Mark Wahlberg’s Clothing Brand Municipal Swings Into Retail With First Store

The crowd was loud and the vibe was upbeat as people packed into the new Municipal store in West Hollywood, showcasing the performance wear brand cofounded by Mark Wahlberg and colleagues nearly four years ago.

Everyone was eager to talk to Wahlberg, the consummate entrepreneur and eternally buff actor who still gets up at 3:45 a.m. to work out and lives near a golf course outside of Las Vegas where he is a regular on links.

Nearby was Harry Arnett, one of Municipal’s cofounders and the brand’s chief executive officer, who has years of apparel and golf equipment experience to carry the brand forward.

This is the label’s first permanent brick-and-mortar following Municipal a seven-month-long pop-up that opened last November at New York City’s Hudson Yards.

The new outpost at 8609 Melrose Avenue is filled with men’s performance wear that can also double as casual clothes for a day at the office or informal social occasions. In the middle of the 1,100-square-foot location, decorated with white walls and black fixtures, is a small olive tree with a golf bag standing next to it — a preview of the golf gear the company will be offering later this year.

Performance wear is just one component of the label founded nearly four years ago to create athleticwear for many occasions. Golf wear is another aspect introduced in April and is all important. Golf is what got Wahlberg and Arnett together. The two first met 15 years ago on a golf course in Carlsbad, Calif., the San Diego suburb where Arnett was working for a golf equipment and clothing company.

Municipal store 07-24

The new Municipal store in West Hollywood.

Courtesy: Municipal

Fast forward several years and the two started talking about forming their own brand. “I had done collaborations and partnerships in the past with Nike and Adidas, but I always wanted to do my own brand,” said Wahlberg, wearing a white short-sleeve Municipal ringer T-shirt and dark shorts. “I was talking to multiple people about that and then I connected with Harry.”

In 2019, after brainstorming, the brand was born. But development soon screeched to a halt when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, causing the venture’s financing to fall through. Fortunately, more financing was found and by July 2020, Municipal was off and running again with its athletic and performance wear. “We not only wanted to make the best products in the world, but we also wanted to allow folks to afford it,” said Arnett, who for several years worked for Topgolf Callaway Brands.

That meant high-quality fabrics with affordable price points that range from $30 to $180. Clothing styles include T-shirts, tanks, polos and sweatshirts as well as underwear, pants, shorts and outerwear. When Wahlberg two years ago bought part of StreetTrend LLC, a global brands company that focuses on footwear, he suggested Municipal introduce athletic shoes. “I said, ‘Guess what? We’re in the shoe business,’” Wahlberg recalled telling his colleagues.

Last year, Municipal rolled out Origin, a sneaker that sells for $180 and has its own proprietary comfort technology. This year, the Origin slider debuted for $89. Later this year, Origin will introduce a sneaker-line extension and an all-terrain running shoe.

And more developments are in the works. This fall, grooming products will be released including a line of shaving cream, after shave, moisturizer, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hand lotion. A womenswear line has debuted, and golf bags will be making an appearance soon. At the beginning of 2025, eyewear will be introduced.

On the retail front, expansion plans are big. Arnett believes brick-and-mortar retail is the way to grow the brand. “It is very important for us to have a place where people can see the brand in its entirety,” he said. “It’s about the experience to touch and feel and live within the context of the brand.”

A big retail leap will be a 6,000-square-foot concept store in Carlsbad that opens in August with a coffee shop, a barber shop and a community lounge for locals to hang out. Over the next two to three years, the plan is to roll out about 10 more stores in key markets. Larger concept stores like the one in Carlsbad will be set up in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Boston and New York.

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