Paris Polo Club is Keeping the Lo Head Flex Alive
‘Superfans’ is a three-part series that shines a light on life-long Polo Ralph Lauren collectors around the world. First, we met Tokyo barber Dak Nishiyama, then New York collector Stalker Ltd. For the final chapter, we head to Paris.
When you think of Polo Ralph Lauren, you think of the Lo Lifes, and you think of New York. Lo Life culture emerged from the neighborhoods of Brooklyn in the late ‘80s, but the impact it left on the brand with the polo player lives on, not just in the city that birthed it but in all corners of the world.
In Paris, it’s through the Paris Polo Club, a community of hip-hop DJs, rappers, producers, dancers, and graffiti artists who share a passion for the Polo brand. DJ Fresh (aka Fresh’Lo crib) and graffiti artist Rolex UV TPK founded the community 12 years ago, drawing on their personal connections with the New York Lo Lifes to instill the cornerstone Lo Life values of love and loyalty among the group.
“To me, Ralph Lauren in Paris represents the Lo Life community, who reappropriated rich people’s way of dressing, recontextualizing it within hip-hop culture,” shares DJ Fresh. Like many growing up in France in the ‘90s, he was first exposed to Ralph Lauren through TV. “I discovered the brand through American rap music videos, everyone wore Ralph Lauren in them. It was the peak era of the Polo.”
Before the commercialization of the internet, music videos carried a lot of weight. Not only were they one of the main ways of discovering new music, but they were also one of the few opportunities for artists to give fans an insight into who they were and what they stood for. As hip hop and rap exploded in the ’90s, kids sipping Coke in living rooms around the world watched MTV and discovered Polo Ralph Lauren as the brand beloved by the artists they worshipped.
The association is still so strong today that for newer members, like Anaïs Lawson, the collective nostalgia around Polo in hip-hop culture was enough to spark her passion. “Over the years, my relationship with Ralph Lauren has intensified. In the beginning, I only had a few pieces, basics, but my boyfriend later introduced me to all the SnowBeach collections, which for me recall ‘90s rap music.” Beyond its musical associations, what resonates with Anais is how it embodied the American dream: “I particularly love Ralph Lauren because it’s a success story, and everyone loves success stories. It is the story of someone who came out of nowhere and managed to build an empire.”
Other Paris Polo Club members, like Junior, were introduced to the American brand by family. “My first memory of Ralph Lauren is of my brothers and sisters wearing polos. That’s how I discovered the brand,” says Junior. “Then the first piece I bought was a tracksuit from Polo Sport, which I still love a lot. I only bought more low-key pieces at first, like polos and tracksuits, but then I began to buy more unique, bolder pieces, including some from the Stadium collection. My all-time favorite piece is a jacket from the Stadium Collection, that has a lot of people doing various sports on it.”
To keep the collective spirit alive, the Paris Polo Club gets together regularly to talk about new releases, cherished pieces, and hold reunions and photoshoots of their collections. While they all have their own personal reasons for collecting, they are united in the unwavering commitment to the Polo, and to look as fresh and distinguished as possible. “I am still as addicted to Ralph Lauren as I was at the start,” laughs DJ Fresh.
Discover the Polo Shirt collection here.