Ralph Lauren Corporation is an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and retails clothing, footwear, accessories, and fragrance. Standing strong in an industry where Italian brands dominate, the corporation has set a great revenue for 2021.
Founded by Ralph Lauren in 1967. Ralph began his business with a $25,000 loan from his father. Since then, the company has grown to become one of the largest fashion companies in the world.
Ralph’s design philosophy remains “classic American style” and has been associated with its famous Polo brand since 1969.
But where does the luxury brand stands today? What continues to be unique about it besides the clothing we know? How did the designer achieve his goal?
To understand more, we will dive into Ralph Lauren Corporation’s history, but we need to go over its founder.
Who Is Ralph Lauren? – Early Years
Lauren’s name is well-known worldwide, even if people don’t purchase luxury items. Thus, we don’t think an introduction is required. However, the details about his life are a different story.
First, you must know Lauren isn’t his original last name, which is why we need to focus on the Lifshitz family name.
Ralph Lifshitz, a native of New York City, was born in The Bronx on October 14, 1939.
Frieda (nee Cutler) and Frank Lifshitz were his parents, who were Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants originally from Pinsk in Belarus. He was the youngest of four siblings, with two older brothers and an older sister.
Not much information has been disclosed regarding his family nor about Ralph’s economic and social status during his childhood. However, likely, they were not wealthy or poor.
After all, the four siblings weren’t raised with many hardships but had no luxuries either, which just leads us to believe in a specific balance.
Ralph Lauren attended Manhattan Talmudical Academy, then transferred to DeWitt Clinton High School. He graduated with high honors in 1957.
He attended university in New York, but he left after two years of Baruch College studies.
During this period in his life, he changed his English surname to Lauren from Lifshitz because of its unfavorable (sexually) connotations and how people bullied him because of it.
He made it clear over the years that he didn’t change his surname to hide his Jewish heritage or to escape it but to avoid being bullied and build a different image in the future.
He said that it wasn’t about his not wanting to be Jewish but that he wanted to ensure that Jewish life didn’t have any inappropriate connotations in his life.
He also wanted a “nice name” after one of his cousins changed it for a more common yet “comfortable” one.
Starting the Luxury Brand: Ralph Lauren’s Design
Ralph’s love for fashion wasn’t born in his early years like many other fashion designers. Instead, he showed interest during his years of quitting college after some work experience.
But first, Lauren made the decision to skip college and enlisted in the United States Army between 1962 and 1964. He was then left out of everyday life.
Brooks Brothers was his first job upon his return from the service period.
He was a sales associate and a tie salesman. Beau Brummell was the tie manufacturer for which he worked. He encouraged Ralph to start his own company and line of tie products after seeing Ralph’s talents for designing and creating new pieces.
Ralph Lauren launched his first men’s tie collection in 1967. The brand bearing his name was also established shortly after that.
He felt inspired by the success of his tie’s collection and wanted to expand his design and fashion skills.
Lauren’s first menswear collection was released in 1968. This was also when “Polo Ralph Lauren” was born. It features a short-sleeve cotton shirt and the most classic and well-known piece from the brand.
In 1969, this line was sold exclusively at Bloomingdale’s departmental stores and was a great success with men.
In 1971, he launched a line of tailored shirts for women featuring the Polo player emblem and following the success of the previous designs for men as a response to the success of the Polo player emblem and his desire to reach a new audience.
His 1972 first collection of women’s clothes was soon followed by the huge success of his Polo shirts.
His first Beverly Hills store opened on Rodeo Drive during this period. This achievement made him the first American clothing designer to open a standalone store.
The iconic brand’s cotton mesh Polo shirt with the Polo player logo was introduced in 1972. It is now available in 17 colors and is the most popular part of any of Lauren’s collections today.
Lauren was inspired by the success of his continuous clothing lines and the love people had for each piece. In 1978, he decided to expand his range with fragrances.
Bloomingdales was the first to launch Ralph Lauren fragrances. These fragrances were originally called “Lauren” for women only, and “Polo” was created for men.
The big success of the fragrances was followed by the first European-freestanding store in London’s West End, England, in 1981.
Over the 1980s and 1990s, the company experienced steady growth with more than ten lines and brands, including “Lauren” Ralph Lauren in 1996. Other names and lines were added to approach more variety and designs to the company.
It was only natural that Ralph Lauren, the well-respected luxury brand, would grow exponentially because of Lauren’s unique design ideas and the way people received his work.
The brand’s popularity is due to the timeless design of the Polo shirt and more collections that followed it.
Ralph Lauren made sure to add his personal touch to all of the collections and the perfume and paint lines that came later. This helped customers feel more connected and familiar with the brand.
Inside His Designs: Steady & Big Growth
With the reception of all its collections and how people loved every piece, Ralph Lauren (the designer and brand) grew and became a strong competitor for Italian brands and designers.
Focusing a bit on Ralph, the designer’s style is known for being influenced by Americana and Wild West spirit. This includes lots of leather and suede as well as denim. It is not like what other fashion brands use.
Moving on with the company’s adaptation and update in the 21rst Century, the company was founded online in 2000 under the domain name polo.com.
It was relaunched in 2007 under the domain name ralphlauren.com to include all lines and options. The company also has other brands and extensions that bear his name. Probably more like subsidiaries you can find.
You can also find a few affordable lines, such as Chaps. In addition, the brand sells home goods today, and Ralph Lauren Restaurants turned into a restaurant chain.
