The brand was introduced in 1955 by Munsingwear, a Minneapolis-based underwear and military garment store, when it launched the Original Penguin golf-shirt in the United States. Worn by the likes of Richard Nixon, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Arnold Palmer, and Bing Crosby, this golf shirt became a symbol in suburban leisure until well into the 1980s.
The penguin mascot may have come about after a Munsingwear salesman spotted a group of penguins in a New York Taxidermist's window. Before long, "Pete" the penguin became the company logo. In 1996 the brand was bought by Perry Ellis International, and a new sportswear collection was released in Spring 2003.
Original Penguin is sold in numerous upscale and mid-priced department stores such as Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters and David Jones as well as several regional boutiques, country clubs, and specialty stores.
Original Penguin has also established several standalone boutiques across the nation. These boutiques sell clothing by C&C and Levi's jeans as well as Original Penguin apparel. Locations include boutiques at the NorthPark Center in Dallas, Bryant Park in New York City, Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, Fashion Island in Newport Beach, California, Rush Street in Chicago, on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, and on the Asbury Park Beach Boardwalk in New Jersey.
Original Penguin has two central lines :
Original Penguin's Original label consists of clothing and apparel for men, women, and children. It also sells:
Original Penguin's Black Label (also known as Original Penguin Golf) is a men's only line sold at higher price points than Original Label and is more golf-inspired in design.
In the past Original Penguin produced a denim collection beginning April 2005 but as of 2008 Original Penguin has stopped the production of denim collections and instead sells Levi denim within its stores.
Before being bought out by Perry Ellis, Original Penguin was known for its sponsorship of several top golf players of the 1960s and 1970's. Today, Original Penguin continues with its golf heritage and currently sponsors top-20 player Aaron Baddeley.
The brand gained popularity as it was featured on numerous episodes of the former FOX show, "The O.C.". Actor Adam Brody, who played Seth Cohen, frequently wore Penguin clothing. It has also been featured on popular shows such as "My Boys", "Royal Pains", "Heroes", "Gossip Girl","How I Met Your Mother", and "Dirty Sexy Money".