As a teenager growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, artist and graphic designer Richard “Dick” Tahsin remembered being sold on Ralph Lauren’s dreams. Like many obsessive fans of the brand, Tahsin aspired to live that luxurious Polo lifestyle. Through paychecks he earned as supermarket bag boy, Tahsin used his hard earned cash to buy Polo Green cologne to go with Polo Western Jeans and other Ralph Lauren knit sweaters.
“I was never a big fan of the short sleeve Polo shirt. I always gravitated towards the sweaters. To this day I have a very large Ralph Lauren sweater collection,” Tahsin told Dry Clean Only over the phone. “I liked the lifestyle that he was representing. The whole American dream kind of thing was something that very much appealed to me. As a little kid in Ohio I thought, ‘Hey, if he can do it, so can I.’”
Tahsin’s work as an artist has been cherished for years by Lo Heads and Lo Lifes worldwide. From 1990 to 1996, Tahsin worked in Ralph Lauren’s art department for menswear, where he was tasked with creating the art for some of the brand’s most iconic pieces. The Ski 92 jacket, the Roulette button up, and even the iconic Polo Bear represent just a sample of the artwork Tahsin made for Ralph Lauren during the brand’s golden age in the 1990s.
To discover the legacy beyond some of Ralph Lauren’s most well-known logos and graphics, Dry Clean Only spoke to Tahsin to discuss how he went from being a lover of Ralph Lauren to becoming one of the architects of the Polo subculture.