Ralph Lauren is a fashion maestro who was discontent with the way men dressed in the 1960s and decided to modify this by creating a classy fashion look that he is now well known for. He is also known as the Chief Executive Officer of Ralph Lauren Corporation and a philanthropist.
He had a humble start as a young kid and was not as rich as most kids in his school. He was said to have worn a tennis sweater while his mates wore leather jackets to school and took part-time jobs to fund his predilection for designer clothing.
Ralph Lauren’s Biography
Ralph Lauren is a revolutionary fashion designer who was born Ralph Lifshitz into the family of Frank and Frieda on 14th October 1939 in Bronx, New York City. Both his parents hail from Belarus and were emigrants who had four children of which he was the third. His family lived in poverty as him and all his siblings had to share one room. His father couldn’t provide any better as he was just a painter of Jewish descent. Ralph grew up in the boroughs of Mosholu Parkway but changed his last name in high school to ‘Lauren’ due to frequent teasing by their schoolmates. He did this alongside one of his brothers.
Many would say that he had a fashion sense from birth, however, this is not entirely true. As a young lad, he was interested in sporting activities and thought he would end up a basketballer. However, things changed when he visited a wealthy friend of his whose house contained a separate dressing room. Fascinated by the room’s design, he resolved that he wanted to be wealthy. He began saving up money to purchase designer clothes and had fashion inspirations from renowned fashion icons such as Fred Astaire and Cary Grant.
He attended the DeWitt Clinton High School and Baruch College in Manhattan for his educational pursuits and although he had a flair for fashion, he didn’t study it in college. He went in to study business but dropped out after two years of study.
After dropping out, he began working at Brooks Brothers – a men’s clothier that was located at Manhattan. Prior to that, he enrolled in the army where he served for a number of unspecified years. After working with Brooks Brothers for a few years, he left and began working at Rivetz & Co. as he gathered knowledge on the trade.
Ralph was later employed by Beau Brummell in 1967 where he began his own brand of fashion wares. He started by designing and producing wider ties than was obtainable at the time with some financial help from Brumell. He sold his ties at big stores and recorded huge success. His success in this venture prompted him to go into the production of men’s attire. His design had a mixture of American and English style, blended in a classy manner. He became popular for these designs as well.
In 1971, he began making women designer clothing. In the same year, he opened his first retail shop at Beverly Hills, California. As the years rolled by, he expanded to produce children clothes, home items, footwears among other merchandise. He also scaled up his number of shops to over 110 in the United States, plus 1,300 boutiques. As his business expanded, he went public in 1977.
Awards and Other Endeavors
To his credit, Ralph Lauren has won a couple of awards, such as the COTY design awards (seven times) and the Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was also voted the Designer of the Year in 1996 among other honors and awards. Ralph achieved so much success because he paid attention to the tiniest details; he ensured his clothes were of premium quality and maintained tight control over the brand he painstakingly created. He created the Ralph Lauren Corporation from these principles in 1967. The corporation manages the various brands Ralph produces such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Collection, Double RL, among others.
He is also a philanthropist who enjoys giving out to the less privileged. He founded the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation that caters for the education, health care among other needs of less privileged communities. He also established the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care.
Ralph Lauren is a fashion designer who is popular for his stylish British cum American men and women designer clothes. He founded the Ralph Lauren Corporation and has amassed a lot of wealth from his ventures which has been estimated to worth 7.2 billion, making him the 91st richest person in the world (2018).
Ralph Lauren is married to Ricky Ann Low-Beer, daughter of Margaret Vytouch and Rudolph Low-Beer. He met Ricky just six months before they got married at a doctor’s place where she worked as a receptionist. She also worked as a dance teacher and is an author who wrote the book; The Hamptons: Food, Family, and History.
They got married on December 20, 1964, and have been together since then. The couple has three children together; Andrew, born in 1974; David, born in 1971 and Dylan born in 1969. His children are largely successful in their chosen fields; David took up the family business and is an executive at Ralph Lauren Corporations. Andrew is a filmmaker and actor while Dylan is the owner of a company called Candy Bar in New York.