Iconic designer Ralph Lauren’s first job in the fashion industry was in retail at Brooks Brothers before developing a line of neckties. The brand he established, Polo, is now one part of an international empire that includes fragrances, home furnishings, luxury clothing and dining based on a fantasy aesthetic of upper-crust life. Lauren, a funder of cancer research initiatives, has also used his personal fortune to amass a collection of rare and classic cars as well as a massive Colorado ranch.
With more than 50 years in the business, fashion designer Ralph Lauren has established himself as an industry leader. He is he epitome of the American Dream, proving that if you work hard enough you can achieve your goals.
Inspired by the American lifestyle he rapidly found a niche and created his own signature style. “When I started out, everyone in the fashion world seemed to look toward Europe for newness and real fashion. I was always inspired by America,” he explains.
In 1967, with no formal design training, he launched his brand opening a tie shop. Four years later and he had advanced into the women’s market. From there his career escalated, going beyond just a fashion label and becoming a well-rounded brand. “We don’t only sell clothes,” Lauren once explained, “we are selling a dream and a vision.” As such his empire also includes Ralph Lauren Home, Polo Ralph Lauren and Polo Sport. However, more than just a mega entrepreneur, Lauren, along with his wife Ricky, is also an ardent philanthropist founding various charitable initiatives, including The Pink Pony Campaign that raises money to fight cancer worldwide.
As Ralph Lauren turns 81 today, we honor the designer and look back at some of the most seminal Ralph Lauren moments.