The Ralph Lauren brand was born in 1967, 28 years after the man himself. We have teamed up with vintage clothing experts Messina Hembry who sell beautiful pre loved Ralph Lauren clothing and are passionate about the brand, in order to put together the history of this iconic company. This article dissects the history of Ralph Lauren and how he and the brand came to the grand name and reputation that we know today.
Lauren was born and bred in New York which was where he started fashion endeavor from a single drawer in the shop of his employer. Lauren started off with a tie line, which he called ‘Polo’ because he said that it “had a vaguely English sense to it”.
Very quickly, Mr Lauren built up a brand and a reputation for himself in menswear designs, winning himself the Coty Award in 1970. In 1972, the brand logo was first attached to a polo shirt and the design as we know it today was created. Also in 1972, Lauren opened his first stand-alone Polo shop in Beverly Hills.
After the success of his clothing ranges, the famous ‘Lauren’ fragrance for men and women first launches and goes on sale, starting a legacy of successful and popular Ralph Lauren perfumes and aftershaves.
Off the back of his success, Lauren and his wife were able to buy property in the Colorado uplands which was later called ‘The Double RL Ranch’, sitting on 17,000 acres. Also in the 80s, Ralph Lauren acquire a lease for the Rhinelander Mansion at 867 Madison Avenue. The building undergoes extensive renovation before it then becomes the label’s flagship store.
Lauren looks to expand even more and manages to get Goldman Sachs to invest a minority stake and he then takes a seat on the company’s board. Later on, as a result of this, the firm takes the company public.
In the late 90s, Polo Ralph Lauren becomes publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Lauren sells 17.9 million shares which is valued at $465.4 million. Since then, the market value shot up to $8.8 billion.
Ralph Lauren opens up its first restaurant, opposite its store in Chicago. As a result of its success and high demand, RL then goes on to open a coffee shop in the converted stables of the company’s Paris store. Years on, in 2015, the Polo Bar, adjacent to the NYC Polo flagship shop opens.
The Pink Pony campaign launches to fight against cancer, giving the brand a new sense of excitement and buzz. The Ralph Lauren foundation supports programs helping to make earlier diagnoses of cancer, fund the treatment and research of cancer as well as educate people. In 2003, the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention is established in Harlem.
Lauren’s net worth is put at $7 billion by Forbes.
The Polo Ralph Lauren brand is timeless. The brand was designed to be classic and classy which is exactly what it has stayed as. Not only does this mean that new collections are exciting, but the old ones still are too – they ooze timeless style which is what makes them such a good investment. Ralph Lauren’s clothes are fantastic quality and durable meaning that are very popular in the preloved range in vintage clothing stores.
An impressive history and fantastic legacy – we salute you Mr Lauren.