The company’s first restaurant, RL Restaurant Chicago, opened in 1999. In Paris, Ralph’s opened in 2010, and in New York City, Ralph’s Coffee opened the following year.
In 2015, The Polo Bar opened in New York City.
In September 2015, he announced that he would be retiring from his position as CEO, and it was followed by Stefan Larsson and his election as CEO in November 2015.
In 2018, Ralph Lauren celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special fashion show in Central Park, New York City. Kanye West and Oprah Winfrey were also there as many other celebrities joined the guests’ list.
Even though he is 82 years old, Ralph Lauren’s designer remains the man he was and continues to be the chief creative officer. He doesn’t let anyone else make major decisions about what will be displayed to the public, or, at least, he has the final word for most of the new collections.
Now, the brand is known as Ralph Lauren Corporation, and not only with the designer’s name following all the subsidiaries and additional businesses the company opened.
Restaurants, coffee shops, and more places wouldn’t fit the name considered to be regular for the fashion brand only.
Why Ralph Lauren Is a Must-Dress Brand
Unlike other fashion brands, Ralph Lauren didn’t focus its designs on extravagant and rare styles. Instead, it converted the classic designs into extraordinary ones.
Consumers’ perception of his classic style is what made the brand popular since the very beginning, and the brand has made sure to strengthen this element over the years.
This doesn’t mean new collections and “experiments” don’t occur, but they continue following the brand’s essence.
If we have to describe it a bit less simplistic, we would say it is a matter of how the clothes and all items reflect a “lifestyle” element. In other words, you can feel great with them at any time, any moment.
Other brands are more focused on making people feel special based on how they dress. Meanwhile, Ralph Lauren aims to make people comfortable even when their clothes look simple and too classic.
Of course, the special touch of the founder and designer, which has been followed by those joining the team, continues adding the special element.
Again, despite how simple the designs look, luxury is what people think about every time they look at any of the pieces.
In addition, high-quality and unique materials have been used since the brand’s inception, bringing more value.
Instead of decaying like other brands, Lauren continues looking for more options that are either cheaper yet the same quality or help them guarantee better results.
In the case of restaurants and other ventures of the brand, it is a matter of attention, quality, and lifestyle. People feel refreshed and are able to enjoy an afternoon even if they are not millionaires.
Coffee, some dishes and meals, and specific services can be accessed by many and we personally enjoy going once in a while to the bar.
A Look into Its Items: Ralph Lauren’s Merchandise & Prices
Like every luxury brand, merchandise isn’t actually cheap even when you can afford some items. A Polo shirt, for instance, costs more than your regular shirt. Is it worth it? That’s the question.
Here, we will dive into the value of the clothes but also fragrances and other items. However, those are averages. In addition, expect to know more about restaurants and other company ventures cost.
- All men’s clothing: This includes the popular Polo shirts and items, hoodies, jackets, pants, and more. Prices start at $14.99 with boxers and go up to $9,995 due to tuxedos and specific coats being available.
- All women’s clothing: Dresses, sweaters, pants, classic Polos, jackets, and more. Start at $14.99 with tops and go all the way to $9,000 with vests and evening dresses.
- Men’s and women’s shoes: Flip flops, sneakers, boots, sandals, monks, and more. Start at $30 and go up to $2,900, being leather items the most expensive ones.
- Accessories: Handbags, hats, scarves, gloves, masks, bandannas, wallets, belts, socks, and jewelry. This section also includes fragrances. Both women’s and men’s collections in this category start at $7 and go up to $29,500. Bags are often the most expensive items.
- Watches and fine jewelry: Most items of this collection are not available online. Instead, you have to visit stores and request the prices. However, they include bracelets, necklaces, and regular items.
- Kids and babies collection: Regular clothing is available, and prices start at about $14.99 and go up to around $325.
- Home items: This includes rugs, furniture, lighting, décor, towels, and more. Prices start at $32 and go up to over $30,000.
- Restaurants in New York, Paris, and more: You can have a look at the menu for most of the restaurants available in different cities. However, prices vary depending on the specific place you go to. Prices range between $5 being coffee and teas the most affordable, and you can end up paying over $75 for a dish along with $150+ for any highlands or drinks.
Keep in mind that we only considered USA prices, which are the official for the stores. However, for other countries, they vary based on currency and specific fees and taxes included.
Ralph Lauren x Celebrities: Is It Popular?
You bet it is.
Several celebrities and artists have joined Lauren’s company either under sponsorship, endorsements, or campaigns to be the image of new collections.
Among them, Bella and Gigi Hadid are two of the main models. The brand also endorses others like Michael B. Jordan and Jon Kortajarena.
Actors Like Bracey and Ansel Elgort and actress Jennifer Aniston have been the image for several campaigns, including men’s fragrances and classic Polo jackets.
The list just continues with people like Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz, and many more.
But when it comes to wearing the designer’s collections, well, it is just endless.
Blake Lively, Ye West, Priyanka Chopra, Oprah, David Beckham, Kate Middleton, and Angelina Jolie join the list.
The unique look and designs of the brand are popular in both red carpets and daily clothing. So, you can expect to see many celebrities going around with at least a scarf.
As for visits to restaurants, bars, or other locations, most of the places include an exclusive space for celebrities. Thus, you bet they attend more often than it seems. Some special events and parties even take place.
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