If there’s one thing that new clothing brands in golf have in common, it’s their ability to disrupt players’ long held beliefs about what they should wear on the golf course.
For many, the traditional golf uniform was long considered a pair of khaki pants and an ill-fitting, cotton polo. As more performance-based fabrics were introduced to the sport, those same articles of clothing took on a different feel, but the styles remained the same.
Malbon Golf was founded in 2017 by Erica and Stephen Malbon in hopes of inspiring more juniors to take up the game. When they caught the attention of celebrities like Justin Bieber and Travis Scott, their popularity exploded.
The Los Angeles based company, which has a brick and motor store on Fairfax Avenue that features a golf simulator, also sells product on their website. Their logo is a golf ball that has two swirls for eyes and wears different hats. It’s featured on Malbon products ranging from polos, to hats, to headcovers to high top golf shoes.
There’s a throwback vibe that evokes a sense of coolness that hasn’t been seen in golf. That theme runs throughout Malbon’s designs. In addition to trucker hats, they sell a variety of t-shirts, including one with the text of the 1976 Malbon Golf Invitational emblazoned across the chest. It comes in a variety of colors including a mustard hue with blue text and there is also a teal version with the design in pink and yellow. They’re $48. A burgundy tracksuit reminiscent of the one wore by Ray Liotta in Goodfellas can also be purchased on their website. The jacket and pants are priced separately. The ensemble is $277.
The Malbons have taken a unique approach in designing not only their own apparel and accessories, but also partnering with some of the biggest manufacturers in the sport like Ecco, Nike and Oakley, to add their own unique spin.
While most of Malbon’s designs are for men, Foray Golf is all about the women’s game. And while Malbon has taken a page from the past in their designs, Foray draws inspiration from what is on trend right now.
“Everything trickles down so late to the sport, I think it’s an afterthought,” said Megan LaMothe, Founder and CEO of Foray Golf. “That for me was the aha moment when we started the brand.”
LaMothe saw a void in the market and seized the opportunity to infuse a bit of high fashion into an industry starved for a bit of style. The former Director of Design Operations at Victoria’s Secret founded Foray Golf in New York City in 2016. Being based in one of the fashion capitals of the world means walking down the street on any given day can be a source of inspiration. Everything from a pop-up shop with a fortune teller in Soho, to jewelry shops, have influenced her designs.
“That’s the creative stuff you have to be aware of,” LaMothe said.
One of her newest designs features a navy skirt with constellations, moons and stars. It’s called Mercury Rising. It pairs beautifully with a matching navy, long-sleeved collared polo that looks more like it belongs on a runway than a fairway. Ina Kim-Schaad, the 2019 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, is a fan of the brand and wore Mercury Rising when she won. It’s also a design that the LPGA’s Bronte Law regularly wears on Tour. While the price point is higher relative to golf, it’s not compared to the ready to wear market. The Mercury Rising skirt is $160 and the polo is $150. The coordinating jacket is $250.
But the pieces are worth the investment.
Raw materials are created in Italy and are exclusive to Foray. They can’t be replicated or found anywhere else. LaMothe describes the fabric as a nylon, Spandex, flat weave. It doesn’t cling, hugs in all the right places, and keeps women dry while also providing an SPF. All pieces are multiple times before being manufactured and each item is independently adjusted depending on its color or print in order to fit the same size. Also, pieces can be intermixed between collections since all colors are consistent throughout.
“The science, rigor and matrix of it all is there,” LaMothe said. “We’re absolutely militant.”
On the horizon for Foray in 2021 is an item even the most discerning shopper will appreciate. In the works is a Chanel inspired jacket that can be worn everywhere, especially on the golf course. That is the standard by which they judge all their designs. If can’t be worn on the course, it doesn’t make the collection.
“No one else can do what we’re doing,” said LaMothe. “We’ve seen this tremendous response because we’ve hit the trend right. Given the product that’s not replicable, for that price point, it’s not even close.”