The brand was launched in 1967 when Ralph Lauren, born Ralph Lifschitz, got a $50,000 loan. Prior to starting Ralph Lauren, he worked for Brooks Brothers. In 1968 he started a line of men's ties. By 1969 he had a boutique store within the Manhattan department store Bloomingdale's. In 1971, Polo Ralph Lauren launched its first women's collection and his first standalone store in Beverly Hills, California. Ten years later, in 1981, the brand went global with its first international store on London's New Bond Street. The Polo Sport line was introduced in 1993.
The brand now produces clothing, accessories, fragrances, furniture, operates the restaurant RL in Chicago, and sponsors a Harlem cancer center in association with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The flagship store is located in the former Rhinelander Mansion on Madison Avenue in New York City.
Other flagship stores are located in Chicago, East Hampton, London, Miami, Milan, Palm Beach, and Tokyo.
Ralph Lauren is one of the largest retailers in the United States with revenues reaching $4.2 billion in 2007.
One of the most famous pieces in the Polo line is the classic polo short-sleeved knit shirt featuring the now-iconic Polo player on the left breast of the shirt. This shirt in particular became a fashion must-have in the 1980s with the preppy set. Other Polo classics include the cashmere cableknit sweater, chinos and the oxford cloth button-down shirt.
Since Ralph Lauren's first brand, Polo, was launched in 1967, the company has expanded to include a variety of luxury brands. They include:
Clothing for men
- Purple Label: Launched in 1994, this is Ralph Lauren's signature, and highest end, men's line, with classic, traditionally British styling. It includes ready-to-wear suits and sportcoats (made by St. Andrews and Cantarelli), dress shirts, sportswear, accessories, and footwear, as well as a collection of made-to-order suits, sportcoats, shoes (made by British company Edward Green), dress shirts, exotic skin luggage, small leather goods, and jewelry. Purple Label is only available in Ralph Lauren stores, the company's online store and high-end department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
- Black Label: Black Label for men tends to have a more modern, Italian cut to its suits, sportcoats (made by Raffaele Caruso), dress shirts, and sportswear, with higher armholes and a slimmer silhouette. Black Label was started in 2005 and is also only available in flagship Ralph Lauren stores, the company's online store and selected high-end department stores.
- Polo Ralph Lauren: His first brand for men, and also the most widely available. This 'blue label' line spans from tailored clothing (ready-to-wear and made to measure), sportswear, accessories (including luggage) to small leather goods. Available at many department and specialty stores as well as Ralph Lauren stores and the company's online store.
- Polo Golf: A sporty collection catering to golfers since 1987 and often featuring celebrity golfers as advertising models (see Sports sponsorship below).
- Polo Jeans Co.: Denim inspired line. Now discontinued in the US.
- Polo Denim: A 2007 relaunch of the Polo Jeans Co. line of 1996. Denim basics available online and in department stores.
- Lauren Ralph Lauren: Basics and suiting. Divided into Green and Silver (slightly slimmer cuts) Label. Available primarily through department and outlet stores, and not at RL stores or ralphlauren.com.
- Ralph by Ralph Lauren: Exclusively available at Dillard's stores, this label offers suits, sport coats, dress trousers and suit vests.
Clothing for women
- Collection: The highest end clothing line for women (also carries a purple tag), as seen in his runway shows. Includes classic eveningwear, tailored blazers, outerwear, sportswear, handbags, and accessories.
- Black Label: An extension of the Collection line, with modern, high-end casual and semi-formal women's wear.
- Blue Label: Introduced as Blue Label in 2002. Similar in price point and styling to the Polo men's line; has classic American styling. Knit polo-style shirts with the Polo pony are part of the Blue Label line. Blue Label is available exclusively through Ralphlauren.com and through Polo Ralph Lauren stores, including factory outlet stores.
- Lauren Ralph Lauren: Less pricey versions of Blue Label styles. Available at Ralphlauren.com and higher-end department stores. Available in Plus sizes.
- RALPH by Ralph Lauren: A now discontinued line for younger women, created in 1999. Desbribed in the history section of the company's web site as: "RALPH is the daughter of the Lauren woman—reasonably priced Ralph Lauren clothes for young women who want to be part of the lifestyle."
- Ralph Lauren Golf: Golf attire collection for women. Launched in 1998.
