Ralph Lauren is a fashion designer, philanthropist, and businessman who has built a multibillion-dollar enterprise. Born Ralph Rueben Lifshitz in the Bronx, New York City, on October 14, 1939, Lauren grew up in a working-class family and began his career selling ties. He later founded his own company, which has become a global fashion empire.

Lauren’s brand is best known for its preppy, American style, which has become a staple of the fashion industry. He is also recognized for his philanthropic efforts, including his support of cancer research and the arts. Despite his success, Lauren has remained grounded and focused on his craft, constantly innovating and evolving his brand to stay ahead of the curve in the competitive fashion industry.

Early Life

Ralph Lauren was born as Ralph Rueben Lifshitz on October 14, 1939, in the Bronx, New York. His parents, Frieda and Frank Lifshitz, were Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants who had fled Belarus. Ralph grew up in the Mosholu Parkway area of the family’s adopted borough.

Ralph’s father was a house painter, and his mother was a homemaker. The youngest of four siblings, Ralph was raised in a modest environment. His family struggled financially, but they placed a high value on education and hard work.

From a young age, Ralph was interested in fashion and clothing. He would often spend hours browsing through magazines and sketching designs. In seventh grade, he began to experiment with his own style, wearing clothes that were different from what his peers were wearing.

After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, Ralph went on to study business at Baruch College. He also took evening classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he learned about design and garment construction.

During this time, Ralph worked part-time at Brooks Brothers, a high-end clothing store. He was fascinated by the store’s classic, Ivy League-inspired style, and he began to develop his own vision for a fashion brand that would embody the same timeless elegance.


Ralph Lauren’s fashion career began in the late 1960s when he started selling ties. He then expanded his business to include men’s clothing, and later, women’s clothing. Lauren’s designs are known for their classic, timeless style and have been worn by many famous people, including U.S. presidents and celebrities.

In 1972, Lauren introduced the now-iconic Polo shirt, which became a staple of the brand. The Polo shirt is characterized by its embroidered logo of a polo player on a horse and has become one of the most recognizable logos in fashion.

Over the years, Ralph Lauren has expanded his brand to include a wide range of products, including fragrances, home goods, and accessories. The brand has also expanded globally, with stores in over 100 countries.

In addition to his fashion career, Lauren has been involved in various philanthropic endeavors. He established the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in Harlem, New York, and has donated millions of dollars to various charities and organizations.

Despite stepping down as CEO of his company in 2015, Ralph Lauren remains involved in the brand as the Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer. His impact on the fashion industry and American culture is undeniable, and his legacy continues to inspire new generations of designers.

Brand Development

Ralph Lauren’s brand development has been an essential part of his success as a fashion designer. He built his brand around the image of an elite American lifestyle, which resonated with people worldwide. Lauren’s brand development started with designing men’s neckties with a wider cut, branding them under the name “Polo,” and selling them at Bloomingdale’s in New York City.

Lauren’s brand development continued in 1968 when he introduced his first full line of menswear under the name “Polo Ralph Lauren.” The line included tailored suits, sportswear, and accessories, all featuring the iconic Polo pony logo. The brand’s popularity grew, and in 1971, Lauren opened his first standalone store in Beverly Hills, California.

Lauren’s brand development continued with the introduction of women’s wear in 1971, followed by the launch of the Ralph Lauren Home Collection in 1983. The brand expanded into fragrances, eyewear, and other lifestyle products, all featuring the iconic Polo pony logo.

Lauren’s brand development has been successful because of his ability to create a lifestyle brand that transcends fashion. His brand represents a vision of American style that is timeless, classic, and aspirational. Lauren’s brand development has made him one of the world’s most successful fashion designers and a billionaire businessman.


Ralph Lauren is not only known for his fashion empire but also for his philanthropic efforts. He has been involved in numerous charitable causes throughout his career, and his foundation has donated millions of dollars to various organizations.

One of the core areas of focus for the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation is supporting cancer care and prevention. The Pink Pony Fund, established in 2000, is dedicated to raising funds for cancer research and care. The fund has supported numerous cancer institutions around the world, providing care for those who are vulnerable.

The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation also focuses on protecting the environment. The company is committed to reducing its environmental impact and has implemented various initiatives to achieve this goal. For example, it has set a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2025 and has implemented sustainable sourcing practices.

Fostering advocacy and access is another area of focus for the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation. The company has partnered with various organizations to promote equality and support underserved communities. For example, it has partnered with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund to support their work in advancing racial justice.

Finally, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation is committed to strengthening community resilience. The company has provided disaster relief for communities affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti. Additionally, it has provided support for veterans and military families through partnerships with organizations such as the USO.

Overall, Ralph Lauren’s philanthropic efforts have made a significant impact on various causes around the world. His foundation’s commitment to supporting cancer care and prevention, protecting the environment, fostering advocacy and access, and strengthening community resilience has made a positive and sustainable impact.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ralph Lauren’s net worth?

According to Britannica, Ralph Lauren’s net worth as of 2023 is estimated to be around $6.3 billion. He has built one of the most successful fashion empires in the world, with his brand being synonymous with an elite American lifestyle.

How old is Ralph Lauren?

Ralph Lauren was born on October 14, 1939, which makes him currently 83 years old.

What are some of Ralph Lauren’s most famous designs?

Ralph Lauren’s most famous designs include the Polo shirt, the double-breasted blazer, the cable-knit sweater, and the iconic Ralph Lauren logo. These designs have become timeless classics and have been worn by people all around the world.

What is Ralph Lauren’s fashion philosophy?

Ralph Lauren’s fashion philosophy is centered around the idea of timeless elegance and classic style. He believes that fashion should be about creating pieces that are not only beautiful but also functional and comfortable. He is known for his attention to detail and his ability to create clothing that is both stylish and practical.

What awards has Ralph Lauren won?

Ralph Lauren has won numerous awards throughout his career, including the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Lifetime Achievement Award, the French Legion of Honor, and the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal. He has also been inducted into the American Academy of Achievement and the Fashion Walk of Fame.

What is Ralph Lauren’s involvement in philanthropy?

Ralph Lauren is known for his philanthropic work and his commitment to giving back to the community. He has donated millions of dollars to various causes, including cancer research, education, and the arts. He has also established the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in Harlem, New York, which provides high-quality cancer care to underserved communities.