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THE 19-42 POLO


The story

Early days

The modern game of polo was created and regulated by the British cavalry in 1869, when the 10th Hussars Regiment and the 9th Regiment of Lancers played their first game in England, under the new rules and regulations. In the presence of an enthusiastic crowd, the match was played by competitors who demonstrated great skill and teamwork, resulting in a 3-2 victory to the Lancers Regiment.
British army regiments began playing polo in highly formal apparel. In fact, it is said that the earliest polo matches were played in long-sleeved poplin shirts. The members of the regiments that wore these wore a jersey T-shirt—a military undergarment—underneath.
This paved the way for what eventually became the polo "T-shirt".

The introduction of Numbers

At first, the shirts were plain with no writing or numbers but, after some time, Official and International tournaments made them inevitable. As a result, numbers were deemed necessary and were applied to the front of the shirt. Documents show that high-ranking teams did this.

Tricot and the birth of the Polo Shirt

In the 1920s/30s, many polo teams began using variations of this jersey T-shirt, which gave rise to Knit Cotton Tricot and, soon after, a collar was added, transforming the original T-shirt into the Polo Shirt.

To simplify the jersey/tricot polo shirt, a two-button placket was added on the front to open up the garment and allow the wearer's head to pass through with ease. From here, the Polo Shirt, as well all know it and used by almost all polo teams across the world, was born.

Anyway jersey became a very common fabric in polo as a sport and the 100% cotton jersey polo became very popular due to its comfort and elegant style. For many years, La Martina has developed this iconic fabric, introducing different weights, treatments and characteristics. To set themselves apart from opposing teams, competitors wore shirts in different colours, some were embellished with horizontal or diagonal coloured stripes, and some had a number on the back to indicate the position they played on the field.

Plain Polo Jersey by La Martina: the origins of the 19-42 POLO

When polo-event organisers got in touch with La Martina, they provided all the information required for the shirt design. This included the names of the team, tournament and hosting club, sponsors and the event itself. These were to be made visible on the shirt, which made it difficult to determine where to place the La Martina (the 'Official Supplier' of these events) logo. The answer was actually simple... ...put it just below the button placket.

After some time, due to requests made by polo players throughout the world, La Martina began creating simplified versions of the polo shirt worn in competition, so they could be worn at clubs outside of matches too. The La Martina logo became very popular among players throughout the world and demand surged.


The influence of Polo-Event Organisers on the Polo Jersey

In the '50s, polo matches were a social event. Certain companies in the luxury sector took an interest and began investing in the sport. Simultaneously, companies that organised various sporting events began viewing polo as an excellent means of communication with their customers. Rolex, Hublot, Maserati, Range Rover, Piaget, Moët & Chandon and Royal Salute are just a few.

The appearance of sponsors on the polo field led to the jersey being redesigned from plain and free from graphic details into a garment bearing the sponsor’s name on the breast, the name of the hosting event on the sleeve, and the name of the tournament and player number on the back and sleeve.

The time and the different needs of new events and markets in which La Martina is present have culminated in this ICON garment, with various fabrics like pique being used, and variants of the La Martina logo in different positions and sizes.

Polo equipment

In the '80s, La Martina established itself as a manufacturer of high-quality polo equipment, becoming a famous brand worldwide. It made boots, saddles, knee pads, helmets and everything else needed for polo, manufacturing these in Argentina to be sold worldwide.

In the '90s, La Martina formed a 'high handicap team' to take part in all the major tournaments in Argentina and, of course, began making shirts for its team. These shirts became renowned for their quality and design to the point where opposing team members at the tournaments began asking to have their shirts designed and made by La Martina as well. In the mid-'90s, La Martina was selected by the F.I.P. - Federation of International Polo - as the Official supplier for all teams participating in the Polo Word Championship.

The Argentine Polo Association, other international institutions, clubs, and universities like Harvard, Yale and Oxford are just some of the organisations that rely on La Martina to design and create technical polo equipment and shirts.