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Polo was founded in 1976 by Gordon Joffe along with two former Monatic executives, Ronnie Lange and Freddie Barnet, and Stuart Shub from Rex Trueform.
Gordon Joffe had previously headed the shirt division at Monatic, and then became the driving force behind the Polo brand. Gordon was passionate about mens’ shirts and sought to be ‘the country’s quality lounge shirt producer’. (1)
His factory L’uomo in Lansdowne produced the first Polo shirts with the trademark square button. The Polo shirt soon became synonymous with the best of quality.
The Polo factory became a leading manufacturer of shirts in South Africa, also producing for prominent local brands.
In 1978, Gordon expanded his production and started manufacturing shirts for international brands, amongst these Christian Dior and Lanvin. He also exported Polo shirts internationally to the UK and Switzerland.
In 1979 the business expanded its production line to further the menswear collection, and soon after Polo womenswear and new product categories followed, cementing the brand as a lifestyle brand.
In 1998, the ‘Polo and Pony’ trademark was purchased by the LA Group (Pty) Ltd who continues to build on the legacy and development of the brand further into the SA Market.
Polo now employs a vast array of specialist designers, buyers, planners, merchandisers and a procurement team that delivers seasonal collections of menswear, womenswear, kid’s apparel, homeware and accessories.
Polo is sold in Polo flagship stores, leading department stores and selected independent stores in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
1 Foot note: The Cape Times Business Report, February 20, 1976