For those who do not know much about Polo dubbed ‘hockey on horseback,’ I suggest you hang onto your seats as the sport is becoming increasingly well known through the world of fashion. I have always perceived Polo to be rather exclusive and regal in essence due to its prominent association with British heritage and tradition. Evidently, Polo is influencing contemporary fashion which is, indirectly, paving the way for a modern and international revival of the sport highlighting the slogan “Authentically British. Absolutely International.” That said, on Thursday 18th May I attended the launch of HP Active which is the new collection from Hurlingham Polo 1875, the Hurlingham Polo Association’s new sporting and lifestyle brand and the first and only polo brand that is actively engaged with the sport. Along with the brand’s recently launched Essentials range, the HPA presented HP Active at the prestigious Ham Polo Club in Richmond.
There was a champagne reception upon arrival and an opportunity to meet the movers and shakers behind the launch of the collection including Simon Hawkins from The King of Games with whom HP Active has partnered and Fred Mannix, Hurlingham Polo 1875’s first brand ambassador. He is Canada’s highest ranked polo player with a handicap of 8 making him one of the best players in the world. Simon, Fred and another gentleman by the name of Jonathan provided me with insightful knowledge about the brand and its story. I honestly believe that every successful brand has a story to tell hence why HP Active has worldwide appeal. Not only does the HPA, from which HP Active stems, embrace core values of authenticity, integrity and unity the brand is registered as a, not for profit company. Over the past 14 years, it has donated £1.5 million to the Polo Charity which provides support for injured players, for the welfare of ponies and the career development of players in full-time education. Such a wonderful cause and one that encourages you to appreciate the sport even more.
Considering my lack of knowledge of the rules of the game, I was eager to watch the polo match which was part of the itinerary of activities taking place during the event. It was inspiring to see young players on the day including England team members Jack Richardson, ranked among the top four UK players – being the current youngest six-goaler and Tom Morley. HP Active appeals to a younger audience as well as a mature clientele who appreciate authentic and understated style. Overall, the brand conveys a positive message as it advocates general fitness among the younger generation, in particular, on and off the field, encourages a lifestyle balanced with good health and fitness throughout education and our daily routine be it walking, running or cycling to and from work. HP Active makes for a versatile ready-to-wear wardrobe and comfortability all-around especially for those who are physically active. The collection includes polo shirts, hoodies, jackets and gilets factoring in free and easy movement in regards to the generosity of cut and durability of the fabric. The latter includes ‘spandex for 4-way stretch and fit, one-piece underarm gussets for maximum reach and moisture management in the yarns to keep you cool and dry’ – indeed, a quality product made in Britain for a quality lifestyle anywhere in the world. Result!
Just before lunch, I channelled my inner Sunny Hale by attempting to hit a ball with a polo stick on a stationary wooden ‘horse.’ One of the young, professional players said: “I was a natural!” Feeling chuffed, I continued with confidence. In reality, I don’t think I have quite enough physical stamina to challenge anyone to a real game of Polo. Lastly, I had the pleasure of partaking in divot-stomping (perhaps, I should try to avoid three-inch heels next time!).
On the whole, I had such a pleasantly productive day and got to meet some pretty inspiring people in a stunning setting. Furthermore, I attended another polo match over the bank holiday weekend, in which Fred Mannix’s Sommelier team played against Monterosso in the Cartier Queen’s Cup 2017. Like a fine wine, as my knowledge of Polo has matured so has my taste for it!
“This is a unique opportunity to combine raising the profile of this exciting and glamorous sport, with the creation of a new lifestyle brand that like polo has authentically British roots together with a genuinely global reach.” Says Simon Hawkins.
“I’m honoured to represent them – the HPA is the spiritual home of Polo – and I’m delighted to represent a brand with so much heritage and tradition.” Says Fred Mannix.