The fashion industry has several iconic designers that are seen as prime examples of successful high-end fashion brands, and Ralph Lauren is one of those successes.
Ralph Lauren, born as Ralph Lifshitz in 1939, grew up in the Bronx with his family of Jewish working-class immigrants, leading his career to be summed up as a “rags to riches” story. His fashion interest stretches all the way back to when he was 12 and selling hand-made ties to his classmates. He spent much of his down time as a child watching movies, which sparked his inspirations.
Lauren dropped out of college after studying business at CUNY Baruch College for just 2 years, and briefly joined the army. After Lauren left the service, he married Ricky Low-Beer in 1964 and went from a sales job at Brooks Brothers, to working for Beau Brummell, and ended up at a tie-making job with Rivetz & Co.
While working at Rivets & Co in 1967, Lauren launched his brand with wide cut neckties for men, called “Polo.” Just three years later he won the Coty American Fashion Critics’ Awards for his men’s fashion line.
The signature trademark of Ralph Lauren’s fashion, a polo player, was created in 1972, where the logo was stitched onto short-sleeve cotton shirts.
Ralph Lauren is seen as a fashion line that combines British and American upper class styles.
Ralph Lauren boutiques have been opened internationally since the 1980s, with the main store residing in New York’s Rhinelander Mansion.
In September of 2015, just late last year, Lauren handed his chief executive position of his company over to Old Navy’s global president, Stefan Larsson. Even with the shift of power, combined with falling shares, his fortune is worth over $6 billion dollars, making Ralph Lauren one of the 200 richest people across the globe.
Ralph Lauren’s company produces luxury clothing and fragrances, as well as home furnishings.
A popular quote by Ralph Lauren spread around in the industry is, “Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly, style is forever.”