What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name “Ralph Lauren”? Maybe a zero to hero struggle story, or maybe a luxury suit, a polo T-shirt. Fashion dominates this name and the man behind it is considered one of the most outstanding designers of our generation. Sitting at the helm of this fashion empire for over half a century now, Ralph Lauren has turned the face of fashion design and entrepreneurship in general to a whole new level.
In 2015 he announced that he was going to step down from the helm of the empire, bringing to an end the journey that started way back when he started selling neck ties from a drawer from the empire state building. Humble beginnings right? Well it was. Ralph started college at the Baruch college studying business although he dropped out after two years. From there he joined the army between 1962 and 1964. He served as a reserve at that time.
However this new career was short lived. He went on to join the Brooks Brothers at the age of 24 just as a salesman with no experience in the fashion industry. It didn’t take much time before he decided it was time he went on his own; starting his own company at the age of 26 selling neckties from a drawer at the empire state building in New York. From here his story revolves around evolution of style, enigma, trend and handwork.
Ralph Lauren made his fortune; a tune of 6.6 billion dollars (as of 2015 Forbes report) from a combination of sharp mind, skill, style and consistency. The world knows of the glamour that is associated with Ralph but there are a couple of things you probably never knew about Ralph Lauren. This forms the discussion of these article. They are pretty interesting facts and some may actually surprise you.
Ralph didn’t invent the polo T-shirt
Yes he did not. Now don’t be fooled. Mr. Lauren has been responsible of making this brand not only famous but quite popular and outstanding. However the polo shirt is a product of a former tennis player who turned designer; Rene Lacoste. Rene felt the cumbersomeness that came with playing with the tennis kits of those days and thought it wouldn’t really hurt to have a change. That was when he designed a lighter kit made of cotton basically to make it as light and comfortable as possible. He went on to wear it for the first time in the US opens of 1926. It was not until later in the 70s that Ralph took up the rights and the production of the shirts and made it an iconic wear till this day.
Ralph Lauren started with a designing neckties
Now talk of humble backgrounds. He had just come from working for the Brook Brothers as a fashion sales man. Lauren started his own company making neckties which were wide and as he called them “unusual”. For this reason they became quite popular among people as he kept on selling. What most people don’t now is that the first ones were actually made of old rags. The ingenious of Lauren is so evident here as he was able to expand from here to wherever he is today. The ties were first sold by him from a drawer at the empire state building.
Ralph Lauren: the car collector
Ralph Lauren has one of the most outstanding and expensive car collection in the US. In fact just to mention a few he owns a 1958 Ferrari Testa Rossa, a 1929 Bentley, a 2010 Lamborghini Mulchie'logo super veloce among others. Furthermore he owns one of the two existing Bugatti type 57SC which is worth about 41 million dollars. His collection of over 70 cars is just to die for. In his namesake company's website they have a whole page dedicated to his cars and collections.
He acted as himself on the sitcom Friends
If you watched the heart warming sitcom Friends which ran for 10 seasons in the 90s and early 2000s you are familiar with the character “Rachel Green “ played by Jennifer Aniston. As the plot of the story puts in, she worked at Ralph Lauren as an executive. At one point in season 5 in 1999 Ralph plays as himself in two parts in the episode both dine done on a elevator. The appearance was actually surprising to many viewers.
Many men’s cloth designers have worked for Ralph at one point or another
From the likes of Simon Spurr, Tim Coppens, Michael Bastian, Thom brown among others have at one point or another worked for Lauren. The company Ralph Lauren has been a platform for many talented individuals to showcase their talents and abilities. The few who decide to break off end up making themselves household names owing to the vast experience and production quality that is in this fashion powerhouse. Its no surprise that such high profiled designers have been under Ralph at one time or another.
In 2014, the revenue at Ralph Lauren was about $7.6 billion
Quick question; what do you think a popular fashion house make at the end of each year in revenue? Well it is for a fact that in 2014 the company has a revenue of a whooping 7.6 billion dollars. This is due to the many shops the company has set up and also the large range of products that this company makes. In 2014 they made a cool $7.6 billion in terms of revenue.
Ralph Lauren’s polo gave the world its first back supermodel
In the dawn of the whole civil revolution that started in the 60s, a male black supermodel was unheard of. This changed when in 1994 Tyson Beckford modeled for polo. With a great physic and muscular, Beckford secured a place in the Ralph Lauren campaign as the face of polo sports division. From there, well it has been one revolution after another with male black supermodels like Beckford all over the globe.
Ralph actually owns club Monaco
The Canadian retailer giant is owned by Lauren having been purchased in 1999 by polo Ralph Lauren. It has stores in Canada, Hong Kong, Macao, united Arab Emirates, Indonesia among other places. The retail store deals with casual clothing for men and women often changing the products with change in seasons to match trends. The company was started in 1985 in Canada but has grown a for a long time to get to wherever it is now, owing much of its success right now to Polo Ralph Lauren.
Ralph Lauren became the first designer to outfit participants of Wimbledon.
Surprised? Yes well he became the first designer in history to actually dress everybody from the ball boys, the lime judges and also the court judges. Actually the Wimbledon logo was redesigned for this purpose. Talk of revolutionizing everything you touch. Wimbledon is considered one of the biggest sporting events in tennis and getting this opportunity was, well very lucrative you can imagine. But it definitely came with the ingenious part of him. The redesigned kits and uniform are cutting edge and glamorous. You can actually find most of them online both at the Ralph Lauren store and the Wimbledon store.
Ralph and the great Gatsby
He designed all the menswear in the movie Great Gatsby. He actually got this break when he was approached to design and tailor costumes for Robert Redford' s character in the movie. It didn’t even stop there. His clothes were featured in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. From there it has been one movie after another being clothed.
Written by Garrett Parker
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