Done with Ralph

MrRogers

Super Member
Perhaps I am parsing those two sentences incorrectly, but how can Lauren be an innovator if the pieces in question have already been created?

I don't have a beef with Lauren, I occasionally buy some of his higher end work, but to call him an innovator is a little much. He's fashioned an extraordinarily successful business by tweaking looks from the past and selling them as a homogenized modern American prep. I don't hold it against him but I don't celebrate him either.

Innovator in the sense that he takes a piece from the past, brings it up to date with a modern cut and added detail. His color palletes each season are always original and intriguing as well.

MrR
 

Northeastern

Senior Member
I'm an RL addict. I find his shirts fit me perfectly, both the Polos and the Dress Shirts. I can't afford Purple Label, but I have an ample collection of blue label items.

I understand the criticisms that people have of RL because his clothes don't fit every body type. Heck, his shirts fit me well but some of his pants I can't wear at all, mostly because of the strange rise he has on some pants. To each his own, but I don't see any fundamental flaws in his approach or products.
 

Mr. Tartan

Starting Member
It's still a question of fashion, with RL. "Updating" means keeping things fresh - in a fashion context. You'll see it at Brooks Brothers, too. The paisley shorts are a bit much, but I'm not particularly upset about the fit issues - I think all designers have fit issues one way or the other. I am very selective about buying new from RL collections at all. I used to do this alot when I was younger and then, in a fit of foolishness, ditched a suitcase full of cotton lisle polos.

I do like the cricket and polo match stuff, though.
 

Andy

Site Creator/ Administrator
Staff member
And I used to think RL expensive!! On my NYC shopping excursion the least expensive dress shirt I saw was $140 and most were in the $300 range. You can almost get a bespoke shirt (from some) for that!!

RL has lost something when they went public and now have to please the stockholders as well as Ralph, but I still like the "lifestyle" and the price (on sale).

And full-cut shirts say "no skimping on the fabric" to me!!
 

Rocker

Senior Member
From John Seabrook describing Ralph Lauren clothes:

"I was drawn to the most expensive brands. Only a famous label had the talismanic power to ward off the Savile Row succubus that lived in my father's clothes. To my father, the whole concept of designer labels in men's fashion was ridiculous, another triumph of the marketers. What did these swishy women's dressmakers know about making clothes for a man? Ralph Lauren has made a fortune imbuing his brand with images of people like my father, but my father would never, ever wear Ralph Lauren."

The essay is pretty good:
https://www.booknoise.net/johnseabrook/stories/self/closet/index.html
 

Alexander Kabbaz

Tech and Business Advice Guru
Gentlemen:

If you wish to have a discussion of religion's aspects in this matter, please begin a new thread on the Interchange. And if you do, please keep it gentlemanly.

I have removed the last three posts for that reason.

Thank you.
 

gordgekko

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I must admit curiosity as to what about my post was so inflammatory that it and the two responses it generated needed to be deleted.

As I stated, Lauren, his clothes and the accompanying advertising are practically synonymous with aspirational motivation and Lauren's own story underlines that point very neatly.
 

GMC

Inactive user
The thing is ...

I must admit curiosity as to what about my post was so inflammatory that it and the two responses it generated needed to be deleted.

As I stated, Lauren, his clothes and the accompanying advertising are practically synonymous with aspirational motivation and Lauren's own story underlines that point very neatly.

... Ralph's reinvention as a WASP here with new last name, etc., has been written about pretty broadly. For my money you weren't saying anything negative about the man's religion/upbringing -- just commenting on how the man is as much of a brand creation as his clothes are, or that it's all the same ball of wax. Along the same lines, Geraldo Rivera began live as Jerry Rivers, but changed his name/persona in the 60s because he thought the time was right for a new kind of ethnic marketing of himself. These things are just facts, but I guess when you discuss them -- and without a great deal of context around that discussion -- people sometimes thing you are showing some sort of bias. I didn't think you were, and I hope the forum isn't judging you that way.
 

Taliesin

Super Member
I must admit curiosity as to what about my post was so inflammatory that it and the two responses it generated needed to be deleted.

As I stated, Lauren, his clothes and the accompanying advertising are practically synonymous with aspirational motivation and Lauren's own story underlines that point very neatly.

I think I disagree. The post has been removed so I'm going from memory, but didn't you say something like wearing RL clothing "is the route you can take if you are a Jew from the Bronx who wants to seem like a WASP"?

While I certainly don't mean to impeach your motives, I think this kind of phrasing seems excessively harsh. In my observation, Lauren gets picked on (and often referred to, seemingly derisively, by his family name) in a way that seems to say that his image is false specifically because he is Jewish. In other words, his reinvention (the fact of which no one contests) seems to be questioned or mocked in a very specific fashion that is not imposed on the likes of newly British Madonna Ciccone or the WASP-like Martha Stewart (born Martha H. Kostyra).

Example:

Referring to "Lil' Ralphy Lifshitz"

https://askandyaboutclothes.com/community/showthread.php?t=65707&highlight=lifshitz

Another example:

Referring needlessly to "Ralph Lifschitz/Lauren"

https://askandyaboutclothes.com/community/showthread.php?t=60466&highlight=Lifschitz
 

gordgekko

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
> The post has been removed so I'm going from memory, but didn't you say something like wearing RL clothing "is the route you can take if you are a Jew from the Bronx who wants to seem like a WASP"?

