There has been a lot of buzz about Ralph Lauren lately, as some may know--The Lincoln Center in New York presented An Evening With Ralph Lauren, hosted by Oprah Winfrey, on October 24th just 2 weeks ago. It was a benefit for the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, and just about every celebrity was there in attendance. At the event, Michael Bloomberg, mayor of the City of New York, named October 24th the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention Day. Now, some of you may not know too much about Ralph Lauren, whereas some of you may know him as only a high-end fashion designer. But there's much more to this man, and a surprising story to how he came to his fame. And there's a reason why such a huge event was hosted in his honor.
Ralph Lauren grew up in a middle-class family in the Bronx, New York; his mother took care of him and his three older brothers, while his father was a painter. He saved his allowance to buy high-quality expensive clothing since the age of 12, which ultimately lead to his job at Brooks Brothers as a salesman during his attendance in business school, which he later dropped out of to create his own company. His first company revolved around designing and selling his own ties, under the label "Polo". Lauren never went to fashion school, so he used his imagination and personal creativity to come up with tie designs, which branched into designs of all sorts of clothing, shoes and accessories. He personally designed every detail of every item himself, and the 71-year-old still does to this day. His lines include Polo, Golf, Black Label, Purple Label, Denim & Supply, and many more, which span from aristocratic to country wear to East Coast preppy to even gym and sport wear, RLX Ralph Lauren. His fashion line later expanded into a home line as well, which includes furniture, bedding, dish ware, china, even paint. He even sells his own hand-picked antiques. Ralph Lauren is now considered the world's most successful fashion empire.
The most inspiring factors of the story of Ralph Lauren was his dedication and his passion as a young man, and his proof to the nation that no matter how little money you have, as long as you have dreams with an un-dying passion, you can most certainly achieve whatever you set your mind to. Under Lauren's photo in his senior yearbook is the word "Millionaire", the caption he chose for himself to represent his future. No body back then believed he would actually become a millionaire... and today is net worth is $6.1 billion. He's happily married to his college sweetheart with 3 children, living most of the time in their home in the country. Lauren achieved his highest goals in business, but only after his company almost going bankrupt several times in the beginning. He never gave up, and he consistently held true to his love for class and elegance. His creation of foundations and his generous donations, atop all of these aspects of the man Ralph Lauren is, is what sparked the event held at the Lincoln Center, where Lauren was interviewed on stage in front of the world. Not his success in the fashion and home decor industry alone.
Although, his success is tremendous. His clothing is seen all over the nation as well as the rest of the world, especially his signature polo shirts which house the traditional polo player logo on the left breast. His clothes have a certain air about them; true American in taste with an English touch, always classy and always of immense quality. I personally, as a youngster in my early 20's, admire the brand, especially compared to cheaply manufactured items from generic brands like Old Navy and Gap that so many people wear. What you wear reflects how much you respect yourself, and more importantly how much you respect those around you. If you show up to a classy dinner party wearing jeans and a t-shirt you will offend the hosts as well as the others there. Your attire means so much more than it has become to the younger generation today. Kids with their pants hanging off and exposing their underwear I personally think is a signal of low self-worth along with little respect to the people around them. Where just 50 years ago you had to wear certain attire at dinner, out in public, to friends' houses, etc to even be considered of any class. What you wore was a symbol of who you were. And it still is, although no longer looked upon that way by so many people today. Many young men today don't even own a suit. Funeral dress codes aren't even followed anymore with strictly black in color, conservative clothing; young adults wear inappropriate clothing, and even many adults dress in casual attire and do not wear an all black ensemble. What has happened to respect in the way we dress? Ralph Lauren follows this view of attire in its design and image--it is an extension of who you are that you portray to the world.
Ralph Lauren holds this ideal in all its clothing and home decor designs, proudly holding its title as one of the best clothing brands in existence. Whereas Ralph Lauren himself remains the inspiration behind it, showing the world not only that America takes great pride in itself and its image, and that every individual can promote that too, but that you can achieve whatever you set your heart to, as long as you have passion. And in my opinion, passion is what sets one apart, immediately, from all the rest that are in it for the money or the fame, whatever the case. If you are trying to build a company, you are already ahead of the game if you have a true passion for what you do and a strong foundation for your beliefs. Passion is what drove Ralph Lauren, and today he is one of the most inspirational designers and successful Americans alive.
Follow Chloe Spencer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ChloeSpencer