Ralph Lauren's Earth Polo Is Back And Better Than Ever
They grow up so fast. It seems like only yesterday Ralph Lauren unveiled the Earth Polo, its sustainability-minded take on the classic RL polo, to the world. In reality, that was a full two years ago, when just a few colors of the style were introduced. And while we loved it from the jump—and celebrated the considerable expansion of the collection last year—this year's collection is the biggest and best yet.
There are now a whopping 20 different color options, ranging from French Blue to French Turquoise, Sailing Orange to Orange Flash. Navy? There are two different iterations! White? Yep, but don't forget Trophy Cream. And definitely don't forget Stuart Green, a hero color for a shirt designed to be kinder to Mother Earth if ever there was one. Or, to put it another way: If you can't find a color you love in this collection, there's a decent chance you don't actually love color at all. And aesthetics are only the start of the story. Here's why the Earth Polo deserves a spot in your closet.
There are, on average, 12 recycled bottles in each Earth Polo.
It's not just a name.
I know. I know. No one wants to hear about how much damage their one little water bottle is doing to the planet. Well, here's the good news: I'm not here to lecture, and even if I were, that ain't the right lecture to give. Individual choices matter, but far more important are institutional ones. Yes, you should probably opt for tap water when you can, but the truth is that your choice is a drop in the proverbial bucket. Don't let that dishearten you. Because the Earth Polo is much, much bigger than that. Each shirt is made from an average of 12 recycled plastic bottles, uses no water in the dyeing process, and—even bigger!—they're all part of a bigger push on RL's part to use 170 million plastic bottles in its products by 2025. (And that's in addition to initiatives like working to send zero waste to landfills by 2023, and reducing total water use by 20 percent across the distribution and value chain by 2025.)
All the smart, stylish details you’d normally expect from RL? They’re there, too.
It's a damn good shirt.
This kind of goes without saying, but I'm gonna say it anyway: Ralph kiiiinda rocks at making polo shirts. Shocking? Not at all. But it's still a huge bonus when it comes to, you know...buying a polo shirt. I mean, hell: It's right there in the name. You think Polo Ralph Lauren would go and screw up a polo? Pish, and, for good measure, posh. No way. So if you're looking for a just-right fit (not too tight, but tailored enough to flatter nearly every body type), you've come to the right place. And if you want an eminently poppable (if you're into that sort of thing) collar that also happens to look great sitting under a sport coat or cardigan, you're in luck. I could go on. But you know the deal, so I won't.
By working with First Mile, Ralph Lauren is helping create a more sustainable supply chain.
There's a very real human element, too.
Ralph Lauren isn't the only company in the mix when it comes to the Earth Polo. The brand has partnered with First Mile to make it happen. And here's where the human element comes in. First Mile works with entrepreneurs in low-income communities who collect recyclable plastic bottles that eventually become the fabric that creates the Earth Polo. That means less plastic waste in oceans and landfills, more opportunity in places that really need it, and a supply chain that's mindful of the people in it and designed to actually benefit them in the long run. It should be the norm, but it's not, so every little bit really does help. Am I telling you that you'll automatically get a little "Do Gooder" pin when you put on an Earth Polo? Nope. But you'll still have done some good, and that's what matters.
Photography and prop styling by Allie Holloway and Timothy Mulcare
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.