The Ralph Lauren Polo Bear is by far one of the most iconic fashion mascots of all time, but it wasn’t always as well known. In a recent series by New York Magazine’s The Cut, they explore how the Steiff bear grew to becoming the brands unofficial mascot.
Back in the late 80s Ralph Lauren received a Steiff bear as a gift on his birthday, from his design team wearing a Ralph Lauren outfit. He thought the idea was so dope, that he decided to start selling the bears in his stores as a novelty gift. The bears where a huge success, so much, that in 91′ he started to started to stamp the stuffed animal on his clothes (hats, polo shirts, sweaters, etc.). Over the years there have been more and more variations of the Polo Bear in different outfits and poses.
Polo aficionado, Dallas Penn has gone on record and said:
The Polo Bear is iconic hood gear because irony is NEVER wasted on people really from the ‘hood (working class people). The level of swag being accomplished by rocking an executive bear knit while wearing Levi’s 501s and Air Max 95s is an all-time official ‘Fit.
The Polo bear sweater has become such a sought after piece and staple item in both fashion and hip-hop that in 2013, Ralph Lauren announced it’s “Bring It Back” program as part of its Ralph Lauren Vintage launch. They also allowed fans to vote on which Polo Bear mascots would adorn a limited-edition sweater