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30 Unknown Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Ralph Lauren

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Ralph Lifshitz, world renowned as Ralph Lauren with his global multibillion-dollar enterprise Ralph Lauren Corporation, is an American fashion designer, philanthropist, and business executive. Here are some very interesting facts about the fashion designer:

  1. He was born Ralph Lifshitz on October 14, 1939, in The Bronx, New York to Frieda and Frank Lifshitz.
  2. His father Frank Lifshitz, was an artist and a house painter from Pinsk, Belarus of Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. Ralph is the youngest of four siblings.
  3. He attended ‘Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy for two years before graduating from ‘DeWitt Clinton High School in 1957.Later he went to Baruch Collegeat the University of New York to studybusiness, which he did not complete.
  4. He was good at basketball and baseball. He wanted to become a baseball player like Joe DiMaggio or an artist like his father. He drew inspiration from living legends like, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grand and John F. Kennedy.
  5. As a kid, he was made fun of his name, which sounded like ‘Shit,’ hence he changed it to Lauren when he was 16 years old. This name change had many, speculate that he did not want to be a Jew.
  6. After spending two years in the United States army, he worked for ‘Brook Brothers,’ the oldest men’s clothier,as sales assistant.
  7. At 28, working for a tie manufacturer ‘Beau Brummell,’ he conceived the idea of his own brand and in 1967 he started his ‘Ralph Lauren Corporation’ with men’s tie. He delivered his ties to stores selling bomber jacket and jeans.
  8. He made ties out of rags. The ties were as simple as they were but looked different from others. They were wide and unusual. He never wanted to be the greatest he wanted to do his own thing.
  9. Initially he was asked to remodel his ties and replace his name with private label, ‘Sutton East’ at Bloomingdale, which he refused.
  10. In 1968, starting his business in a ‘drawer ‘in the Empire State Building, he named his first line of menswear ‘Polo.’ In 1969, the departmental store Bloomingdale, Manhattan sold Lauren’s men line exclusively.
  11. The Polo player emblem was introduced to the world in 1971, appearing on the shirt’s cuff. Same year he launched line of tailored shirts for women and in the following year he launched first full women’s collection.
  12. The Polo player logo at the chest, one of his signature styles was introduced with his cotton mesh polo shirts in various colors in 1972. The tagline for the ad was ‘Every team has its colors- Polo has seventeen.’
  13. Although Lauren takes credit for the costume wore by Woody Allen and Diane Keaton for the Oscar winning film of 1977 ‘Annie Hall,’it was stated that only one jacket and one tie were purchased from Ralph Lauren.
  14. In March 1978, he launched his ‘Ralph Lauren Fragrances’ at Bloomingdale. He introduced ‘Lauren’ a separate fragrance for women and ‘Cologne’ for men produced by ‘Warner-Lauren, Ltd.’
  15. On June 12, 1997, his company was registered with New York Stock Exchange as public limited company.
  16. In 1986, he opened his first flagship store in the Gertrude Rhinelander Waldo House, at Madison Avenue. He obtained the lease in 1983 and started massive overhaul for around $ 14-15 million.
  17. In March 1999, he opened his restaurant ‘RL’ in Chicago and went on to open two more in New York and in Paris, France.
  18. The official website and online shopping as polo.com was launched in 2000, which was re-lunched as ralphlauren.com in 2007.
  19. Lauren has been featured on the cover of over 100 magazines including TIME and Vogue.
  20. On December 20, 1964, he married Ricky Ann-Beer, in New York City. She was working as a receptionist and a dance teacher. She has also authored a book, ’The Hamptons: Food, Family and History.’
  21. His son Andrew Lauren is a film producer and actor, while his other son David Lauren, is the Vice President of Ralph Lauren Corporation. His daughter Dylan Lauren is the owner of Dylan’s Candy Bar.
  22. In April 1987, he underwent surgery for removal of benign brain tumor. His children were not aware of it till the time of going into the hospital.
  23. Lauren and his family live in a cattle ranch in Ridgway, Colorado, which cover an area of 17,000 square feet.
  24. He is great collector of automobiles with over 70 collection ranging from 1930 Mercedes Benz SSK ‘Count Trossi’ to 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO of extremely rare models. Some seventeen of his collections were exhibited at Paris in 2011.
  25. In 1989, he co-founded the ‘Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research’ with support from Katharine Graham. This center was founded in loving memory of Washington Post fashion editor Nina Hyde, who died of cancer.
  26. In 1998, he donated $ 10 million towards Save America’s Treasure to preserve the original 1813 Star-Spangled Banner flag, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem.
  27. The Ralph Lauren Corporation is the exclusive Official Parade Outfitter for the U.S Olympic and Paralympic Teams. The have the right to manufacture, distributes, advertise, promote and sell product.
  28. He was awarded honorary Doctorate for Fine Arts’ from ‘Pratt Institute’ in 1988 and for ‘Humane Letters’ from Brandeis University’ in 1996.
  29. Lauren is the only designer to win the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s top four awards. He was awarded the first ever ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 1992, the ‘Womenswear Designer of the Year Award’ in 1995, the ‘Menswear Designer of the Year’ in 1996 and 1986 ‘Retailer of the Year’ Award.
  30. Lauren was succeeded by Stefan Larsson, as CEO of Ralph Lauren Corporation from November 2015. However Lauren will continue to serve as executive chairman and head of its design team.
  31. Ralph Lauren Net Worth: $8.2 Billion

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