Polo: one of the most ubiquitous brands in the world today. Since its humble beginnings with founder Ralph Lauren (then Ralph Lifshitz) making ties by hand in 1967, the lifestyle brand with the iconic horse and rider logo has grown to become a worldwide phenomenon. Establishing deep roots in many different subcultures and with many different sects of people, Polo is unquestionably on the shortlist of the greatest American brands of all time. From clothes to home goods to cologne, they do it all, and few others can do it at their level.
Over their 50-plus years of existence, many a Polo piece has reached grail status, but one of their most iconic and highly sought-after items in their extensive history is the “Snow Beach” jacket, originally released in 1993 as part of the Polo Sport sub-line. The Snow Beach collection was desirable immediately out of the gate as it was initially released in limited quantities, but when Raekwon wore the iconic pullover jacket in the video for Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple,” it became a piece of cultural history (skip to 1:04 in the video to see for yourself), both for hip-hop heads and Polo lovers around the world.
At the time, bright, standout Polo pieces were the outfit du jor for stylish street kids in New York (what Supreme is today is how Polo was in the 90’s), and Raekwon’s Snow Beach jacket became one of the most standout items from the standout brand almost overnight. The “Lo-Lifes,” a group from Brownsville (a neighborhood in Brooklyn) who were infamous for stealing valuable Polo pieces from department stores championed the loud, in-your-face look, and all Polo everything became the dominant hip-hop style in New York for the better part of the 90’s. Polo had the streets on lock, and if you had it on you had to be tough … as there was no shortage of Lo-Lifes who were willing to rob you for your clothes if you looked like an easy lick.
And today colorful Polo pieces are still as hot as ever, due to street culture’s continuing obsession with all things vintage. On the 25th anniversary of the jacket’s orignial release in 1993, Ralph Lauren has announced that the entire “Snow Beach” collection will be making a return to market, both in their original bright colors (dropping on January 25th) and a brand-new black and white capsule collection (dropping on February 1st) as well. Over two decades later, the jacket and the brand are still as relevant as they ever were, and now it’s time for their victory lap.
The legendary jacket isn’t the only piece in the Snow Beach collection, as it also included a hooded rugby shirt, bucket hat, poncho, and pullover (all of which are also re-releasing) … but it is far and away the most iconic. Every so often, a piece of clothing transcends borders and boundaries, and becomes indicative of a lifestyle, and the Snow Beach jacket has done just that. Raekwon started the wave, the Lo Lifes gave it a second wind, and the lore and nostalgia behind the jacket has kept it at the forefront of street culture even now, 25 years after its original release.
As the jacket is one of the most valuable aftermarket Polo pieces of all time, reselling for almost four figures as far back as the early 00’s when the resell market as we know it today was even a thing, the re-release is a big moment for hip-hop and street fashion. A new generation now has the chance to learn about and fall in love with one of Polo’s most esteemed pieces of all time. Some OG Lo-Lifes may be salty about the iconic pieces releasing again (and even more salty about the black-and-white versions) but they might want to remember one thing: fashion always moves in circles, and the youth need to be interested in something for it to remain hot.
Will the re-release of the Snow Beach jacket be true to the original? We’ll see. Will it boom on the resell market? Without a doubt. Will we still be interested in the Snow Beach collection in another two and a half decades? There’s a damn good chance.
What do you think of Polo re-releasing the iconic Snow Beach jacket? Are you a fan of the design, or do you think it’s overhyped? Are you planning on copping one for yourself? Sound off in the comments or hit us up and let us know on Twitter!