The appeal of ralph lauren?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by esquire., Jul 30, 2004.

  1. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

    Messages:
    20,008
    Likes Received:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    New York City / Buenos Aires
    What is the appeal of Ralph Lauren? I think it's his debonair good looks, that ageing white hair, his little smile, the way he puts his hand up to his chin, overall a certain je ne sais quoi...(I'm sorry I'm laughing too hard, have to stop now). [​IMG] [​IMG] Jon.
     
  2. shoefan

    shoefan Senior member

    Messages:
    853
    Likes Received:
    193
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2003
    Yes, these companies are more than 150 years old, so you are technically correct. However, the concept of a brand, which is promoted and popularized through mass advertising, is really only 150 years old. Prior to that time, companies developed their reputation based on the products themselves, as well as (occasionally) clever marketing. In the context of Ralph Lauren, his rise has been driven by mass advertising, along with his sense of style and often impeccable timing in anticipating fashion trends.
    Well, I only wear sneakers when I'm exercising or doing something that requires athletic shoes. Of course I'm advertising for them, since they all have logos. Doesn't mean I'm happy about it. But, to each his own.
     
  3. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

    Messages:
    20,008
    Likes Received:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    New York City / Buenos Aires
    Nor did I say that I was happy about it, only that I am willing to wear the items, as long as the justification of perfect fit and quality is there.

    Jon.

    No one laughed at my RL pic joke? I thought it was funny...
     
  4. esquire.

    esquire. Senior member

    Messages:
    1,303
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2004
    I didn't mean to imply that his merchandise was junk. But that perhaps a reason people bought it was due to its perceived superiority in quality to other brands. Yet, from this forum, I now know that there are other brands better in quality.

    The preppy thing perplexes me. I mean, other than the two presidential candiadates, it seems that the age of preppy has passed by. You don't see the influence they once had. And, if you lived outside the Northeast, why would you want to dress like one then? No offense to CTguy, but my image of a preppy is somebody spoiled, who doesn't work hard in school because he's got connections.

    And, if people do aspire to this class, why not buy something more authentic like Brooks Brothers.

    The funny thing about Ralph is that he wasn't born a preppy, yet most people believe he is. Would his brand really work if more people knew his real name, and background. But, perhaps it took an outsider to appreciate the apparel of the preppy.
     
  5. faustian bargain

    faustian bargain Senior member

    Messages:
    2,523
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2004
    Location:
    Bay Area
    i think you've hit the nail on the head there. we americans are fascinated with the 'other', and RL is someone who embodies the appropriation of otherness. not only is he selling a cultural signifier to people not necessarily of that culture, he has made himself in that image. in that regard i feel he represents an american version of self-actualization: becoming who you want to be, not just accepting your fate-by-birth. /andrew
     
  6. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

    Messages:
    20,008
    Likes Received:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    New York City / Buenos Aires
    As much as people like to criticize RL for many things, from his name change, to the hiding of his religious background, I would at least try to view him from wide angle lenses.

    To be fair, he might sell the WASP American lifestyle of families' current and past. Think DuPont, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, etc...and the mind conjures vast wealth, spun from generation after generation...yet for all his wealth and public perception, he will never attain what he ultimately desires.

    At the same time, he does come from a long and distinguished line of Rabbi's that is older and more rooted than any of the oldest WASP American families. Thus, he might present a perverted image of the truth, but he's being part of a legacy, a dynasty cannot be denied, regardless if his own self-hate (for lack of a better term), has created a misrepresented version of the truth and an almost $2 billon personal fortune.

    Jon.
     
  7. jpeirpont

    jpeirpont Senior member

    Messages:
    3,983
    Likes Received:
    69
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Location:
    Negrolandia
    I agree with CTGuy the "preppie style" is the way a large section of native New Englanders dress and I'd venture to say it was invented here.
    But I do think has a lot to do with the emulation of the Upper Classes, just by some of the things the items relate to such as Boat Shoes-who's usually involved with sailing, or the "Ivy League look" related items, a one time a bastion for rich kids from prep schools.
     
