When you think of men and women’s casual wear, the first brand to cross your mind is Ralph Lauren. Also known as the king of casual wear, Ralph Lauren has captured the hearts of many with his clothes and accessories. This designer is now associated with tasteful clothing and a new kind of style, but he didn’t just stop at clothing and accessories. Besides Ralph Lauren clothes, this brand has also designed home products such as furniture, bedding, drapes, towels, rugs, china, and silverware.
So what makes Ralph Lauren such an inspiration and legend in the fashion community? Ralph Lauren wasn’t always a fashion megastar and didn’t have a highly successful brand that was world famous.
In 1966, when Ralph Lauren was 26 years old, he was inspired to create a European-style necktie he saw Douglas Fairbanks Jr., an American Actor and a celebrated Naval Officer from World War II, was wearing. However, the idea was rejected by the company he was working for. They deemed his design not commercially viable. Ralph decided to leave the company and establish his own. He worked out of a little drawer in the Empire State Building and turned rags into neckties. Now, isn’t that innovative?
What came after was truly a monumental moment in Ralph Lauren’s life when Neiman Marcus, The American Department store bought 1,200 of his neckties. In 1967, Ralph Lauren opened a necktie store, with the label “Polo”. He received the rights to use the trademark “Polo” from Brook Brothers but they managed to retain the rights to the iconic “original polo button-down collar”.
Ralph Lauren was so successful with his brand, that by 2007 his brand had over 35 boutiques in the United States. Out of the 35 boutiques, only 23 locations carried the Ralph Lauren Purple Label. His iconic design is none other than the Ralph Lauren Polo shirt, which was first introduced in the year 1972. This design is now a classic piece for the brand. The tiny embroidered polo player on the chest is widely recognisable. The Ralph Lauren Polo t-shirts were originally available in 24 colours, giving consumers a variety of options to choose from.
Working for Ralph Lauren is a right of passage for many designers. Some of the designers who worked at Ralph Lauren and later found success for themselves in the fashion industry are Simon Spurr, John Varvatos, Vera Wang, Todd Snyder, Tory Burch, Tim Coppens, Michael Bastian, and Thom Browne.
Some interesting facts about the man himself:
- In 1983 Ralph Lauren released a safari collection that was a massive hit among the masses. It’s a favourite theme, as you’ll see his designs return to it every now and then. It’s interesting that Ralph has never visited the mainland African continent in all these years!
- Ralph Lauren is a massive admirer of the TV show Downton Abbey. Most of his designs center around the fashion from 1920s. He also designed the wardrobe that was worn by the cast of The Great Gatsby. One of the designs that stood out in the 1974 film adaptation was the famous pink suit that was worn by Robert Redford.
- Ralph Lauren absolutely adores vintage cars and tends to present himself with one for his birthday. He is known for collecting vintage cars deemed museum quality.In 2011, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris displayed them, they included one-off Bugattis and Ferraris.
- He never stopped designing in all his years at Ralph Lauren. Currently, there are 25 brands under Lauren. From the luxurious Purple label to the Denim & Supply, Ralph Lauren houses some of the greatest designs in the fashion industry. The Polo was in the spotlight again, when the fashion house launched a women’s wear collection. The Polo collection is distinct from all fashion designers because of its rarity and the quality of the crafts. It depicts the treasure of innovation and creativity the brand has accumulated over the years.
Besides being well-known for Polo, Ralph Lauren also introduced other products into his collection. Some of them include Ralph Lauren women hobos, Ralph Lauren women bags, Ralph Lauren women clutches, and Ralph Lauren totes.
What started as a menswear brand, expanded to women’s clothing and accessories as well. On September 29, 2015, Lauren announced he would be stepping down as Chief Executive. Despite not being a part of the company anymore, Ralph Lauren still inspires countless people around the world.