is an American fashion designer and executive
of the internationally recognized Ralph
Lauren brand of products and clothing.
Lauren was born on October 14, 1939 as
Ralph R. Lifshitz to Fraydl and Frank
Lifshitz, Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants.
He grew up in the Bronx, a neighborhood
in the southern area of New York City,
and acquired a taste for expensive clothing
at an early age. He worked hard to earn
enough money to afford more expensive
clothing, preferring quality over cheaper,
more affordable attire.
he continued to focus on his appearance,
Lauren studied hard in school, attending
the Salanter Academy Jewish Day School
and later MTA and the DeWitt Clinton High
School. He graduated in 1957 with a reputation
as a clothing salesman, having sold ties
to his classmates during his years at
DeWitt. When Ralph Lauren's brother Jerry
changed his last name to Lauren, Ralph
followed suit, discarding the Lifshitz
name in favor of Lauren.
continued his academics at Baruch College
at the City University of New York to
study business. He dropped out of college
after two years and joined the US Army
in 1962 and served for two years.
1968, four years after his discharge,
Ralph Lauren married Ricky Low-Beer. Lauren
began working for clothing companies as
a salesman, selling a variety of goods
from gloves to ties. He eventually worked
for Brooks Brothers and A. Rivetz &
Co. While working at Rivetz, Lauren began
designing his own line of wide ties. He
secured a loan from Norman Hilton to found
his own company in 1968 under the label
Polo Fashions. Lauren later repurchased
the rights to the Polo brand from Hilton.
department store Bloomingdale's originally
tried to prevent Ralph Lauren from selling
his new line of ties and attempted to
persuade him to change the look and label
of the accessories. Lauren resisted and
continued on his quest for quality and
branding. He succeeded, later selling
his goods with Bloomingdale's under his
expanded his tie business to include all
forms of business and casual attire. In
the 1980s, Lauren suits were considered
the high style in corporate circles. Although
his designs were later pushed aside by
designers such as Armani, Lauren was still
able to influence the public through his
wide range of quality casual attire.
Lauren later introduced Polo and Ralph
Lauren lines of linens, perfumes, colognes,
paints, and a variety of household goods.
Ralph Lauren stores are scattered through
the US and his designs are sold in countless
stores and malls.
Lauren has three sons and a daughter.
His son David works as an executive at
Polo Ralph Lauren.
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