Ralph Lauren is the name of the Bronx NY-born fashion mogul that built the most successful and widely recognized American clothing brand in the world. His embroidered "Polo" pony stands as a symbol for upscale apparel and a multi-billion dollar garment empire that began in 1967 with just wide neckties. Now Ralph Lauren's particular staples of style and personal taste have developed into a department store institution that can be worn from head to toe.
Lauren's Fashion Sense Since the early age of twelve, Ralph Lauren exuded style, choosing to buy expensive suits with money made from his after school jobs. Oddly enough, fashion design was not his major at Baruch College: City University of New York in Manhattan. Lauren studied business and although not graduating, he merged his higher education with practical knowledge earned while he worked for two glove companies and a tie manufacturer called A. Rivetz & Co.
The Business of Looking Good In 1967,Ralph Lauren began his clothing empire with wide neckties and a $50,000 loan. The name "Polo" was chosen as the title of his lifestyle brand, do to its elegance and traditional, timeless attire. In 1974, Polo by Ralph Lauren expanded its visibility beyond New York City department stores like Bloomingdales - to Hollywood. Paramount Studios hired Ralph Lauren to design clothing for the entire male cast of The Great Gatsby movie staring Robert Redford. Lauren used inspiration from the 1920's and American celebrities of the day - authors F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway for his design concepts.
Not Just Ties Who doesn't have one of those classic Ralph Lauren short-sleeve collared mesh shirts? In 1972, these official "Polo" shirts as they are often referred to, were released in 24 different colors, with that iconic polo player logo stitched in. This emblem was introduced a year earlier with the introduction of the Ralph Lauren women's wear. Aside from high-end clothing, fashion accessories, and footwear, Ralph Lauren also lends his name to textiles such as home furnishings, paint, and fragrances. The brand's manufacturing is outsourced through multiple licensing agreements and sold through over 275 retail and outlet stores in the United States and over 100 more locations internationally.
Ralph's Recognition Ralph Lauren was able to add the COTY Award for Menswear American Fashion Award to his trophy case in 1970. He would then have to make room for the American Fashion Award in 1975, a placement in the COTY Hall of Fame for Menswear in 1976 and well as another COTY Award for Womenswear. Lauren became the first fashion designer to ever win COTY Awards for men's wear and women's wear. His fashion sense also won it's way into closets and onto bodies all over the globe.