Ralph Lauren Parsons

Ralph Lauren talks to us, Parsons students

Iconic American fashion powerhouse, Ralph Lauren gave an inspiring talk at Parsons as part of the ‘At Parsons Table’ talks with by Paul Goldberger and I was lucky enough to see him speak.

Ralph Lauren is a huge name in fashion design and seems fashion line embody the wholesome American image which many aspire to worldwide. When he walked on stage at the auditorium he was wearing a brown suede fringed jacket, worn jeans, walking boots, a white polo shirt and a heavy metal belt. He exuded the exact style that thousands try to emulate in wearing his clothes.

Stay in the and believe in yourself
– Ralph Lauren speaking at Parsons 

When he started talking about his past his story proved to be incredibly inspiring yet he himself was incredibly humble. He grew up in the Bronx and played a lot of sport yet was constantly inspired and influence fashion-wise by movies and people he saw. When he started out, he talked about how he would design, sew on the labels and deliver the ties himself. He saw the fashion potential in ties though the company he worked didn’t agree and wouldn’t stock his lines so he was forced to start his own company.

Ralph Lauren also talked about how, during his first business meeting with Bloomingdales, he turned them down as they wanted to change the style of his ties. He believes that by holding strong and saying no to Bloomigdales it led to him having the success he has had. 6 months later Bloomingdales called wanted to stock his line as they were and the rest is history.

He was a true innovator in his field, branching out his fashion line during a time when companies focused on just one product and successfully experimenting with female and children’s wear as time went on. He spoke about how he is always thinking “what haven’t we done and what can we do that’s new?

When designing you want to constantly be developing your design and your voice
– Ralph Lauren speaking at Parsons 

When talking about fashion itself Ralph Lauren has a clear message. His clothes just like his own style, are made to last so that in twenty years you can still be wearing one of his pieces though they may be mixed with something new and of that moment. He spoke about how he looked to the UK when trying to achieve this. America at the time was very much about disposable fashion whereas in the UK people are happier to embrace Vintage clothing so he wanted to create a fashion line that looked both to the last as well as to the future. And boy did he achieve it!

Ralph Lauren spoke about his different brands at different price points that allow everyone to be able to afford one of his pieces. Each brand is different, it has a different voice and his is reflected in how the styles of the various shops and spaces differ. He believe each brand creates the backdrop of the world you want to be a part of.

Express yourself and don’t go with the fashion trends
– Ralph Lauren speaking at Parsons 

Finally, I was lucky enough to have my question chosen. I asked ‘how do you remain cutting edge when you are known for your timeless designs?

To this Ralph Lauren spoke about his love of timeless design but that it is through new technologies that are constantly coming out that keeps them cutting edge. There are so many new things happening that they are constantly blending the new with the old and always considers his customer in everything he designs.

He left us with a piece of advice. Don’t be a fashion victim, have a sense of who you are and find your voice. He told us we could achieve anything we set our minds to and I walked away (in my Ralph Lauren Polo top) feeling incredibly inspired.

So what did I wear? One of his timeless pieces that I have had for years and I believe I will be wearing in years to come. The perfect piece of Ralph Lauren’s design.


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