From Rags to Dollars; The History Of Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is an iconic fashion designer known for his classic and timeless designs. His eponymous brand, founded in 1967, has become a global fashion empire with a net worth of over $7 billion. Lauren’s story is one of hard work, creativity, and a deep love of fashion.

Ralph Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz on October 14, 1939, in the Bronx, New York. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Belarus, and Lauren grew up in a working-class neighborhood. Lauren had an early interest in fashion and spent much of his youth working odd jobs to save up money to buy expensive suits. He was also heavily influenced by the movies, which he would watch at a local theater.

Lauren attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, where he excelled in sports and served as the captain of the tennis team. After high school, he attended Baruch College, where he studied business for two years before dropping out to serve in the United States Army. After his service, Lauren worked briefly as a salesman before landing a job as a tie salesman for the menswear company Beau Brummell. It was during this time that Lauren developed his love of fashion and began to experiment with different styles.

In 1967, Lauren launched his own line of men’s ties under the brand name Polo. The ties were made from unusual materials such as cashmere and were sold in high-end stores such as Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s. The ties were an instant success and Lauren soon expanded his brand to include men’s clothing, women’s clothing, and accessories.

The Polo Ralph Lauren brand quickly became known for its classic, preppy style. Lauren’s designs were inspired by his love of the American West and included elements such as cowboy hats, denim shirts, and Navajo prints. His designs were popular with celebrities, including Diane Keaton, who wore a Ralph Lauren suit in the movie Annie Hall.

In the 1980s, Lauren expanded his brand even further, launching a line of home furnishings and fragrances. The Ralph Lauren Home collection included bedding, towels, and tableware, while the fragrances included classic scents such as Polo and Lauren. The brand also expanded internationally, opening stores in Europe, Asia, and South America.

In 1997, Lauren made history by becoming the first fashion designer to be awarded the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognized his contributions to the fashion industry and his impact on American style. In his acceptance speech, Lauren said, “I’m an American designer. I’m proud of that fact. And I’m proud of what we’ve achieved.”

In 2000, Lauren stepped down as CEO of the company but remained active in the brand’s creative direction. He continued to design collections and oversaw the company’s philanthropic efforts. In 2009, Lauren was awarded the French Legion of Honor for his contributions to the fashion industry.

Today, the Ralph Lauren brand is a global fashion powerhouse. It includes several sub-brands, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Lauren Ralph Lauren, and Ralph Lauren Collection made for every generation. The brand is known for its classic, timeless designs and continues to be a favorite of celebrities and fashion lovers alike.

Despite his enormous success, Lauren remains grounded and dedicated to his craft. He once said, “I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.” And indeed, his designs have become a symbol of the American dream. Through hard work, dedication, and a deep love of fashion, Ralph Lauren has become one of the most successful fashion designers of all time worn and loved by all.


Fashion Trends and Influence: Early 2000s

Oh, the early 2000s, what a time to be alive! It was a time when the internet was just starting to gain momentum, and flip phones were all the rage. But most importantly, it was a time when fashion was…interesting, to say the least. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit the trends that defined the early 2000s and today… withstanding the quick turnarounds of internet fashion trends.

First up, we have the infamous low-rise jeans. These were the pants that were so low, they might as well have been a skirt. They were popularized by pop stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, who paired them with belly-baring tops to really show off their midriffs. But what influenced this trend? I have a theory: it was all those low-rise thongs that were also popular at the time. I mean, why wear a regular pair of pants when you can wear a pants-thong combo? adding an extra pop of color never hurt no one.

Next, we have the velour tracksuit. Juicy Couture was the brand that made this trend famous, and it quickly became a staple in every fashion-conscious woman’s wardrobe. I mean, who wouldn’t want to wear an outfit that simultaneously made you look like you were about to hit the gym and lounge on a couch all day? But who influenced this trend? Paris Hilton. She was the queen of the early 2000s, and if she wore a velour tracksuit, you can bet your bottom dollar that everyone else was going to wear one too. Juicy Couture is now making a comeback to their traditional sweat suit world of velvet sweatpants and zip-ups, Uggs, and a handbag with a small dog to hide in.

Another trend that dominated the early 2000s was the mini skirt. And when I say mini, I mean mini. These skirts were so short, you had to be careful not to bend over too far, or you might give everyone a show. But what influenced this trend? I think it was a combination of things. For one, the 90s grunge aesthetic was still going strong, and what better way to rebel against that than by showing some leg? But I also think it had to do with the rise of reality TV. Shows like The Simple Life and Laguna Beach featured young, attractive people who were constantly out and about, and what better way to show off your socialite status than by wearing a mini skirt and a graphic tee about how much you hate your ex? Now… 20 years later, the new rendition of the mini skirt “ironic” look is back and stronger than ever. Small brands like “OGBFF” have brought in the screen printing version of the mini skirt and other internet hot girl looks. Bringing back the traditional “bimbo” look that is being chased now.

