Ralph Lauren is an American designer and a businessman. Lauren started as a salesman for a tie company. But he made his own to the top. His success story inspires you to never settle for less and know your worth. Forbes ranked him 102nd in the list of richest people in America.
On October 14, 1939, Ralph Lauren was born. His parents immigrated to the Bronx, New York City in 1939 from Belarus their family name was Lifshitz. Ralph’s full name was Ralph Lifshitz with a name like life shit’s they were teased a lot. So, he and his brothers decided to change their last name to Lauren while in high school.
Ralph Lauren attended day school. After school, he attended the Manhattan Talmudical Academy. Eventually, he graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1957. He went to Baruch College, at the City University of New York (CUNY) to study business. But he dropped out after 2 years. He was from the Jewish community in the Bronx, NY.
Ralph Lauren served in the United States Army from 1962 to 1964. Later worked briefly for Brooks Brothers as a sales assistant before becoming a salesperson for Rivetz, a tie company. He started ‘Ralph Lauren Corporation’ in 1967 with a men’s tie collection. When 28 years old, Lauren worked for the tie manufacturer Beau Brummell. During his tenure, he persuaded the company’s president to let him start his own line.
‘Polo’ is a game that mesmerized him so much that he named his first menswear collection Polo in 1968. He bought the name polo from Norman Hilton in the early 70s. Ralph Lauren trademarked the brand name so strongly that the word polo could only be used by him referencing his brand.
Ralph Lauren bought Club Monaco for fifty-two point two million dollars in the late 1980s. Club Monaco grew into the higher echelons of fashion and become renowned for its affordable luxury lifestyle in 1999. This brand has continued to grow in popularity and prestige bringing a new lifestyle concept to the everyday American.
In 1974, Robert Redford hired Lauren as costume director for the film ‘The Great Gatsby’, 1974. Most of the male cast were outfitted with selections from his ‘Polo’ line. But Ralph Lauren himself designed the iconic pink suit worn by Redford as Jay Gatsby.
The Wimbledon logo was redesigned because of Ralph Lauren in 2006. He signed a contract with Wimbledon to redesign and dress all the participants such as ball boys court judges etc. He was the first designer to take on this role officially.
In addition to a fashion house Ralph Lauren also owns three restaurants. He has branched out into the restaurant business with the Polo Bar in New York, Ralph’s in Paris, and RL in Chicago. These restaurants serve all different types of food & perfectly portray the essence of style, elegance, and luxury that the brand commends.
Lesson to learn
Ralph Lauren was an immigrant, he didn’t even have an identity for a long time. But he denied settling for less and found out what worked for him. As Ralph Lauren once said- “It’s your choice to decide what looks good on you. What world you fit in. What do you feel about that. And don’t be afraid of having to be one look. Be anything you want to be. And be many things.”