is currently considered one of the six best polo teams in the world. Fred has already played in the Argentine Open four times and became the first Canadian in 65 years to compete in all three legs of the Triple Crown. His handicap of 8 remains aspirational for even the most able of players. Dashing, successful and talented, Fred Mannix is the perfect choice to embody this fusion of tradition and up-to-the-minute glamour. Fred says: “I’m delighted to represent a brand with so much heritage. It’s a responsibility I’m glad to carry, and look forward to supporting the Association in what I think is a worthwhile and exciting new endeavour.”
The HP Active collection includes base layer and polo shirts; sweatshirts, full-zip and down-filled hoodies; blouson and shell jackets, down quilted jackets and gilets. The HP Active range for men encapsulates a full collection of base, mid and outer layers that are a complement to polo whites, cycling shorts or jeans. Designed with the sportsman in mind, the range includes a number of performance enhancing features and embellishments intended for the active man. Sports layering underpins a personal best in any weather as well as offering a really cool look. Fred sums up the unique philosophy behind the brand: “The style, quality and performance is impressive, I’ll be more than happy to wear them on the field and off it.”
Every item is labelled either HP Active, Hurlingham Polo or HPA. And furthermore, proceeds of sales received by the Hurlingham Polo Association are channelled into funding for injured riders and ponies.
And there is more excitement to come when the premium lifestyle clothing collection Made in Britain and fabulous accessories including sunglasses, leather goods and belts are launched later this year. Hurlingham Polo 1875 it seems is ready to take its place among the world’s most prestigious premium sporting and lifestyle brands.