AUGUSTA, GA -- IZOD never left the game of golf but the clothier of choice of reigning U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson wants the Rickie Fowlers of the world to sit up and take notice as it kicks its 2013 campaign into overdrive this week at the Masters.
“We’re hitting the ground [with a new, youthful take on fashion]...at the oldest, most staid, most traditional event in golf,” Michael Kelly, executive VP for marketing of IZOD’s parent company, PVH Corp., told SBNation last week.
Viewing the fairway as “the runway of fashion,” Kelly noted that IZOD’s collection of colorful menswear for the course fit in well with the game’s fitness trend.
“Being slim is in, being fit is in,” he said. “All of a sudden, men are willing to wear red pants and they’re even willing to wear that on the street....They have more confidence in themselves, their athleticism, and in their fashion.”
Simpson and IZOD’s other PGA Tour players, Scott Piercy and Spencer Levin, want to show off their threads, but wearing the appropriate attire can boost their games as well, as Masters rookie Piercy can attest.
“If you feel good and you look good, or at least you feel like you look good, it kind of gives you a little bit of swag and confidence, that today’s going to be a good day,” said Piercy, who will make his inaugural appearance at the Masters, thanks to his 2012 Canadian Open victory. “If your pants are too tight, or your shirt doesn’t fit, or you feel like you can’t swing, it gets you started out on the wrong foot and you never need that.”
As part of IZOD’s efforts to reach young men via non-traditional avenues, Piercy created his own Twitter account at the same time that IZOD corporate began a serious social assault. In addition to staging the IZOD Social Hub, a 600-square-foot studio featuring 27 screens and live Twitter feeds that’s located about a fairway wood’s shot from Augusta National during Masters week, the company will host a Wednesday night “coming-out party” in conjunction with Maxim Magazine
IZOD also debuted a snappy new TV commercial that began airing on NBC during the PGA Tour’s Florida swing last month.
“We’re telling the fashion world we’re serious about this,” Kelly said. “We’re really charging to the front.”
The company’s efforts, which got underway at the PGA Merchandise Show in January, are paying off, as Golf Digest’s Mr. Style could not help but notice the “clean” and “fit” new looks Simpson and Piercy donned during the tour’s Sony Open.
As for what Simpson and Piercy will wear this week, Kelly said designers made that decision as long ago as August. They keep a special eye on the expected weather and work hard to ensure the players don’t show up in the same outfits on the same day.
“They’re conscious of climate and temperature, so they’re thinking about what [the golfers] are going to need based on the tour dates,” Kelly said.
Most important for IZOD as it rebrands itself as the golf-wear choice of the young and trendy is to get the message across that this is not your father’s clothier.
“There’s a real confidence in color today,” said Kelly. “I hope that when [consumers] think of IZOD, they think of a brand that’s constantly staying in touch with that next generation of young Americans.” -- Live from the IZOD Social Hub