Fashion Q&A: Sligo goes bold and wins

This is a typical Cinderella story.

Well, if you can envision Cinderella doing business on the 13th hole at a swanky private club just north of the U.S. border in Caledon Village, Ontario.

The story involves four simple guys with a plan to bring vibrant European golf fashion to our side of the pond, with great success.

We had a chance to sit down with director of sales Shawn Aucoin to discuss how the Sligo brand has gained a foothold in North America and the excitement in store for fashionistas this season.

Please tell us the Sligo story. How did it all begin?

The inception of Sligo started in the spring of 2004 following a return home from a pro-am tournament in the Azores, off the coast of Portugal. Seeing the fashion choices available over there compared to what we had in North America, it became apparent we could create something to straddle the two continents.

The name Sligo comes from the 13th hole at Devil’s Pulpit, which is just north of Toronto. This is where all of the original partners in Sligo met.

At the time, two of us were golf professionals and two were members. Sligo started off modestly with a small collection in our first year, stored in our basements. We quickly grew to the garage, and now six years later we’re in our new headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario.

Sligo really made a splash when Brian Gay won at Harbour Town in florescent green pants. Was this when the brand really took off?

Brian’s win at Harbour Town certainly helped to expose the brand to a far wider audience for us. Having such a dominant performance with hours of television coverage not only let the consuming public know about Sligo, but also PGA professionals, retail outlets and distribution companies around the world who are now great partners with us.

Sligo to date has four wins on the PGA Tour and they have all been instrumental in our success.

What is the inspiration behind the bright colors?

From Day 1, the vision of our company was to offer an alternative to the standard color mix that other golf apparel companies offer. The golf course is a place that individuals can have fun and express themselves. A lot of it comes from our own individual and collaborative tastes and styles as a group. We design clothes that we would like to wear. If the partners wouldn’t wear it, then it won’t make it into the collection.

What other players on tour do you have wearing your gear?

We’re excited to have staff player Justin Hicks join the PGA Tour this season after graduating from the Nationwide Tour via the top 25 money list. Justin has worn our gear for two years now and added another Sligo tour victory this past season with his win at the BMW Charity Pro Am event.

Name one player you would you like to see wearing the brand that isn’t already?

I can’t name any one player. However, I know we would like to add a player or two on the European Tour to help us with some exposure over there as our brand fits that market well. We have been fortunate in that we have never recruited a player to wear our gear – all of the requests come direct from the players, so we’ll just keep the phone lines open.

When can we expect a ladies line?

We’re hoping to launch a ladies line in 2012. Our retail partners have been asking for it for a while now and it’s something we are excited about. We think our brand style would fit well with the ladies that like to have fun on the course with their apparel choices.

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Courtesy photo

Sligo features plenty of bold golf fashion options. PGA Tour winner Brian Gay wears Sligo and the company says it will expand into women's fashion in 2012.

What new trends do you foresee for the next golfing season?

Trends you will see this year will be lots of patterned bottom choices along with bold, bright color selections in tops. Performance fabrics in both of these will be front and center as well.

What sorts of exciting things do we have to look forward to this year?

I really think that in the 2011 season you will see golfers wearing far more fashionable golf attire and expressing themselves with it. For years we have seen muted color ways, solid tops and bottoms, which has been the traditional choice of golfers because there was no alternative. We live in a global world and the influences of fashion from around the world have arrived and we’re all the better for it.

We are excited about our 2011 collection. We have expanded our outwear program and our selection in tops and bottoms. This gives our customers countless options when it comes to piecing together outfits, and of course many belt options to tie everything together. You can view the entire collection here.

What is one piece you'd recommend to start the new year with?

I would have to say the perfect Sligo wardrobe addition would be the O’Brien golf shirt. Our best seller, this shirt has just the right amount of fashion influence with great color choices that would suit anyone’s taste.

Lastly, where can we purchase the product?

Sligo is available at finer golf shops across the country along with our off-course retailers Golf Galaxy, Golf Town and PGA Superstore. If we don’t have something near you, we are available online at amazon.com, fairwaystyles.com and our online store at www.store.sligowear.com.

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