At Original Penguin, Come For The Earl Polo, Stay For The Haircut

Now you can do both.
IMAGE Original Penguin

It's not enough anymore that a clothing company offer, well, clothes. Now, it's as important to present an entire lifestyle, the full concept, or the great experience to you, the consumer.

To go with the woven shirts or crispy leather bags or that item of style a label excels in are extensions, from pieces that are sort of related like scents or candles to something totally unexpected like a foray into coffee and burgers or even an entire hotel. 

At the new Original Penguin shop in Power Plant Mall, the American retailer, which is best known for its vintage-style golf shirts, the Earl, introduces its line of pillows and beddings as well as rolling luggages to the local market.

And, oh yeah, there's a barbershop, too.


In Manila, there are barbershops with a tailoring component and retail nooks, but it might just be the first time to see the reverse: a legit clothing store with a barbershop. Actually, according to Ericson Lee, managing director of Anthem Group, the local distributor of Penguin, this in-shop barbershop, House of Handsome (catchy name), is a first for any Original Penguin boutique in the world. Was it hard to convince international HQ to plop a cutting space in the local shop? Not at all as, once the concept was pitched as a daddy-and-I experience much like the daddy-and-I polo shirts of Penguin, it was a go. 


The combination of shirt and hair isn't really a stretch. Every morning, you put on clothes and then fix your hair, whether with a coin-size dollop of pomade and a comb or by just mussing it around with your fingers, so this does feel like a sensible evolution. 

How the barbershop has been executed also makes its presence natural. It's tucked into the far end of the shop, so you'll have to walk through the merchandise and maybe pick up a retro striped T-shirt from the spring collection before settling into one of three barber chairs or, if you're with your toddler, plopping him into an awesome car-shaped chair.

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That House of Handsome is managed by Felipe and Sons is also plus. Cheryl Lee, wife of Ericson and also a managing director of Anthem, shares that they were keen on collaborating with a partner who has the same market as Penguin, and Felipe, one of the upscale barbershops in the country with a style-inclined clientele, fits the bill. Felipe manages Handsome, so expect to the same grooming experience you've come to love from its many locations over here. 

As for the rest of the additions, they possess visual charm and convey levity. The Montana Luggage is a hard-sided roller with a wraparound pattern that mimics a 3D weave (red is best).

An accent pillow with a trio of Pete, the Penguin, bed sheets with little Petes on a field of argyle, or a comforter with bold stripes are also appealing. Get these if you want to take the brand's cheeky flavor into other aspects of your life.



Clothes, of course, are the draw. The young son or the young adult will find Original Penguin a candyland of clothing with its colorblock jackets, rugby shirts, summer-ready shorts, and more of those classic polo shirts.

Older men will find solace in the Earl Polos—more so in the Daddy-O Polos, which do not have the contrast piping detail of the former—as staples of a weekend wardrobe. And for those days when they are open to fun, they can get that one piece of wow clothing here, too. Check out television host Kim Atienza, who, at 51, pulls off a tropical shirt by Penguin very well. 




Here, at the new and nuanced Original Penguin shop, you will come for the iconic polo shirts and stay for the summer buzz cuts. Or you'll do the reverse. Get a cut and shop. Either way, the experience is an excellent proposition. 

Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati

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Clifford Olanday
Editor in Chief, Esquire Philippines
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