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Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren has build a fashion empire that is worth billions.

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  • Ralph Lauren (the founder)
    Ralph Lauren was born on October 14, 1939 to immigrants Frank and Frida Lipschitz. His father was a house painter. The family was part of a society that was far different from the country club, old money image of what would eventually become Polo Ralph Lauren.

    At very young age, Ralph started working after school to earn money to buy stylish, expensive suits. Even then he preferred quality over quantity, and his attire soon gave him a trendy reputation among his peers.At age 16, Ralph and his older brother Jerry changed their last-name from Lipschitz to Lauren. Some people consider this a denial of their Jewish heritage; Ralph considered it necessary for success.

    Although Ralph Lauren's future was destined to be in the clothing and fashion industry, Lauren did not attend fashion school. Instead he went to the City College of New York where he studied Business. He dropped out after two years. From 1962 to 1964, Lauren served in the United States Army. Ralph Lauren married Ricky Low-Beer in 1964. He then worked as a Brooks Brothers salesman before purchasing the Polo label that he started from Brooks in 1967. In 1968, he opened his own tie business, Polo Fashions, after securing a $50,000 loan from a financial backer. Since then, Lauren's fashion empire has grown into a billion dollar business.In the mid-1990's, Polo Ralph Lauren became a publicly traded company and was traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RL. In late 2004, Lauren added a new brand under his name called Rugby, which he targets towards college consumers. So far he has opened stores in Boston, Charlottesville and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and plans on expanding. Ralph and his wife, Ricky, have two sons and a daughter: Andrew, David, and Dylan. David is an executive at Ralph Lauren Media. Ralph Lauren is also well-known as a collector of classic automobiles. His cars have won best in show at the prestigous Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance multiple times. His collection was recently displayed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

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