Criquet shirts don’t initially appear unusual – not at first anyway. They look like shirts you’ve seen in thousands of pictures: Arnold Palmer cranking a drive; Jack Nicklaus sinking a putt; Clint Eastwood back when he was just a movie star. Thing is, those photos were taken in the seventies. Finding a casual, cool golf polo isn’t as easy as it once was. And no one knows it better than Criquet’s founders Billy Nachman and Hobson Brown, who scoured vintage stores for inspiration.
“Over the years, a lot of brands became recreations of themselves,” says Nachman. “When we were starting out, we went looking for a vintage-style golf shirt and couldn’t find one. We thought that represented an opportunity.”
The shirts they ended up creating fly in the face of the performance wear trend. They will not make you better at golf and they won’t wick away every bit of sweat. What they will do is look good in a bar thanks to a complimentary cut and hold up over time thanks to the removable collar stays, which allow players to wash the shirts without destroying their structure.
Today, Nachman and Brown, who have been best friends since attending boarding school together, work out of a clubhouse in Austin that boasts a “driving range” (more of a practice net) in the back and will soon have a substantial bar. They admit that their long game hasn’t improved since moving in, but they’ve taken their e-commerce driven business and given it a face. That face, incidentally, belongs to Bill Murray, whose mug is painted across one wall next to that memorable Caddyshack quote, “Gunga Gulunga.” Clearly, the operation is not self-serious, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious business.
“We want to create a sort of country club Patagonia with responsible business practices,” says Brown. “We specifically focused on environmental issues – thus avoiding polyblend, which I can’t stand anyway – because we think guys care about that stuff.”
Guys do care about that stuff, but they also care about looking like their idols. For some, that’s Bubba Watson and Tiger, but for a lot of men it’s still “The Golden Bear” and “The King.” [Shirts from $75; criquetshirts.com]