Luxury Fashion Brand Report: Ralph Lauren

Most Affordable or Expensive Brand in History

Ralph Lauren is one of those brands that are hard to follow up on once you start researching and getting to know it.

Why? Because most people believe it is all about clothing, the collections, and the simple history of its foundation and how it started. However, in this case, Ralph Lauren comes with a long tail. 

First, it isn’t only about clothes. You will notice that this luxury brand, like many others yet, in its own way, has expanded to other niches and business areas. As a result, we have more to cover than the clothes, fragrances, and products most people are used to see. 

This luxury brand is more than some stores but rather a huge corporation, and we want to leave this clear before starting because it will make it ten times easier to follow the storyline. What is left to ask: are you ready? This is going to be a wild ride but fascinating above anything else. 

How It Started: Ralph Lifshitz

Every business has a founder, and for Ralph Lauren, it is the person who gave the brand its name. 

This is something quite common among luxury brands, and if you were wondering, people just want to make sure they make history, and their hard work is recognized by using their own names (we applaud this, in fact). 

Now, why is Lifshitz in the heading? Because although you might know the founder as Ralph Lauren, his real name is the one above. With that clear, we can dive deeper.

Ralph Lifshitz was born in The Bronx, New York City, on October 14, 1939. 

Frieda (nee Cutler) and Frank Lifshitz were his parents and Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants from Pinsk in Belarus. 

He is the youngest member of four siblings and has two older brothers and one sister. 

There isn’t much information about Lauren’s childhood and how his family lived, but presumably, it wasn’t luxurious or destitute. Instead, he and his siblings were raised without too many issues. 

However, there are reports and details about his education and the rest of the history regarding his career that lead us to what we want: the company‘s founding.

After attending the Manhattan Talmudical Academy, Lauren transferred to DeWitt Clinton High School, where he graduated with honors in 1957. 

After two years of study at Baruch College, he dropped out of the University of New York (CUNY).

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Due to the unfortunate and inappropriate connotations of his English name, he changed his name to Lauren from Lifshitz, taking us to the origins of the name of the future brand. It is important to remark that he did not change his Jewish identity to escape. 

He has claimed several times that it isn’t about not wanting to be Jewish but just making sure the obscene connotations weren’t an issue to his life, and he also wanted to have “a nice last name” following the change of his cousins’ one. 

How a Luxury Brand Is Born

Going back to the main part of his life and how the brand was founded, Lauren dropped out of school and served in the United States Army between 1962 and 1964. 

Then, he worked at Brooks Brothers as a sales assistant and tie salesman. Beau Brummell was the tie manufacturer that he worked for, and he encouraged the president of the brand to allow him to start his own line. So, Ralph Lauren’s first line of men’s ties was born in 1967, making this the time when the brand was founded.

Following the success of the tie’s line and how much Lauren wanted to grow in the design and fashion world, he was able to launch his first menswear line in 1968 and named it “Polo,” and was sold exclusively by Bloomingdale’s department store in 1969. 

In 1971, he launched a line for women of tailored shirts with the famous Polo player emblem (no, the brand isn’t called “Polo,” it is just a line of Ralph Lauren). 

His 1972 first women’s collection quickly followed this. He also opened his first Beverly Hills store on Rodeo Drive, which made him the first American designer to open a freestanding store during the previous year. 

Back in 1972, the brand’s iconic cotton mesh Polo shirt was introduced with the Polo player logo at the chest and is now available in 17 colors.

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Lauren ventured into fragrances in 1978 and launched the first Ralph Lauren fragrances at Bloomingdales. These fragrances were “Lauren” for women and “Polo” for men. 

He then opened the first European-freestanding store in London’s West End, England, in 1981. The company grew steadily over the 1980s, and 1990s with more than ten lines and brands acquired, including Lauren Ralph Lauren (1996) as well as Ralph Lauren Purple Label (1995).

Ralph Lauren’s Essence – Behind Its Popularity

If you think about it, there are several luxury brands, many of which are from years before Ralph Lauren was founded. 

So, when we consider this, what drives people to buy or be fascinated by this brand? Is it about another expensive line of clothing, or is there something unique about it? 

