RALPH LAUREN’S NEW HIGH-TECH POLO DEBUTS AT THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN TENNIS TOURNAMENT

by Christopher Blomquist

Ralph Lauren is introducing its RLX Clarus Polo Shirt exclusively at the 2022 Australian Open Tennis Tournament, which runs in Melbourne January 17-30, 2022.

The new technical top exemplifies the company’s work in both product innovation and sustainability.

The state-of-the-art polo is made with the world’s first high-performance cotton fabric and utilizes a first-to-market patented platform to transform virgin and recycled cotton in ways that were never before possible. The technology creates enhanced cotton fibers with high- performance attributes, such as quick-drying and moisture management, while still retaining the comfort and breathability of cotton. The resulting material performs similarly to plastic-based synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon but unlike them uses no petroleum-based fossil fuels in its creation. The new textile was developed by Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. (NFW), a sustainable material science startup.

In August 2020 Ralph Lauren took a minority investment in NFW to help scale its patented process and develop first-of-its-kind performance apparel made from natural, sustainable materials. Through this investment, Ralph Lauren looks to expand its own use of recycled cotton, helping to advance its progress toward sustainably sourcing 100 percent of its key materials, including cotton, by 2025 and integrating zero-waste principles across its business.

“Ralph Lauren is known for timelessness – and for more than 50 years being timeless has meant both leaning into our heritage and fostering pioneering innovation. With the introduction of the RLX Clarus Polo Shirt, we are using our most iconic product as a canvas to launch an industry-changing and scalable textile technology –a high-performance apparel product that is created with natural fibers for the first time. We’re proud to build on the brand’s legacy of signature and authentic style, reinvented for the future,” said David Lauren, Ralph Lauren’s Chief Branding and Innovation Officer, in a statement.

To introduce the shirt, the label will host an exhibition tennis clinic at the Australian Open with a tennis legend Sam Groth and Josh Cavallo (pictured above), a professional Australian football player and avid tennis fan who made headlines in October 2021 when he came out as the world’s first openly gay male currently signed professional soccer player. Groth and Cavallo will wear the new RLX Clarus Polo Shirt during the clinic, demonstrating its performance qualities during the peak of the Australian summer heat.

“I’ve been a longtime fan of Ralph Lauren – they’re a classic brand with incredible style and are always pushing boundaries to make really innovative, new products,” said Cavallo in a statement. “As a professional athlete who trains every day, it’s incredible to be able to wear a 100% cotton shirt that is stylish, has superior performance qualities and keeps me comfortable even on the hottest of days – all made with a sustainable spirit.”

After its debut in Melbourne the shirt will be distributed globally and available in additional styles and colors as well as in women’s models. It will retail for $168.

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