René Lacoste founded La Chemise Lacoste in 1933 with André Gillier, the owner and president of the largest French knitwear manufacturing firm at the time. These partners began to produce a revolutionary tennis shirt that Lacoste had designed and worn on the tennis courts with a crocodile logo embroidered on the chest. Starting in the 1950s, Izod produced clothing called Izod Lacoste for sale in the U.S. This partnership ended in 1993 when Lacoste regained exclusive U.S. rights to distribute shirts under its own brand. In 1977, Le Tigre Clothing was founded in an attempt to directly compete with Lacoste in the US market, selling a similar array of clothing, but featuring a tiger in place of the signature Lacoste crocodile.
The company has been involved in a long-standing dispute regarding its logo with Hong Kong-based sportswear company Crocodile Garments. At the time, Lacoste used a crocodile logo that faced right (registered in France in 1933) while Crocodile used one that faced left (registered in various Asian countries in the 1940s and 1950s). Lacoste tried to block an application from Crocodile to register its logo in China during the 1990s, the dispute ended in a settlement, with Crocodile agreeing to change its logo, which now sports scalier skin, bigger eyes and a tail that rises vertically.
Headquarters for the Lacoste USA branch are located in New York, New York.