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Essential Journal

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Ralph Lauren: The Designer Behind your Favourite Designer

Achieving the American dream, stitch by stitch 

Forefather of prep and fabled curator of the quintessentially American wardrobe, Ralph Lauren the brand, just like Ralph Lauren the man, represents a name so ubiquitous it almost needs no introduction. Almost. Known predominantly for its preppy, Ivy League standing, Ralph Lauren seems like an unlikely forerunner in the streetwear scene. But in some ways, that’s precisely what it is. 

Ralph Lauren is a brand very much forged in the flames of the hussle; rags to riches, through and through, Ralph Lauren the man built the brand from a single drawer in the Empire State Building over 50 years ago and, in doing so, became uniquely responsible for the birth of the lifestyle brand as we know it today. 

That’s not to say that our man Ralph has endured all these years by rolling out season upon season of beach towels and scented candles. No, we’re not talking about that kind of lifestyle. We’re talking about a singular, almost obsessive passion for style that celebrates  the rich, associative ties between what you wear and how you live; how you dress and who you are. He did this by curating a unique and coherent visual style that took its cues from a myriad of cinematic, musical, and of course sporting references. The result? POLO: Ivy league given form; a sartorial style that sings of the academic elite; a little slice of the american dream.

It’s POLO’s one-of-a-kind mash-up of prestige and mass appeal that has provided the foundations for the brand’s five decade-long success streak. Ralph Lauren is, by turns, the first word in haute couture and the last word in streetwear style and ease. It’s one of the first brands to truly capture the American dream, and with it, the hearts and minds of early-adopting fashionistas and classic style curators alike.

And how could it be any other way? For over fifty years, Ralph Lauren has shaped the way we perceive and create menswear. It knows no bounds, no age bracket, no so-last-year expiration dates. Ralph Lauren has become a universal language: A collective, communal social history, bound by a unique style and propelled by a singular vision. In the words of Ralph Lauren himself: ‘I don’t design clothes. I design dreams’.