The legend of Ralph Lauren is a hallmark story of the American Dream. Born in the Bronx to Jewish immigrants, his determination and success has inspired 5+ generations to look good and dream big. Starting with only ties in 1967, the self-taught Ralph Lauren worked out of a single drawer from a showroom in the Empire State Building, making deliveries himself to small boutiques. A year later, after a game changing order from Neiman Marcus, he started his first full line of menswear that was more than a trend following brand. It was, and still is, a portrayal of the ultimate living experience. Drawing on his interest in sports, he named the collection “Polo,” believing that the sport was representative of the aspired class and style of his clothing. In 1971, the iconic polo player emblem, created by tennis pro René Lacoste, was introduced, but it was in ‘72 when Polo released a collared short sleeve cotton shirt in 24 colorways emblazoned with the now famous logo. That panache of vivid color and bold graphic became synonymous with the label and by ‘77, Polo dominated the preppy look.
But Ralph Lauren’s legacy didn’t only speak to privileged society - the success of his personal aspirations and the boldness of his designs inspired a devoted subculture that grew out of an unlikely place: Brooklyn’s Lo-Life gang.
1980’s Brooklyn was a high crime, difficult place to scratch out a living and it was here that Polo became a beacon of upward mobility. The now legendary Lo-Life gang is responsible for the streetwear prestige of Polo and is now an international community celebrating what it means to survive, thrive, and look good doing it.
Ralph Lauren Polo championed American style so successfully that it helped shift the zeitgeist of worldwide fashion. The trendless leadership of Polo continues today for all the fashion kids and style kings.