Polo Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren, born Ralph Lifshitz, was born in the Bronx in 1939. Lauren was a sartorially-inclined businessman from the beginning. As a high school student, he’d work at Alexander’s department store after school and sell handmade ties to his classmates at a markup the next day. After graduating and spending two years in the U.S. Army reserves, Lauren became a neckwear salesman at Brooks Brothers. Soon after, Lauren started to design his own neckwear with the Ivy League aesthetic in mind. Brooks Brothers wouldn’t allow Lauren to work on his designs which led him to the upscale neckwear boutique, Beau Brummell, in 1967.
1967 would also be the year the Ralph Lauren brand was born. The early-’70s were huge for Lauren as he opened the Polo by Ralph Lauren shop in Bloomingdale’s in 1970, a standalone store in 1971 and introduced what is now commonly known as the Polo Shirt in 1972. Despite several diffusion brands and decades of collections, the Polo Shirt is easily the brand's single most iconic item to this day.
In 1991, Lauren received a teddy bear that was wearing miniature Polo clothes as a gift from his staff. The gift sparked what would become Polo’s second most iconic logo: the Polo Bear. Since the early-’90s, the bear has been embroidered on everything from sweaters and T-shirts to caps and beanies. The following year, The Stadium collection, a performance-driven activewear collection known for its bold colors and graphics, was released to acclaim.
At this point, Ralph Lauren collectors around New York City were forming crews. These groups, the most famous of which are the Lo Lives, were fanatical in their love of Polo gear, going so far as to steal Polo from department stores. In New York City in the 1990s, you had to be a bold individual to wear Polo, especially anything with a Polo bear logo, a piece from the Stadium or Snow Beach collections. While Ralph Lauren’s designs were always desirable thanks to their implied connection to Lauren’s vision of luxury, it was cosigns from rappers like Raekwon that helped cement Ralph Lauren as a cultural favorite.
To this day, Polo remains relevant by releasing new, highly-coveted products like its collaboration with Palace and re-releasing the iconic Stadium and Snow Beach collections.
Is Polo Ralph Lauren the same as Ralph Lauren?
Polo Ralph Lauren is a brand within the larger Ralph Lauren family of brands.
Where is Polo Ralph Lauren made?
While certain pieces are made in Italy or throughout Europe, the bulk of Polo Ralph Lauren is made in China.
Is US Polo Association the same as Polo Ralph Lauren?
No, the company is of no relation to Polo Ralph Lauren.