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Ralph Lauren born 1939, is an American fashion designer and business executive, best known for his Polo Ralph Lauren clothing brand, and a global multi-billion-dollar enterprise. He has become well known for his collection of rare automobiles, some of which have been displayed in museum exhibits. As of September 2012, Forbes estimates his wealth at $6.5 billion dollars, which makes Ralph Lauren the 162nd richest person in the world

Ralph Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz in Bronx New York to Jewish immigrants, from Poland 

Lauren attended Baruch College followed by MTA (now known as the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy), before eventually graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1957.

He has said he had had heroes such as John F. Kennedy and James Stewart, hoping to acquire a “movie star” type of personality. In MTA Lauren was known by his classmates for selling ties to his fellow students. In a later interview about his early ambitions he referred to his Clinton yearbook, in which it stated under his picture that he wanted to be a millionaire.

Born Ralph Lifshitz, he changed his surname to Lauren when he was 16 years old“My given name has the word ‘shit’ in it,” he told Oprah Winfrey. “When I was a kid, the other kids would make a lot of fun of me. It was a tough name. That’s why I decided to change it.

Then people said, “Did you change your name because you don’t want to be Jewish?” I said, “Absolutely not. That’s not what it’s about. My cousins who lived in California had changed their last name to Lawrence. So I just thought, “I’m going to pick a nice last name”—it wasn’t particularly connected to anything or anyone.”

Lauren  went to Baruch College where he studied business, although he dropped out after two years. From 1962 to 1964 he served in the United States Army and left to work briefly for Brooks Brothers as a sales assistant before leaving to become a salesman for a tie company.

In 1966, when Lauren  was 26, he was inspired to design a wide, European-style necktie he had seen Douglas Fairbanks Jr wearing, but the idea was rejected by the company he worked for as not being commercially viable.

He left to establish his own company working out of a drawer in the Empire State Building, taking rags and turning them into ties. He sold the ties to small shops in New York, with a major turning point when he was approached by Neiman Marcus, who bought 100 dozen

In 1967, with the financial backing of Manhattan clothing manufacturer Norman Hilton, Lauren opened a necktie store where he also sold ties of his own design, under the label“Polo.  ”

Polo_Ralph_Lauren_Logo_0

He later received the rights to use the trademark Polo from Brooks Brothers, however Brooks Brothers managed to retain its rights to the iconic “original polo button-down collar” shirt (still produced today), in spite of Lauren’s Polo trademark. In 1971, he expanded his line and opened a Polo boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

n 1970, Ralph Lauren won the COTY Award for his menswear line. Around that same time he released a line of women’s suits that were tailored in a classic men’s style, which was when the first Polo emblem was seen.

Ralph Lauren logo
Ralph Lauren logo

It was on the cuff of the women’s suit. Ralph Lauren released Polo’s famous short sleeve pique shirt with the Polo logo in 1972 and unveiled his first Ralph Lauren collection for women came out in 24 colors and soon became a classic

He also gained recognition for his design after he was contracted to provide clothing styles for the movie The Great Gatsby as well as for Diane Keaton‘s title character in the 1977 film, Annie Hall.

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