Luke Wilson is taking a laid-back approach to celebrity branding in the fashion business.Known for his affable, easygoing persona on the big screen in movies such as "Old School," "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" and "The Royal Tenenbaums," the actor has linked with Criquet, a golf apparel line based in Austin, Tex., as a minority investor and brand ambassador. Following in the footsteps of Pharrell Williams at G-Star Raw and Miranda Kerr at Kora Organics, he's the latest celebrity to go beyond being the face of a brand.The 45-year-old Texas native, who is an avid golfer, has become accustomed to his new role. Last June, he pulled the black polo shirt that Criquet first gave him in 2011 to wear on national television in an interview with "The Today Show." Three months later, at New York Fashion Week, he sported a striped version from the company at a dinner hosted by Grace Coddington and Calvin Klein."We like to say our shirt is a high-performance shirt for the 19th hole, whether it is a bar or a place where you're most at ease with your friends," said Hobson Brown, Criquet's cofounder, who also heads marketing.While fashion designers may chuckle at the suggestion that New York Fashion Week is the 19th hole of a golf course, Wilson said he looks forward to contributing to Criquet's story in a position humorously titled assistant pro.“I have always been a huge fan of Criquet Shirts’ vintage, classic look and I really love the 19th hole spirit behind the brand," he said. "They have managed to capture the laid-back vibe that is unique to Austin and created a product that I can take from the golf course to the set."Founded in 2010 with a predominantly online business, Criquet hopes to increase sales to wholesale accounts such as country clubs and specialty stores. It offers only tops, including sweaters, jackets and Texas-made button-down shirts, all retailing for under $150. Its bestseller is the $75 Players shirt made of 100 percent organic cotton, which Wilson had worn out on the town. The plan is to introduce pants next year."Having a high-profile guy like Luke involved is going to help us," Brown said. "When someone walks into a store they can recognize [Criquet] faster and not rely on a salesperson."Criquet's annual sales total less than $10 million, but the target is to reach that mark in the next few years, he said. Its core customer is a 30-year-old man, whom it's been reaching through digital advertising, primarily on Facebook and Instagram. "We could explore some print ads," he said.While Criquet has lucked out in dressing pro football player Carson Palmer and actors Will Ferrell and Matt Bomer, it said Wilson is the best fit."He kind of represents a cool character that has an irreverence to him but he's stylish," Brown said. "He's been in a lot of films that the Criquet guy can quote verbatim."Besides, "to be able to have a celebrity on the team who genuinely likes and wears the product is what we're looking for," added Billy Nachman, the other cofounder who shares a mutual friend with Wilson and became the chief shirt architect after designing houses and buildings. "We're talking to him about doing some video. We'll definitely do some photo shoots."Customers and retailers can get a chance to meet Wilson in late March, when he plans to attend Criquet's party in Austin for the Dell Technologies Match Play, a sold-out tournament featuring the top 64 players on the PGA Tour."We didn't want to force a relationship with a celebrity who doesn't love the product," Nachman said.
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