He is the fashion world’s reigning superpower – whatever aspect of the business that you are in, in the fashion industry, everybody looks at Ralph Lauren as the blueprint for fashion success… We don’t think anyone since Walt Disney has been as successful in getting millions and millions of people to buy into his fantasy!
His brand stands for timeless, classic, fashion. It almost represents a souvenir of the fashion lifestyle so many want to be a part of…
Ralph always knew that he wouldn’t win if he didn’t take risks. He was always pushing the envelope – Before he was Ralph Lauren he was Ralph Lifshitz, the youngest of four children who wore his brothers hand-me-downs. born in 1939 to jewish immigrant working class parents, he grew up in the Bronx, NY. Having had a painter father – living with someone from whom aesthetics mattered, would of course affect the child in that household.
Taking inspiration from the fantasy world of movies back in the 40’s, Ralph admitted to being influenced by movies. “I was very influenced by a world that had a sense of dream, a sense of something else… and what I was influenced in these places was the good guys. Not the corny guys but the man in the white horse. My sense was… I had an integrity inside me of what I believed in, I did it honestly but I had a point of view. I was very strong.”
Not only was he a perfectionist but he was a guy’s guy. When he was in his late teens he and his brother jerry opted for a name changes. Following high-school, Lauren worked as a salesman while taking business classes at night, but never got a degree.
In 1964 after taking a short stint in the army, 26 year old married Ricky Low-Beer, a receptionist he met at a doctor’s office. She became his model and was always on his mind. Still looking for his place in the world, Lauren set his sights on New York’s fashion industry. He became a salesman for Brooks Brothers and then a series of neck tie manufacturers…
This exposure to the fashion world transformed Lauren’s vision. It was the era of plain narrow ties, when Lauren offered up a radical design concept – colourful wide ties. Striking out on his own, one of his first stops – Bloomingdale. Not everything went smoothing as former Bloomingdale CEO, Marvin Traub, placed an order but demanded Bloomingdale’s name on the print, which Lauren refused.
Several months after Ralph Lauren walked away from an offer at Bloomingdale’s, the renounced store called him back to stock his ties… and the rest was history.