Luke Wilson on His Partnership with Austin's Criquet Shirts and His Favorite Spot to Hang out in the City

By Kathy Blackwell | September 28, 2017 | People Feature

Affable actor Luke Wilson links up with Austin’s Criquet Shirts for a partnership made in fairway heaven.

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Meet you at the 19th hole: Luke Wilson, an avid golfer, is now the brand ambassador and a stakeholder in Austin’s Criquet Shirts, which, despite its laid-back vibe, is one of the leaders in the current preppy-chic fashion wave.

Wearing an old, faded shirt on national TV might not be the best fashion strategy, but for actor Luke Wilson, it turned out pretty well. On a press tour last year, the Dallas native, known for roles in movies such as The Royal Tenenbaums, Idiocracy and Old School, was down to just one clean shirt, a soft, battered old friend made by Austin’s golf-inspired Criquet Shirts. “It was just like your favorite T-shirt that you’ve washed a couple hundred times,” says Wilson. His appearance on the Today show caught the eye of Criquet co-owners Billy Nachman and Hobson Brown. “They thought, jeez, we need to get this guy some new shirts,” Wilson remembers with a laugh.

The box of fresh Criquet shirts Wilson received the next day was the beginning of a natural partnership. The actor is now the brand ambassador, and a stakeholder (fun official title: Assistant Pro), in the laid-back company started in 2010 by Nachman and Brown, whose friendship dates back to their kindergarten days at Manhattan’s Buckley School. One of the leaders in the revival of preppy fashion, Criquet relishes its irreverent, clubhouse vibe, focusing more on the 19th hole (aka the bar) than the more challenging ones that precede it.

“I admire people who start their own business and work together closely,” says Wilson. “It reminds me of what my dad [Dallas TV pioneer Robert Wilson, who passed away in May] did, or like how Owen and Wes Anderson are working together,” he says, referring to the partnership between his brother and the iconic indie filmmaker. Always protective of one of his favorite cities, Wilson also respects how Criquet has stayed true to Austin. “They have great taste and tied it into Austin before the town really exploded the way it has now, where sometimes you almost feel like people are trying to exploit the town. They genuinely love Austin.”

Wilson enjoys playing golf wherever he’s filming, not only as a way to get to know a new city, but to get a break from the industry for a few hours. Locally, his favorite place to play is the Austin Golf Club in Spicewood. “It’s a classic, simple design by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore—no fake waterfalls,” praises Wilson.

Tee time can be hard to come by for the busy actor, who recently wrapped the film Arizona with Danny McBride (Eastbound & Down) and has a supporting role in the Ben Stiller college-tour comedy Brad’s Status, which premiered at September’s Toronto Film Festival. This fall, Wilson heads to Atlanta to film a “dark buddy comedy” with Tracy Morgan. The movie is written and directed by Austin rising star Macon Blair, whose debut, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Wilson will try to make it back to Austin to catch a UT football game as well as the ACL Music Fest, co-founded by close friend Charles Attal of C3 Presents. A major music lover—he got to indulge his inner superfan by working with industry legends on Cameron Crowe’s Showtime series Roadies last year— Wilson would love to catch the set by Willie’s son, Lukas Nelson and his band, Promise of the Real (see our Look Who’s Talking piece, “The Full Nelson”). “I’ve known Lukas since he was 10,” says Wilson.

Like many who have witnessed Austin’s explosive evolution over the last few years, Wilson has mixed feelings. “It’s just something that happens to places like Aspen in the 1960s and ’70s, which was paradise, and then people discover it, and it gets hard for people to live there,” he says. “I’ll be at Güero’s and look out on the street, and I’ll wonder what’s going on because it’s packed. But that’s just the way the town is now.”

Wilson adds: “Being around Texans was something I always found comforting. Now it’s just that classic thing where no one is from there anymore. You have to have a positive attitude and remember that the parts of Austin that we love are still there.”

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Categories: People Feature

Photography by Matt Lankes