Izod (officially stylized as IZOD) is a clothing company that produces dressy-casual clothing, sportswear for men, as well as footwear and accessories. It is part of PVH. It is perhaps best known for its short-sleeved piqué polo shirt, formerly produced by Lacoste and featuring the Lacoste crocodile on the left breast, now replaced with a color-matching/coordinating crest and left sleeve embroidery. One variation is the "IZ" patch instead of crest. This shirt, along with Ralph Lauren Polo, was popular in the 1970s and '80s among the preppy and Mod sets. Other Izod classics include the Harrington jacket G-9 model, also v-neck & cardigan sweaters. Today, the Izod brand competes with other similarly-priced brands such as Ralph Lauren's Chaps brand and U.S. Polo Assn..
In the late 1930s, Vincent De Paul Draddy, an American businessman employed by David Crystal Co., needed a strong name to associate with his quality merchandise for menswear. While vacationing with his family in London, he encountered Jack Izod's tailoring boutique. Izod (himself a well-respected tailor) produced bespoke shirts and created the Windsor tie-knot for King George V, but was ready to retire, and accepted Draddy's offer to purchase the rights to his distinctive name. The A.J. Izod of London clothing company was introduced to the USA in 1938.
Izod of London would become most notable for its pairing with the Lacoste shirt company from 1952 to 1993. Vincent Draddy began to license the Lacoste shirt to add prestige to the Izod line, but he couldn't find a market for the then-expensive $8.00 retail price. After Draddy began giving the shirts away to his famous friends, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bing Crosby, Daniel Platt, and John F. Kennedy, the shirts soon became popular with department stores. "Izod of London" became a brand known simply as "Izod Lacoste". While the shirts were equally Izod and Lacoste, they became abbreviated and popularized as "Izod" shirts (which led to the ongoing misunderstanding that the famous "Crocodile" is the "Izod" trademark.)
In 1964, Bernard Lacoste took over the management of the company. Significant company growth was seen under Bernard's management. When he became president, around 300,000 Izod Lacoste products were sold annually. The Izod Lacoste brand reached its height of popularity in the US during the late 1970s and became the signature 1980s "preppy" wardrobe item, mentioned in the Official Preppy Handbook. The company also began to introduce other products into their line including shorts, perfume, optical and sunglasses, tennis shoes, deck shoes, walking shoes, watches, and various leather goods.
In 1977, Le Tigre Clothing was founded in an attempt to directly compete with Izod Lacoste in the US market, selling a similar array of apparel, but featuring a tiger in place of the signature Lacoste crocodile. Also, During this period Izod's parent, Crystal Brands, came under the management of General Mills, and purchased the Gant U.S.A. brand.
During the early 1990s, Izod Lacoste struggled to maintain the market dominance it had enjoyed in previous decades. The initial reaction from Crystal Brands was to separate the two names and target two groups of customers at once; "Izod" was re-introduced as moderate pricepoint apparel in department stores, while Lacoste was renamed "Lacoste Chemise", and re-positioned as a luxury lifestyle brand. Eventually this tactic did not provide the financial gain Crystal had hoped and the license partnering ended in 1993. Sportloisirs S.A. purchased the Lacoste brand entirely in 1993, while Izod was sold to Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation in 1995.
PVH repositioned and restored some of Izod's previous relevance while introducing a number of products lines and brands. Complete with an Izod "crest" logo, or patch. In addition to its sportswear, Izod designs a full range of men's suits, shirts, neckties, shoes, outerwear and fragrances, and continues to produce its famous polo shirts. Currently, within the PVH corp. the Izod branded shirt has become part of the biggest shirt company in the USA.
On January 7, 2015 parent company Phillips-Van Heusen announced that it would be closing all 120 Izod retail outlets due to an increasing competitive environment driven by more premium brands in the outlet retail channel. This move will not affect Izod's growing wholesale business to department stores and other retailers. Izod no longer makes and sells women's clothing.
Since Izod's first brand, Izod, was launched in 1938, it has grown considerably to include a variety of essential and luxury brands.
- Izod Classix: Izod's brand for men and women, and also the most widely available. Izod with a 'blue label' spans from tailored clothing, sportswear, activewear, and fragrances, to leather goods. Available at many department and as well as Izod outlet stores.
- Izod Luxury Sports: Izod's 'red label' premium sportswear brand for men, with premium fabrics and finer attention to detail; such as name embroidery. As with the 'blue label' Luxury Sports spans from tailored clothing, sportswear, activewear, and accessories, to leather goods. Available exclusively at premium department stores.
- Izod Jeans: Denim basics and weekend sportswear from the Izod line, offered at some department stores.
- Izod PerformX: A high-tech sports collection aimed at winter sport gear, golfers, swimming, and IndyCar. Often featuring lightweight microfibers and super pima cottons.
In the United States, as of 2016, most IZOD products are available at JCPenney, Kohl's, and Belk stores, and is also sold by online retailer Amazon.com. Select Macy's stores also carry IZOD products, with some locations only carrying the golf line and others carrying a larger variety of IZOD products.
The former Continental Airlines Arena, in New Jersey, United States was renamed the Izod Center as of October 31, 2007, the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets' season opener. The company paid $1.4 million per annum for the naming rights during the first two years of the agreement, while the Nets remained tenants, which dropped to $750,000 per year for the balance of the five-year deal.
In 2009, Izod became the official apparel provider of the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights Series. Izod produces T-shirts, polos, pullovers, hats, and umbrellas for league and team officials and the general public.