Ralph Lipschitz born in October of 1939 would soon become known the world over as fashion designer Ralph Lauren.
Ralph Lauren’s Family was lower middle class and found themselves struggling often. Lauren had three older brothers and found himself sharing a room with two of them. Ralph Lauren from an early age wished to be different from his poor upbringing. From a young age he took on many extra jobs and bought himself expensive “trendy” clothing which ended up giving him a rather hip reputation around his neighborhood.
Around the age of 16 along with his older brother Jerry, Ralph made the choice to change their last names from Lipschitz to a more modern sounding Lauren. They both say it was because of the constant mocking of their last name but many say it was a denial of their Jewish heritage.
Ralph Lauren did not pursue any type of formal fashion design training rather choosing to get a business degree which he completed most of before dropping out of school. He learned a lot about his trade by the evening jobs he held during this time. Around this time Ralph Lauren began to design a line of wide ties for men and with a $50,000 loan founded the Polo label in 1968.
Another champion of the 1980’s “power suit” the Polo label flourished despite heavy competition from Giorgio Armani. Ever the entrepreneur Lauren would eventually branch out into women’s clothing as well as a line of housewares.
In 2004 the Lauren label created a line targeted to college aged consumers named Rugby. Stores have been opened in Boston and Charlottesville with expansions planned very soon.
After a truly amazing turn around from the manner in which he was raised, Ralph Lauren has turned his upstart fashion label into a powerhouse known the world over and worth nearly 900 million dollars.