- Lauren Jeans Co.: The casual version of Lauren Ralph Lauren. Denim and casual basics available at Ralphlauren.com and in department stores.
Clothing for men and women
- RLX: A technical sports apparel line, focusing on clothing and outerwear built for outdoor sports such as tennis, golf, skiing, sailing, and hiking, launched in 1998. Primarily distributed through RalphLauren.com
- Polo Sport: A discontinued line of casual sports clothing that was introduced for men in 1993 and women in 1996. It was retired in 2005 and ultimately replaced by RLX as well as the Golf and Tennis lines. The Polo Sport fragrance lines continue to exist as remants of this label (see Fragrances below).
- RRL (pronounced "Double-R L"): A denim and sportswear line that takes its influence from the American West. Available in Ralph Lauren stores as well as several smaller signature Double RL stores.
- Rugby Ralph Lauren: A brand launched in 2004 focusing on collegiate apparel with a similar look to the pricier Polo and Blue Label brands. Sold at signature Rugby stores and through rugby.com. Not available at RL stores.
- Tennis: Sports clothing for tennis players. Special collections for the US Open tournaments (see Sports sponsorship below).
- Pink Pony: A charity line of sportswear and accessories all carrying a pink Polo pony. A portion of the proceeds benefit cancer research. Predominantly for women, the line also includes polo shirts for men.
- Create your own: A special collection of shirts, polos and hats as part of the Polo or Blue Label lines that can be monogrammed and individually arranged in terms of color and embroidery. Available at ralphlauren.com since 2003.
Clothing for children
- Ralph Lauren Children and Baby: Subdivided into Boys (sizes 2-7 and 8-20), Girls (sizes 2-6x and 7-16) and Baby (Layette and Infant, newborn to 24 months, boys and girls). Available at RL stores, ralphlauren.com and better department stores.
some children's wear includes: shoes, clothing and accessories
- Ralph Lauren Home: A luxury home furnishings and accessories line, including furniture (manufactured by Henredon furniture company), fabrics, tabletop, decorative accessories, bedding, bath, and paint. Sold to the trade and in Ralph Lauren stores, the company's online store as well as in select department stores.
- Lauren Home: An upscale home brand, carries only tabletop, accessories, bedding, and bath. Sold primarily through department stores.
- Ralph: A low priced and low thread-count line of urban bedding and bath towels available in the mid-1990s and subsequently discontinued.
- Ralph Lauren Paint: Featuring more than 500 colors, interior paint is offered under this label at ralphlauren.com, The Home Depot and selected specialty retailers.
The following labels are not immediately recognizable by the consumer as belonging to Polo Ralph Lauren, Inc.:
- Club Monaco: a modern label with classic New England influences, styled for men and women that operates its own chain of stores as exclusive points of sale.
- American Living: Classic, all-American collections including apparel for men, women and children as well as home sold exclusively at department store retailer JCPenney since January 2008.
- Chaps: Similar to the Lauren brand, though with a slightly lower price point. Sold at Kohl's, Dillards and Belk department stores. A true lifestyle brand, it offers items for men, women, children and also the home.
Polo Ralph Lauren corporation has launched various fragrances and related body care products for men and women since 1978. The products are manufactured under license by L'Oreal.
|Men's fragrances||Women's fragrances||Men's and women's fragrances|
In 2006, Polo Ralph Lauren became the first Official Outfitter of Wimbledon, redesigning the outfits for ballboys, line and court judges. The Wimbledon logo was adapted for this purpose. Ralph Lauren's Polo brand and style was used and a range of clothing for men and women was launched on June 26.
In 2005, Polo Ralph Lauren and the USTA signed a four year partnership making Polo the official apparel sponsor of the US Open throughout 2008. All on-court ball persons and officials will be dressed in specially designed Ralph Lauren apparel.
The company also sponsors US professional golfers Tom Watson, Jonathan Byrd, Davis Love III, and Luke Donald; as well as LPGA golfer Morgan Pressel.
In April 2008, Polo Ralph Lauren won the U.S. Olympic contract to outfit the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. Roots Canada Ltd. had announced its ending as the official clothing supplier to the US Olympic team on April 7, 2008.
In July 2009, it was announced Polo Ralph Lauren will continue its partnership with the U.S. Olympic team for the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics.
- "Polo Ralph Lauren to Sponsor Morgan Pressel", Business Wire: 1, 2006-03-15