The True Story of How A Taxidermy Penguin Landed On This Iconic Polo Shirt

Drinks were involved.
IMAGE Penguin

Origin stories, whether real or a little embellished, help establish the magic of a brand. Some underline the power of an ingredient like how a face-saving water has been developed from a particular yeast because the hands of the old women who brewed it remained youthful and wrinkle-free.

Others make a play for the heart like how a footwear company was established after a sojourn to an exotic location turned into a lesson about need (the locals did not have shoes). 

Or they can be just funny and a little macabre. Take the embroidered bird on the Original Penguin polos. The tie-wearing creature can be traced back to a taxidermy penguin bought from a Manhattan shop that was stumbled upon after making a wrong turn.

The buyer, one salesman Abbot Pederson, acquired Pete the Penguin (he named it!) because he wanted a drinking buddy on his flight, but while up in the air—and after a few on-flight drinks—the salesman knocked off his companion's head.


So what do you do when a dead bird loses its head? A savvy flight attendant, who we think went beyond the call of duty, secured the lopped off head to the body with a tie. And that's how the flightless bird become the symbol—and name—of the American clothing brand. The Pete Logo was first embroidered on golf shirts and then propelled to OG status when the bicep-hugging piece of clothing, now the Earl Polo, was worn by Clint Eastwood, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin.

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It is the throwback appeal that makes the Earl Polo one of the iconic styles (and probably the most popular) of Original Penguin. More specifically, the contrasting outline on its collar, placket, and sleeves, the slimmer proportion that elongates the body's line, and, yes, the little penguin on the left pocket are what make the casual shirt singular and wanted. Wearing this is like putting on a youthful cool, as if you stepped out of a picture-perfect postcard from the '50s or '60s, the era when Penguin was born. 

Today, the company, which just opened a new shop in Power Plant Mall, continues this playful attitude, not just with its must-have polos, but also with a full collection that emphasizes a clash of references. 


Through clothes that mimic DIY and personalization, Penguin declares that wrong is right, anti-taste is cool, and being different is really okay. In zip-up jackets and rainbow T-shirts, sports references from the ’80s are mashed together with the beach lifestyle of the ’90s, creating something hectic, graphic, and fun.

These are the perfect complements to the classic Earls. We're sure Pete would approve.

Power Plant Mall, +632932 511 2346,

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