Collars & Co. is not a golf brand, but it’s been embraced by golfers, including Sir Nick Faldo, the esteemed British player who won three Open Championships, three Masters and 41 times on the European tour. Now a CBS golf analyst, in his playing days Faldo was ranked number-one for 97 weeks.
So when Justin Baer, the founder of the direct-to-consumer men’s brand got wind of the fact that Faldo was a fan, he immediately worked to sign him as the first global brand ambassador. As such, Faldo has curated a collection that includes a range of the company’s Dress Collar Polo shirts to wear on or off the course. And the goal is to one day work with Faldo on a signature collection.
What appealed to the golfer is the same thing that has driven Collars & Co. since the beginning. Baer, a serial entrepreneur who has founded a number of software start-ups in his career, was living in New York and loathed the “Midtown uniform” he wore every day: a dress shirt under a sweater. “It was extremely uncomfortable,” he said, made him sweat and required frequent visits to the dry cleaner.
So he set out to come up with an alternative. It took about six months, but he created a polo shirt with a firm collar that looked like a dress shirt and could even accommodate a tie, but made from a breathable, wrinkle-free, machine-washable fabric.
He initially produced 300 shirts and was convinced by his daughter to do a TikTok video to introduce the shirt last year. The shirts sold out in one day. Last month, Baer said, the company sold 12,000 shirts. They retail for $ 64.99 for solids and go up to $ 74 for tattersalls, ginghams and other models.
Collars & Co. has expanded significantly and now offers 150 different patterns in four collar styles: English spread, semi-spread, button-down and cutaway. It has also begun offering sweaters in full zip, V-necks and crew necks, along with a luxe linen collection of shirts blended with cotton to cut down on wrinkling.
Baer believes that Collars & Co. has “struck a nerve with guys looking for stylish, comfortable” alternatives to a traditional dress shirt. And it has also found a place within the world of golf.
“There’s so much more fluidity today with the work / life mix,” he said, “and guys are looking for versatility.”
Baer hopes to continue to expand the offerings on Collars & Co. and is hoping that having Faldo on board as an ambassador with his classic British style will help get that message out.
Baer will test the wholesale waters this summer when he takes the brand to the Chicago Collective in August.
Here, Faldo talks about his new role as ambassador, the golf legends he emulated as a player and what he’d bring to a Collars & Co. collaboration.
WWD: Have you ever been an “ambassador” or worked with other fashion brands in the past?
Sir Nick Faldo: I have been an ambassador for other brands in the past like Pringle of Scotland and even had my own golf apparel line. My past experience within the fashion space has made me appreciate this amazing partnership with Collars & Co. It’s been truly incredible working with the team and being involved with such an innovative brand that is growing so quickly and making a distinct mark on the menswear industry.
WWD: How would you describe your personal style?
NF: Luckily, there are no rules when it comes to style, but I would describe mine as sharp and classic. I like to look smart and feel smart. I don’t necessarily allow my style to be defined by what’s trendy, but by what suits my lifestyle and personality.
WWD: How did you discover Collars & Co.?
NF: I actually saw one of their ads on social media and bought some of their shirts. I was impressed with how Collars & Co. elevated the classic polo shirt by adding its signature collar. I was also drawn to how comfortable and versatile the polo is, not to mention that it feels amazing, and I don’t have to worry about getting it dry cleaned. I immediately became a repeat customer!
WWD: How did you pick your favorites for the collection?
NF: All of Collars & Co.’s Dress Collar Polos offer effortless style and comfort. I chose my favorites based on what really embodies my personal style and makes me feel confident. It is my hope that this translates to all men who shop my collection.
WWD: Do you anticipate ever designing your own line with the company? How would you put your mark on it? What’s missing in golf apparel?
NF: If the opportunity was presented, I would indeed be open to designing my own line with the company. I would put my mark on it by infusing who I am, as a golfer, a knight, and my classic style.
WWD: What do you like better: playing or commenting?
NF: They are both equally fulfilling, but golf has always been my passion. Even now, I would love to still be in the throes of the game and play how I used to. While my career has spanned over two decades, being a commentator is now my main focus.
WWD: When you were playing, you had a reputation as being a pretty serious guy; did you have to change when you became a broadcaster?
NF: When I was playing, I was focused on the business at hand and the golf game. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I had to change, but rather put more of my personality on display. However, I can still come across as being a very serious guy. As a commentator, I have a lot of empathy for the players which comes across on air and I’m also able to display my sense of humor.
WWD: Do you still play?
NF: Yes, I still play once every couple of weeks, but I generally practice a lot more. I still like to go down and hit balls for an hour or so as much as I can.
WWD: Who did you admire or try to emulate when you were starting out?
NF: When I first started out, I always looked up to Jack [Nicklaus]Arnold [Palmer], Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf. Those are the guys I really loved copying.
WWD: What is your proudest accomplishment around the game of golf?
NF: My proudest moment was probably going to St. Andrews in 1990 because I was really on a mission. I just missed out on the US Open and I went to The Open on a mission to win – and I did. We’ll be going back there this year for the 150th anniversary, so it’s very cool.