I didn't write anything of the kind since your version of what I said presumes some sort of judgment on Lauren himself and people who wear his clothing. What I thought I clearly communicated was that the RL empire was built nearly purely on image, on aspiration. Lauren himself is at the pinnacle of his company's efforts given that he was born of Ashkenazi Jews in the Bronx but if you asked the average man on the street they would tell you that Ralph Lauren is so blue blood that he's related to both the Bush and Kennedy families with a healthy mix of Royal blood. He himself personifies the aspirational character of RL.

I don't judge Lauren. The whole point of the United States is that you can reinvent yourself to be almost anything you like. I praise him for that, not for the 'innovative' nature of his clothing :)

That said, I think we're cruising for a beat down courtesy of Alex if we continue this further.
 

Desk Jockey

Senior Member
Example:

Referring to "Lil' Ralphy Lifshitz"

Funny story, but I refer to him, as I did in that post, with both the moniker and his family name because in the '40s and '50s my great-grandmother was the block mother for he and the other youths in the building. As she always called him that, I suspect it's good enough for me.

About the clothing, I think it over-priced pseudo British crap (as opposed to it's corollary, actual over-priced British crap).
 
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Benjamin E.

Senior Member
>I didn't write anything of the kind since your version of what I said presumes some sort of judgment on Lauren himself and people who wear his clothing. What I thought I clearly communicated was that the RL empire was built nearly purely on image, on aspiration. Lauren himself is at the pinnacle of his company's efforts given that he was born of Ashkenazi Jews in the Bronx but if you asked the average man on the street they would tell you that Ralph Lauren is so blue blood that he's related to both the Bush and Kennedy families with a healthy mix of Royal blood. He himself personifies the aspirational character of RL.

I don't judge Lauren. The whole point of the United States is that you can reinvent yourself to be almost anything you like.

And Ashkenazic Jews born in the Bronx are disadvantiged how?
 

gordgekko

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Hey troll, go feed somewhere else.

Are you dense or are you a representative example of the American public school system? RL sells the WASP image to whoever aspires -- whether consciously or unconsciously -- to be WASP. Are Ashkenazi Jews members of that tribe as well or can you simply not understand plain English? The only one 'disadvantiged' around here seems to be you.

God, or Alex, please lock this thread before more of the sub-literate stumble in here.
 

Alexander Kabbaz

Tech and Business Advice Guru
I am writing the following because I do not want to have to lock this thread as I believe it involves a legitimate discussion. In full disclosure, I have had two historic personal contacts with RL: One was when one of my companies made the samples for his original Polo line. The other is when another of my companies declined to make his (now-called) Purple Label shirts at their first inception. It is from these contacts, and general clothing trade knowledge, that I offer the following information:

Ralph Lauren is Jewish. He changed his name to Ralph Lauren from his given name. This was done decades ago at the time he was semi-sponsored by Norman Hilton and before he was the rock star of the men's clothing world. Knowledge of this, while certainly not widely known amongst the general public worldwide, is also certainly not concealed. This fact is now stated and has no further place in this discussion.

It is generally acknowledged that the primary audience of RL, and the audience to which they attempt to portray theselves as catering, is a W.A.S.P. audience. This fact is now stated and has no further place in this discussion.

I have stated the simple truths in regard to the connection with/influence of/history behind any religious issue which could possibly enter this discussion. If you disagree with my simple summation, PM me with your objection. Do not post it.

The following words/phrases - or any deriviative/contortion/perversion thereof - will not appear hereinafter of we shall delete the entire post:

Any religious denomination
 
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gordgekko

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I wish to apologize for my overheated response to Benjamin E. Though I believe his post was designed to provoke, it spoke poorly of me to respond in such a manner. My apologies to everyone on AAAC and to Alex for having to intervene.
 

shuman

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
My original criticism of RL offerings has nothing to do with his background or religious beliefs. I was referring to the drop in quality and the dramatic change in fit vs. past seasons.

Didnt mean to stir up a hornets nest! I am finding that I enjoy and wear my non-labeled offerings more, such as Bills, Mercer, LE, LLB, etc. Plus, they arent sized for the Thom Browne crowd!

It was stated in another thread how Ralph used models that were more true-to-life than today's heroin-chic models! This is apparently also true in the fit of this clothing.
 

Tom Rath

Senior Member
RL is a brand that has its pros and cons. Its a large company, and there is quite a bit of variation in how each one of his lines are produced. Its such an overgeneralization to say "RL is crap" or "RL is great". It just doesnt work like that. People who want to be black and white about it are uninformed, or just ignorant. Yes, some of RLs goods are made poorly. I will be the first person to agree. However, some of RLs goods are made brilliantly. And there is a whole spectrum in between.

Now, as far as the gripe that RL just takes classic items and copies them, well, sorry, but who doesnt? Is a J press button down a copy of the original Brooks buttondown? Well, yes, actually it is. Is the AE macneil a copy of the Alden Longwing, or vice versa? Yes. Everyone finds inspiration from something else, especially in clothing, where everything is built on what became before it.

Id rather take the broader view, and praise RL for both perpetuating and shaping traditional clothing. And what are the alternatives exactly? Brooks, adrift for years now, wandering aimlessly. J Press, with its overly padded shoulders and overly priced fused suits?

RL is a piece of the puzzle. Just as BB and Press are.
 

Hayek

Senior Member
Their basics--khakis, polo shirts, sport shirts, and a few other things--are all pretty good quality. I would be wary of much of their other stuff, though.
 
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