Moving on, we have the denim-on-denim look. This trend was all about layering as much denim as possible, and it was often paired with some kind of cowboy hat or boots. But what influenced this trend? I have a theory: it was Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. You might remember their iconic matching denim outfits from the 2001 American Music Awards. I’m pretty sure that moment single-handedly sparked the denim-on-denim trend. Besides a traditional couple halloween costume, there is still some use to denim on denim, other than the infamous “Canadian Tuxedo” – classic looks are still being seen in on the runway and in those front seats of VIPs.

Last but not least, we have the trucker hat. This was a trend that was popularized by Ashton Kutcher and his MTV show, Punk’d. It was all about wearing a hat that looked like it belonged to a trucker, even if you had never set foot in a big rig in your life. But what influenced this trend? I think it had to do with the rise of reality TV once again. Shows like Punk’d and The Osbournes featured celebrities who were more relatable than ever before, and wearing a trucker hat was a way to show that you were just a regular person, even if you were wearing $300 jeans and carrying a $1,000 handbag. Celebrities… they’re just like us!

So there you have it, the trends that defined the early 2000s and still very much today. Coincidentally, we just so happen to created the perfect store to bring back these trends in your own style with the actual items of 2000’s closets here in Jamaica Plain at Diversity Consignment. The cycle of fashion trends always come back to bite us in the ass, whether we like it or not. Stock up on your graphic tees and mini skirts now.

Written by Madison Murillo

Art · Business · Community · Uncategorized

Why is Gender Neutral Clothing Important?

Listen people, it’s 2022. Clothing really has no business being gender specific! Taking a look at the newest fashion lines coming out will give you a perfect example of clothing androgyny and the progression we have made in the past couple decades.

In today’s article I’m going to explain why gender neutral clothing is important. I will cover freedom of expression, some of the challenges with gender neutral lines, the stigma, and where I think the future lies.

This is not an article forcing you to wear gender-neutral clothing or to make you, as a woman, dress like a man or vice versa. It is only my opinion based on what I have seen during my time in the clothing industry and an alignment of what our store Diversity Consignment believes in within our core mission.

Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression can be defined as : You have the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of your choice without interference and regardless of frontiers.

I will define freedom of expression within the clothing industry as the following : The ability to express oneself freely, without restraints, and voluntarily, through the clothing you choose to dawn regardless of specific constraints. Side note: I am not a proponent of blatant disregard for the sensitivities of specific cultures or the use of historical garments for appropriation.

Freedom of expression, especially within the confinement of the United States is a beautiful thing that should be embraced. One of the simplest ways to express oneself is through the clothing that one wears. Want to dress in Crayola colors? Go for it! Want to wear a plaid skirt with Dr. Marten boots? I say, you better take a picture and send it to us so we can promote it!

Clothing should not have gender constraints. They take away the very principle of freedom of expression that has been founded.

Challenges with clothing binarity

One of the major difficulties a lot of men, in particular, may find when clothing shopping in a gender neutral environment is sizing constraints. You see a cute skirt that you want to try on, but find out that the sizing is only constrained to XXS-L in “women’s” sizing. As a 6’4″ 240lb guy that can be a real challenge! What are the options out there?

The same can be said for women. The clothing companies do not take into consideration body shapes, differences, and tastes. There should be no reason why a skirt is not manufactured for men’s bodies as well as women’s. In fact, men have historically worn skirts as well as heels!

The simple fact is this — people come in all shapes, sizes, and with different interests. It’s time for retailers to embrace this.


Another major challenge within the retail world is the stigma. It is challenging for opposing sexes to find a comfortable space where they can shop in the “other” section. There is a lot of separation between areas; men’s and women’s. When the general population sees a man in the women’s section they tend to do a lot of gawking and staring. That is super uncomfortable for that individual. The same can be said for women in the “men’s” section.

As we progress as a society, I must say, this is becoming less of an issue in specific geographical areas. The fact still remains that the stigma is continuously a huge issue that deserves recognition. Living in a diverse community of NYC will show a big difference in the stigma than an area in rural America. That is unfair for individual freedom of expression.

I want to explain a little bit about how clothing styles and sexuality corelate. They Don’t! Just because a man finds a certain blouse nice, does not mean that man is gay. If they are, great! Just because a woman is wearing a Carhartt top with Timberland boots does not mean that they are gay. It is simply an expression of taste through style. Period. Regardless, it’s honestly none of your business anyway so why should you even care??

The future of clothing androgyny

I, for one, am hopeful for the future of clothing and the elimination of stigma and judgement. I have already witnessed lines of bags and accessories that positively embrace gender neutrality. Many of the lines on the runway for 2022 showcase femme skirts on men as well as wide-leg “dad jeans” on women.

I am hopeful that more gender neutral environments will be opening up that decrease the divide. I really am not trying to be political in this article, as I believe that politics have nothing to do with freedom of expression and the comforts that should come with the concept.

We, at Diversity Consignment openly embrace gender neutrality and focus on creating a comfortable environment where men, women, and non-binary individuals can express themselves freely without judgement. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have seen burly, bearded men (prototypical essences of masculinity) trying on a dress and KILLING IT. I hope that we can continue in a progressive direction where everyone feels comfortable as a society.

-Much Love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment