The Polo Zoo

Today I’d like to introduce you to the Polo Zoo, which is basically a collection of polos with embroidered animal logos that I have be striving to identify and acquire for a number of years now. If you must know, currently my collection stands at like…two. Because, look, some of these polos are ridiculously expensive. Seriously, what type of normal person has like $150 to spare for a polo shirt?

Here are some arbitrary rules I’ve made up to define the scope of this collection.

1) Short sleeve polo shirts that must be available for men. So for example this disqualifies things like this Brannan Bear polo from Gap, which has long sleeves. Also, it is for babies. Like literal children and infants, it’s not available in an adult size.

2) It must be an embroidered logo, without any additional fluff around it or text. So for example the Roots beaver is out, since I’ve yet to see the beaver logo on its own without the matching “Roots” text under it, nor have I seen it embroidered as opposed to screen printed. Also I don’t think I’ve ever seen a short sleeve polo shirt from Roots. This also disqualifies polo shirts where the logo is on a crest or a patch or something ironed on instead of embroidered directly on the shirt. Must also just contain just the animal logo with minimal extra decals, and no text surrounding the logo. For example this shirt from Paul & Shark which violates both of the previous rules – it is both on a crest instead of a logo embroidered directly on the shirt, and also contains the company title. Fortunately they have a plain shark logo offering which appears below.

3) Maintain the purity of the zoo concept. Imagine the whole logo could actually belong to a real zoo, as is. For example, no Ralph Lauren or Burberry, who both have logos of a man riding a horse. You could put a horse in a zoo, but not the man, this is not intended to be like a morbid intergalactic zoo owned by The Collector or something. Too high concept. For example Ferrari polos would be valid…except they violate Rule #2 as the horse is on a crest. Also no anthropomorphic animals. For example, Ralph Lauren’s anthropomorphic Polo Bear, who is commonly seen dressed like a human being (and in some cases with polo gear on, which makes you really wonder about the nature of the horses that a bear would ride). Anthropomorphic bears wearing human clothes implies sentience and I’m just not ready to answer the moral and ethical questions that would come with throwing such an intelligent bear in a zoo. This would also disqualify a polo with Mickey Mouse on it as a mouse logo, for example. Note that I have made exceptions below for Jack Wills and Original Penguin, which seem to both feature regular birds dressed (unwittingly by a human perhaps…?) in formal attire. Also for BAPE, who have based their logo on characters from Planet of the Apes. So although the logo could be interpreted as the face of a regular old chimpanzee…we are all keenly aware that this is not actually the case, and these apes are indeed sentient. Honestly I’m not sure how to feel about these choices. History may judge me harshly.

4) Reasonable availability. I should be able to go out and buy one with reasonable effort (if you can call dropping $150 on a polo shirt to be “reasonable”) so these can’t be from a limited collector item run or anything like that. For example, Thomas Pink’s Cheeky Fox or Marc Jacobs’ Stinky Rat are no longer available for sale, so those are off the list. If I have to go on eBay or third party sites to source your polo shirts, I can’t add you to the list. These should all be directly available from reasonably large, national or global brands. I can’t be expected to dig through every single Etsy shop or mom and pop apparel company with an embroidery machine for entrees to this list. Also, no custom build-it-yourself polos, which disqualifies Ralph Lauren’s custom polos which feature a few types of regular dogs. Listen, Ralph Lauren polo shirts are expensive, best believe I’m throwing all the made up rules I can at them to disqualify them from the collection.

5) Conformity. In order to establish a uniform look, it has to conform to the approximate standard size and position of all these other polo shirt logos. Say…I don’t know…an approximately coin-sized logo? So none of this craziness from KENZO, who also have a smaller logo that breaks Rule #2 for featuring text within the logo. Also no Fox Racing who put their oversized logos up at the shoulder.

6) No sports teams. I think it just goes against the core concept, and there’s just too much extra baggage that comes with wearing like a Chicago Bulls or Florida Panthers polo shirt around. What, am I a fan of their training staff…? I guess this could also apply to other non-apparel companies with animal logos, although I can’t think of any at the moment that would be reasonably available for purchase.

Okay, good? I mean there are numerous other exceptions and contradictions I’ve made to stretch the criteria, but that’s the general framework we’re working with here. It’s not an exact science, I’m talking about logos on polos.

Chimpanzee – A Bathing Ape

Crocodile – Lacoste

Eagle – American Eagle

Elephant – Banana Republic

Kangaroo – Kangol

Lion – Express

Moose – Abercrombie & Fitch

Penguin – Original Penguin

Pheasant – Jack Wills

Puma – Puma

Rabbit – Psycho Bunny

Rhinoceros – ECKO

Rooster – Le Coq Sportif

Sailfish – Tommy Bahama

Seagull – Hollister

Shark – Paul & Shark

Sheep – Brooks Brothers

Skipjack Tuna – Southern Tide

Turtle – Vilebrequin

Whale – Vineyard Vines

Zebra – Paul Smith

Some men hunt for sport,
Others hunt for food,
The only thing I’m hunting for,
Is an outfit that looks good…

2 Comments


  1. Hocking says:

    Fucking hell, Will. How much time did you spend coming up with this?!?

  2. Brian says:

    The Jack swills pheasant looks sentient.

Reply

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Destined to fight the world's evil, The WAMBAG endures massive battles involving impossible stunts, races on horse-pulled carriages, and the desecration of enchanting medieval castles (all done with dizzying computer graphics). Not only does the eye candy keep on coming, the tongue-in-cheek writing and deep Transylvanian accents perfect the film with a dose of dark humor.

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