  8. Mike C.

    Mike C. Senior member

    Messages:
    1,528
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Location:
    New York City
    For me, the appeal of Ralph Lauren is that he continues to deliver a great product at affordable prices. While his clothes are never on the cutting edge of fashion, thowever, they do carry a timeless elegance. His current line would have looked great 10 years ago, and will look great 10 years in the future. What other company can you say that about?

    Also, as others have pointed out, with all the imagery surrounging the product (polo matches, yachting, classic cars, etc...), putting on a RL shirt does make one feel a part of that reguardless of their current situation. It is simply brilliant marketing.
     
  9. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    4,582
    Likes Received:
    11
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    This is pretty much how it works industry-wide. Ralph commissions industry leading companies to produce his designs. Nothing wrong with that. And the merchandise is usually made to his spec, not the makers. Shoes were an exception, but until recently he didn't even own the footwear line.
     
  10. TomW

    TomW Senior member

    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Location:
    the wastes of the Northern Nevada desert
    At the price point, Polo is very high quality, and, more importantly, widely available. Of course there are better quality options, most at significantly elevated prices. As for Brooks Brothers being more 'authentic' preppy wear - not for a very long time. The price is the same or higher and most of the quality is much lower.

    The biggest reason I wear Polo is nobody else makes a RTW line that fits like Polo Custom Fit does - period. I've worn 'preppy' clothes my entire life, long before RL was an institution, he just happens to deliver a few pieces every season that fit in my wardrobe. If they happen to be on clearance at the end of the season, I'll buy.

    Of course I have RLPL items, some Zegna, Lacoste, Brioni and others - all great - none the value that Polo is.

    My $0.02
     
  11. esquire.

    esquire. Senior member

    Messages:
    1,303
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2004
    But, Ralph Lauren has started to outsource a lot of his clothes to China. And, when you mention the poor quality of Brooks, wasn't that a recent thing when they were sold and the buyer decided to change Brooks? I thought that for most of its history, Brooks quality was pretty good. It seems that only recently that preppy people have been buying from RL, whereas they've been buying from Brooks for generations.

    In one of those now crazy posts at askandy, somebody mentioned how the immigrants to America have been hardworking, but also lower class and self-doubting. They were on the outside, looking in.
     
  12. offshore observer

    offshore observer Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    True, although this doesn't necessarily make the quality poor per se. In fact, RL has been outsourcing to various Asian countries for a while now.

    Glad to see you've modified your original post to recognise the quality of the Purple Label line. I'd also extend it to the Corneliani made Blue Label stuff. In fact, I'd look at quality on an item to item basis, regardless of line or country of manufacture.
     
  13. Carlo

    Carlo Senior member

    Messages:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    Agree with much of what has been said... In a nutshell the guy is either very gifted at marketing or has people working for him who are.

    He sells an image - you look at the RL ads and you see Biff and Muffy on their way to the club and subconsciously you think "Well that wouldn't suck".

    He also seems rather adept at not producing anything terribly ugly. A very large percentage of men don't hang out on fashion forums and if you mentioned the names of the producers who make RL's clothes they'd give you a blank stare. BUT... they feel safe and secure in a pair of POLO Khaki's and a white button down shirt with a navy blazer and loafers and they are safe.

    ...and on a chilly fall afternoon those thick, heavy rugby shirts are about the most comfortable and cozy things going.

    ...I still laugh though when he sues Polo clubs for 'infringement' of his trademark... PSsssssst... Ralphie, buddy, Pal... Polo was played for a few years before you started dressing preppies.
     
  14. gregory

    gregory Senior member

    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    I'm attending a business program at an ivy league school. The kids here wear polo ralph lauren, brooks brothers and lacoste almost exclusively. We're talking nantucket red shorts, ribbon belts, polo shirts, boat shoes, pearl earings, louis vuitton luggage, audi sportscars, jeeps, etc. The first day, about 50% had their collars flipped up. The next couple of day, I noticed that individuals who did not flip up their collars previously began to emulate the practice. It's the biggest gathering of the country club set on earth.

    gregory
    with his collar resting down
     
  15. djkovner

    djkovner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2004
    Which "Ivy League" school is that? As far as i know, only Wharton has an undergrad business program and the people there don't dress up in the manner you described.
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by