I managed to get a hold of a copy of Town & Country’s October 07 Special Issue featuring the designer Ralph Lauren. The article talks about his early life as a boy and how he didn’t come from a well-to-do home, but rather a middle class upbringing. He was the youngest of 4, and commented that he always seemed to get the hand me downs, but as he got older he earned his own money and bought what he wanted. In 1971 he started designing clothing for women inspired by his wife Ricky. When the couple started dating, they loved to shop together, as he tells about a time when he ventured into a riding apparel store with Ricky and bought her a boy’s tweed hacking jacket which fit her beautifully. From that moment he was inspired to design clothes for women.
Although he never went to fashion school, he knew he had a sense of self direction, and that confidence brought him to where he is today.
“I worked part time at Brooks Brothers and then went to work for a well respected tie company. My colleagues dressed very traditionally, but I was going to custom tailoring, picking my own fabrics and having special suits made with wide lapels and double side vents. I asked for a chance to put together some of my own tie concepts, and even though they were rejected, I discovered I had something to say. I convinced a well established tie company in Cincinnati, Ohio to bring me on, and in 1967 they gave me a “drawer” to work out of in the Empire State Building. I was alone but on my own. I went out and found fabrics in all kinds of places. They were untraditional, flamboyant and dandified.
Ralph Lauren is truly a man who is still in love with his bride, and a family man at heart. It is great to read of such success by a whole family pulling together to grow a business. Today that family business is world wide recognized brand. – Interview from the Book Polo Ralph Lauren UK by Ralph Lauren.