Ralph Lauren is a fashion brand that produces mid-range products to luxury clothes and accesories They are mostly known for their clothing line, but they also market and distribute fragrances, home, and other accessories such as jewelry and watches. The company is known as Ralph Lauren Corporation, and they have several brands such as Chaps, Ralph Lauren, Polo Ralph Lauren, Club Monaco, Ralph Lauren Collection, and Ralph Lauren Purple Label. In this article, we are going to take a look at the history of this iconic luxury fashion brand and how they achieved the status that they have today.
History of Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren Corporation started their company by selling men’s ties in 1967. When he was just 28-years old, the owner of the company, Ralph Lauren used to work for a tie manufacturer. After some time, Lauren then took the guts to ask the president of the company if they could help him start his own line. With his interest in sports, Ralph Lauren decided to name his first line of menswear “Polo” in 1968. He started his store out of a single “drawer” that came from a showroom in the Empire State Building. During this time, Ralph Lauren really had his eyes on the goal, which is why he even made deliveries of his clothing line himself.
In 1969, only Bloomingdales in Manhattan was allowed to sell Ralph Lauren’s men line. Two years later, the Ralph Lauren Corporation released a line of tailored shirts, especially for women. This was also the time when they introduced the Polo player logo and placed me on the shirt cuff. After a year, the company decided to launch a full women’s collection.
In 1972, Ralph Lauren opened its very first freestanding store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. During that same year, Ralph Lauren released a short-sleeve cotton shirt that came in twenty-four different colors. These shirts were adorned with the company’s logo, which is no other than the Polo player. The company’s emblem was designed by a professional tennis player named Rene Lacoste, and since then, it has been the brand’s signature look. In 1977, Ralph Lauren decided to release their signature cotton mesh polo shirts that came in different colors and featured the iconic polo player logo on the chest.
In 1974, Ralph Lauren was hired to be one of the costume designers for the movie The Great Gatsby. Of course, the costumes he used were chosen from his Polo line. In 1977, famous celebrities such as Woody Allen and Dianne Keaton wore Ralph Lauren’s clothes in their film entitled Annie Hall. After a year, Ralph Lauren decided to release the first Ralph Lauren fragrances, which was produced by Warner-Lauren Ltd. These fragrances were launched in Bloomingdales, and it was called “Lauren” for women’s perfumes and “Polo” for men’s cologne.
In 1981, Ralph Lauren decided to enter the European and international market by opening its first stand-alone store in New Bond Street in the West End of London, England. And in 1986, Ralph Lauren opened its first flagship store in the Rhinelander Mansion located on Madison Avenue in New York City. In 1997, Ralph Lauren decided to become a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.
Two years after, Ralph Lauren decided to venture into the restaurant business by opening a 98-seat restaurant named RL in Chicago. This restaurant was adjacent to the world’s largest and Ralph Lauren’s flagship store located at the corner of Chicago and Michigan Avenue. This success was followed by an opening of two more restaurants, namely Ralph’s in Paris and The Polo Bar in New York.
In the 2000s, Ralph Lauren launched its website and online shop named polo.com, and it was under RL Media, which is a cooperation between NBC and Ralph Lauren. In 2007, the company bought the NBC share in RL Media, and they were able to relaunch their site as ralphlauren.com. Eight years after that, the company announced that Stefan Larsson would replace the company’s founder, Ralph Lauren, as its CEO. On the other hand, Ralph Lauren stayed at the company as an executive chairman and chief creative officer of the company.
In 2017, Larsson announced that he would be stepping down as the company’s CEO because of irreconcilable differences between Ralph Lauren. That same year, Ralph Lauren announced that Patrice Louvet, a French-American businessman, would be the company’s president and CEO.