Criquet is an Austin, Texas based maker of stylish, high quality golf shirts made with organic fabric. I recently interviewed Billy Nachman and Hobson Brown, the two enterprising young men behind the label, after becoming totally enamored with their wicked cool "Criquet Caddy" videos online:
Ed: Your shirts have the right cut, the right collar, the extended placket, and the perfectly placed pocket. Your website is clean and professional. Your videos are fresh and well-made. Who are you? How are you guys so awesome? Is it an Austin, TX thing?
Hobson: Thanks for the kind words. I'm the dude stabbing Billy with the pitchfork (below). Billy is a trained architect. I've worked e-commerce, advertising, and written some young adult novels. Austin does breed awesomeness, especially in melted cheese and meats, but Billy and I grew up together in NYC and have lived all over. Criquet is a collaboration of two life-long best friends, which is the most awesome part of the whole deal.
Billy: Austin is responsible for some of Criquet's cool, but really, I think the shirts get their awesomeness in their deference to the past greats, the classic Jack and Arnie moments, the friendly rounds between Frank and Dean. Criquet takes its cues from the tried and true, the proven classics, whether it's Ty Webb or Seve Ballesteros. In addition, while Hobson and I grew up together and followed similar tracks through high school, we found ourselves on divergent paths through our college years. I ended up a dirty hippy (although still pretty stylish in my comfort wear) in Eugene, OR, while Hobson pulled out his freshest needle-point belts in preparation for Chapel Hill. The only cross-over articles of clothing in our closets were probably our Patagonia fleeces, which are as appropriate at a drum circle in the woods as an ACC tailgater, and these classic "polos", whose vintage vibe works in both worlds. Austin actually is a place where these two worlds have cohesively collided for a long time, so its the perfect place for Criquet to have been born.
Ed: Austin seems to share Portland's design-savvy culture, where there are so many young, talented people who just seem to get it. Tell me a little about your philosophy regarding golf fashion. Why does even the scrappiest dirtbag rock-and-roller feel comfortable throwing on a teal polo to play golf? It seems to me there is something very peculiar in our collective consciousness regarding golf's preppy past. Are we embracing it ironically or genuinely? Are we just channeling a Gen X love for 1980's Caddyshack?
Hobson: Ahh, Caddyshack, yes. My favorite film. Ty Webb is who we imagine as the ultimate Criquet guy. Smart, funny, irreverent, progressive, probably environmentally-conscious, but wouldn't be caught dead at a drum circle. He's the guy I'd want to be sitting next to at a wedding.
Billy: I think you hit the nail on the head. Some have genuine love for classic preppy, while some people view it with a Caddyshack filter. Our shirts offer a way of "dressing it up" without taking it too seriously. Dirtbags like me can wear a collared shirt, regardless of the color, and not look like a preppy tool. And yes, I'll take credit for the Northwest design saavy and the dirtbag rocker vibe. Hob, step up and accept that you're a "preppy tool".
Ed: Tell me a little about the organic fabric you use. What makes a shirt get better with time instead of worse?
Hobson: The organic fabric we use is super soft, so it's more comfortable than your typical polo. It's also a shirt that you can wear on and off the course. So much golf attire these days is made of performance-based, shiny materials that don't wear well at the 19th hole. Our shirts age well since they combine timeless design with quality construction. Actually, the Criquet prototype was based on a shirt Billy inherited from his grandfather. The idea that his favorite shirt was one he'd inherited set a high bar.
Billy: I like to call it "softy green". It does get better with time, and that is one of the things that we love about cotton. There is no real scientific evidence, as far as I know, that says organic cotton is softer, but everyone says that it is, so that's scientific enough for us.
|Billy and Si in "The Criquet Caddy - Lining Up"|
Hobson: Caddyshack inspired us. Our videos are definitely channeling Ty Webb. In fact, Si is Ty's nephew, and Billy used to Caddy for the Dalai Lama's cousin, Palo. The hope was that they would help us create a Criquet spirit. Our shirts are for guys who may take certain issues seriously (the environment, their job, etc.) but also like to have a good time, and the videos hopefully capture that. Plus, we love the idea of having a "life caddy", too, and your wish may come true. We've been considering a contest where the winner would win a full-time caddy for the weekend. It'd probably be Billy and myself. We are working out the details and legality of this.
Billy: Hob does not know this, but I am secretly writing the screenplay for a full-length feature. No more streaming. We are going to the big screen. Although he does not know it yet, Will Ferrell will be playing Billy to Luke Wilson's Si Webb. Still looking for our D'Annunzio... any suggestions?
Ed: Last question: What was the weather like, and what did you wear when you played Bandon Dunes recently?
Hobson: See pic (below). Yes, that's Sierra Nevada in a can. Delicious.
Billy: We definitely repped Criquet well. However, the focus on style starts to fade once you start your third round of the day. In reality, the only thing that seemed to match in my outfit was my sunburned neck and the color of my shirt.
|Bandon Dunes, 6/2012. Criquet Thin-Striped Players Shirts.|