Ralph Lauren Company History Polo has become a brand with unmatched recognition in the marketplace, offering the best of menswear, womenswear, childrenswear and home design.Polos design excellence works in concert with its disciplined business approach, and these two traits together have allowed the Company to set the standard for the industry.
Company History• Founded by American designer Ralph Lauren in the late 1960s, the company boomed in the 1980s as Laurens designs came to be associated with a sophisticated and distinctly American attitude.• What began forty years ago with a collection of ties has grown into an entire world, redefining American style.• Ralph Lauren has always stood for providing quality products, creating worlds and inviting people to take part their dream. They are the innovators of lifestyle advertisements that tell a story and the first to create stores that encourage customers to participate in that lifestyle.• The companys first products were wide ties, but it soon designed and manufactured an entire line of menswear before entering the more lucrative womens fashion market as a designer and licenser.• By the 1980s, the Polo/Ralph Lauren name helped sell a wide array of products, including fragrances and accessories for men and women, clothing for young boys and infants, and a variety of housewares, shoes, furs, jewelry, leather goods, hats, and eyewear. Menswear accounted for 42 percent of 2003 sales of $2.44 billion.
History Timeline…• 1967:Ralph Lauren establishes the Polo label with an instantly successful line of ties. In direct opposition to the narrow ties and conventional styles of the time, Lauren designs wide, handmade ties using unexpected, flamboyant, opulent materials. The ties quickly become a menswear status item.• 1968:His exceptional ties are only the first step. Ralph Lauren is at the forefront of the men’s fashion revolution in America. He is the first to merge classic American style with the refinement, tailoring and sensibility of European fashion. Lauren establishes Polo as a leading menswear company dedicated to providing a total look.• 1969:Polo by Ralph Lauren establishes the first shop-within-a-shop designer boutique for men in Bloomingdale’s in New York City.
1970’s• 1971: The 1970s open with the introduction of Ralph Lauren womenswear. Lauren creates a daring line of men’s tailored shirts for women—reinventing a classic men’s look for women’s style.• 1972: Polo’s original mesh shirt with the polo player logo is introduced in 24 colors. No other sport shirt offers the same combination of quality and variety. The shirt instantly becomes an American classic. Polo Ralph Lauren romances the preppy heritage of American menswear, creating what will be a major touchstone for the company in the years to come. The Polo mesh shirts—along with the oxford button-down shirts, chinos, tweed jackets, denim and chambray shirts—develop iconic status as the embodiment of the Polo lifestyle.
1970’s• 1975:Ralph Lauren wins the American Fashion Award.• 1977: Ralph Lauren enters the Coty Hall of Fame for Womenswear.• 1978: Ralph Lauren makes fashion headlines and captures the country’s imagination with the launch of his Westernwear collections for men and women. Drawing on our American heritage and his own personal style, Lauren’s Western looks are authentic and highly spirited—including rugged shearling vests, rancher’s jackets, prairie skirts and fringed buckskin.
1980’s• 1983: The Ralph Lauren home collection debuts. Ralph Lauren makes history as the first fashion designer to launch an entire home collection. The luxurious line includes bedding, towels, area rugs, wall coverings and tabletop and table coverings, which combine to create a timeless, and truly American, home.• 1986: Polo Ralph Lauren opens a flagship store in the famous Rhinelander mansion on Madison Avenue at 72nd Street. Originally designed by Kimball & Thompson in the 1890s for a society matron who fell into debt during construction, the Rhinelander was never lived in; it was divided into retail spaces, and it slowly fell into disrepair for almost a century.
1990’s• 1993: The Polo Sport line is introduced as Ralph Lauren meets the national changing attitude toward fitness and health with an entire fitness lifestyle. At the same time, the first Polo Sport store at 888 Madison opens a cross the street from the Rhinelander mansion.• 1977: Ralph Lauren receives CFDA’s 1996 Menswear Designer of the Year Award.• 2000:Ralph Lauren Media opens the Polo.com Web site. For over 30 years, Polo Ralph Lauren has reflected the American lifestyle on a global scale—now Polo.com will transform the world of Ralph Lauren from multipage magazine ads and four-walled retail stores into the dynamic full motion and sound experience of the Internet.
2000’s• 2002: Having started the company with 26 boxes of ties in 1967, Ralph Lauren celebrates the 35th anniversary of a now $10 billion global business that produces designer menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, home collections and fragrances• 2008:Polo Ralph Lauren outfits the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. By providing an elegant and contemporary style that reflects the sporty sophistication and refined sensibility of the brand, the Opening Ceremony Outfits evoke the heritage and legacy of the 1920s and ‘30s and create a chic and uniquely American look for the team.
References• About Ralph Lauen. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2011. <http://about.ralphlauren.com/history/history.asp>.