Mark Wahlberg Talks Making Clothing (and Taking it Off in Front of Kevin Hart)
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Mark Wahlberg starts his day at 2:30 a.m., works out around 4 a.m., plays golf after that, and then gets to work — which might entail going on set (all over the world), taking business meetings, and appearing on talk shows. It’s as varied and demanding as a day can get, and one necessity to handle it, says Wahlberg, is the right wardrobe.
After struggling to find clothing with that kind of versatility, Wahlberg decided to launch his own brand, MUNICIPAL, in 2020 alongside his manager Stephen Levinson and golf industry guru Harry Arnett. “We wanted to create stuff that looked cool, that fit and felt great, stuff that you could wear to work, you could wear it to work out, and wear out at night,” Wahlberg tells Rolling Stone. “We wanted to create something that was a great value proposition to the every guy and gal who’s out there working hard to be the best version of themselves, you know?”
The brand’s latest collection exemplifies its focus on hyper-versatility with pieces like sporty polos, casual, moisture-wicking T-shirts, underwear, and flexible, multi-purpose pants. “That golf polo, for example, I could wear to play golf, I could wear it into the gym, I could wear it to work, I could wear it if I was going on a talk show… It’s just multipurpose, very cool, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Wahlberg.
We tested a polo, along with MUNICIPAL’s Sport Utility shorts and a few tops, and ended up agreeing with Wahlberg: MUNICIPAL’s pieces feel more high-quality than those of big-name athletic brands, and they look less “sporty,” which means you can keep them on after you leave the gym or golf course.
Over the phone, Wahlberg seems genuinely passionate about MUNICIPAL (something that doesn’t always happen when celebrities enter the product market). “I wasn’t quite sure how involved [Wahlberg] would be or how passionate he’d be about the boring stuff, you know, the nuts and bolts of the day-to-day,” MUNICIPAL’s CEO and co-founder Harry Arnett tells Rolling Stone. “But he’s had incredible passion for that. And now it makes total sense. He’s so curious about stuff and just an avid learner, so it makes sense that he would have a real passion for how things operate,” says Arnett, who left his position as EVP of Callaway to start MUNICIPAL.
Besides co-founding MUNICIPAL, Wahlberg also put up a chunk of his own money to keep the brand alive. When the Covid pandemic hit, Wahlberg says “things unfolded.”
“[We] lost the financing, but everybody [had] left their jobs to start the brand,” he continues. “And then it got real. Everybody had to put their hand in their pocket and start writing checks,” he says.
Wahlberg’s level of commitment (financially and physically) to MUNICIPAL shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the Uncharted star’s business endeavors. “All the things that I’m involved with, I mean I’m really involved,” he asserts. “I’m not endorsing these products, you know — I either started the company or bought into the company.”
Besides his work with MUNICIPAL, Wahlberg’s business interests range from investments in Flecha Azul tequila, bottled water brand Aquahydrate, and StockX, to co-ownership of several Ohio car dealerships and Wahlburgers, a burger chain founded with his brothers.
Of course, Wahlberg is still a Hollywood fixture — both as an actor and producer — with upcoming projects including Me Time, where he stars alongside Kevin Hart. “Oh my God. It was so fun,” says Wahlberg on working with Hart. “Except they put me in a couple of embarrassing situations. In the trailer, I’m naked, except for a pair of sneakers, and we shot that at the pier in Long Beach in the middle of the day with 50 other people who were also naked. And so that was weird,” he says, laughing (Wahlberg confirms that he really was naked on set).
Another one of Wahlberg’s recent projects is a reality show, Wahl Street, which chronicles the actor’s business endeavors — including the foundation of MUNICIPAL. The show’s second season is coming later this year, and you can stream the first season on HBO Max here.
After understanding just how busy Wahlberg’s days are, it starts to make a little more sense why he would need to work out before 4 a.m. Wahlberg says his current wellness routine mostly involves intermittent fasting and mobility exercises, although Arnett gives a clearer picture of Wahlberg’s intensity, saying, “Every time I [workout with Wahlberg] it’s like running a marathon where I say I’m never doing this again. Ever, ever.”
Shop the full MUNICIPAL collection now at MUNICIPAL.com, where prices range from $9 to $349.
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