How one Steiff teddy bear created the Never-Ending Polo Bear

How one Steiff teddy bear created the Never-Ending Polo Bear
Image credit: Steiff

Back in the late 80s Ralph Lauren received a special gift – a Steiff teddy bear. He liked it so much, he incorporated into his clothes and created a myth…

The myth of the Never-Ending Polo Bear, as the New York Magazine reminds us. It is an interesting story that shows what influence a stuffed animal can have.

The Steiff teddy bear Ralph Lauren got was from his design team for his birthday. The bear was wearing a Polo getup. Lauren liked it so much, he actually started selling the same teddy bear in his stores.

It turned out that customers also loved them and they were selling very well. Lauren decided to stamp a picture of the toy on his clothes. The first sweater with a teddy bear stamp was released in 1991. Then it was followed by lots and lots of other iterations. Some of them were wearing an American-flag sweater and jeans. Others were wearing a hoodie and holding a basketball. There was something for everybody.

There were so many designs that a legend was born. It claims that there is a sweater which has a knitted Never-Ending bear. This means that there is a stamp of a bear wearing a bear stamped sweater with a bear stamped sweater and so on.

Is there such a thing? Many claim they have seen it or even have it, but no one has ever shown it. Polo-devotee and rapper Mayhem Lauren told Vice in 2011 that it’s almost “mythological.” He said: “Well, supposedly there’s a knit out there with a bear rockin’ a knit with himself on it, and he’s rocking a bear, and it just goes on and on forever. Guys will swear they have three of those but they never bring it out, never rock it for flicks, but supposedly it’s there.”

Brian Procell, a vintage expert and owner of the eponymous East Village shop, says he doesn’t think it’s physically possible for the Never-Ending Bear sweater to have been made. “It’s too complex to render as a knit”, he says. But he doesn’t exclude the possibilty that there might be other items, like a fine china or a silk scarf or tie that could feature such a Never-Ending Bear.

Either way, this myth is born thanks to the love for stuffed animals. They have no dobut brought a lot of exposure for Ralph Lauren as well, so yes, stuffed animals can be good for your business too, and not only for cuddling. Although they are quite nice for cuddling too.