Ralph Lauren is a brand we personally love, and if you look carefully at the clothing, smell a fragrance, or just take the time to appreciate any of the merchandise, you will notice there’s nothing like it. 

Do you need an example? Just think about its most known product: the Polo shirt. 

It has a classic yet unique design with patterns that, although it can be found in other shirts, we can say without a doubt that they are just cheap copies of Ralph Lauren. Are we wrong? Not at all. 

Polo Ralph Lauren represented the founder’s personality and brought a difference with all the luxury brands that came before it, like Chanel. 

We are not saying the rest aren’t that amazing, but this is about Ralph Lauren’s authenticity and differentiated image in the market and industry.

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Also, the creator has made sure to pour all his personality into the rest of the designs and clothing collections as well as other lines like fragrances and the home and paint ones available. 

Keep in mind that this brand’s signature line is focused on sportswear that is yet luxurious, of high quality, and it isn’t necessarily like the rest of the clothes you can find for this from brands like Nike and Adidas. 

The designer’s style is known for being influenced by the “Americana” and Wild West essence, which includes using lots of leather, suede, and denim. 

Worth & Prices: Can You Buy Anything from Ralph Lauren?

This is a hard question to answer. So, instead, we will make a different one: how much do you earn monthly? 

If your answer involves hundreds or just a bit more than $2k, you’re way too short of buying anything. 

Luxury brands are expensive, we can say this without sweating, and we might have just exaggerated a bit with the statement of not being able to buy anything. 

You could; the problem lies in how much money you will have left for basic and required expenses. 

With this in mind, you must know Ralph Lauren (the brand) is worth $6.9 billion as of 2020 since the 2021 reports haven’t come out. 

With such revenue and value, you can expect the merchandise to be everything but cheap or affordable for many since this one isn’t focused on affordability like, for example, Armani. 

However, every single piece of any of the collections is worth the investment, and we are guilty about having several Polo Ralph Lauren shirts in our closets (among other pieces).

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To help you have an idea of the prices (on average), we will include a few ranges for most of the collections available generally: 

  • Menswear: shirts like the signature one usually start at $90 while the rest of the merchandise, like pants, jackets, sport coats, jerseys, shorts, and pants, go from $125 to $550. Tuxedos, suits, topcoats, and formal clothes are usually about $6.000. 
  • Womenswear: tops are the cheapest ones starting at $25. However, cardigans, sweaters, and the rest of the women’s collection range from $250 to $625 approx. Formal dresses, as well as some coats and suits, start at $4.000. 
  • Shoes: for both women and men, they start at $175 and usually reach the $3.000 mark.
  • Accessories: including bags, sunglasses, masks, and more for women, start at $8 and go up to $30.000. For men, the price range is similar. 
  • Fragrances: they can be acquired in different presentations—most of them starting at $58 up to $125. 
  • Jewelry: you can find pieces from $68 to $2.000. 
  • Home collections: including décor, bedding, towels, furniture, and more, start at $115 and vary from $2.000 to $25.000. 
  • Kids collection: you can get pieces from $19 to $725. 

Ralph Lauren x Celebrities: Red Carpets & Endorsements

Despite being one of the most recent luxury brands, Ralph Lauren has made sure to open its own space in the celebrities’ world, and many fell for the designs and unique style already (and continue to do). 

This is why you will notice that many artists, both women, and men, decide to use it in red carpets while the brand also endorses several ones. 

Jon Kortajarena, Bella and Gigi Hadid, and Michael B. Jordan are only a few of the favorite celebrities endorsed who also often use the brand’s clothes and collections. 

One of the most popular connections with Lauren and celebrities was the Friends’ collection released while the series was still airing (its old seasons). Jennifer Anniston used leather jackets and unique Polo shirts.

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As for red carpets and awards celebrations, you will see celebrities like Emma Watson, Jessica Chastain, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Blake Lively, Leonardo DiCaprio, and many others. 

The royalty also prefers using Ralph Lauren’s designs. Kate and Pippa Middleton, for example, have been spotted using several dresses.

There’s no doubt people just love it, and we can understand quite well why.

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Written by Dame Cash

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