ralph. we all know him and i think most of us understand the brand's style, preppy english chic meets the american west.
to me, ralph lauren is pure genius. ralph grew up in the bronx in a working class family but always loved style. his first job was at brook's brothers where he quickly became the best salesman and most stylish employee. ralph started out his career in fashion with designing a small collection of ties, and not just any ties, wide ties that were colorful and collegiate that flew off the shelves in the 70's. after this success ralph was able to find an investor and launch his first menswear collection, shortly followed by a womenswear collection (clothing that allowed women to dress like men, but with a perfectly feminine twist.) it has been said that ralph basically created clothing to create his own perfectly stylish world, or to suit and express his lifestyle. he ignored the hippie fashion of the 70's and stuck to his own vision and dream. today, ralph still does not seek to create or follow trends, and his styles have barely changed. ralph does not even consider himself a clothing designer, but rather a merchandiser and a marketing strategist where he seeks to create the most authentic american lifestyle brand.
what i love about ralph is his timelessness. when i think 'ralph lauren' i think of simple collared shirts, a touch of leather, plaid, new england, tweed, elegant dresses, and an overall glamour without the heaviness and wackiness of following silly trends. i sense such an identity about ralph lauren that i resonate with. did you know that tommy hilfiger in the 90's tried to copy ralph lauren's business plan pretty much to a tee? tommy hired former ralph employees, used the american flag and american lifestyle as slogans/logos, designed almost the exact same clothing, and used the same photographer and models as ralph. but through it all ralph lauren has proved to have that authenticity, that staying power that only results from a designer that truly loves and lives his brand.
ralph lauren encourages me to simplify and be true to my vision. here at purusha i am having sort of a mid-life crisis. my style is changing and i want to make some big changes to my brand, but part of me is really afraid. i'm afraid of losing customers that like what i'm doing now, but part of me feels like a fake for selling some pieces that i don't LOVE. i want to offer less styles so i don't have to continue with this made to order nonsense, and so that i can overall simplify my work and my dream. i've been writing the world 'simplify' in huge letters so often in my notebooks and journal. i just know my business needs to and could be run in a more manageable way. when i look at my 50+ screens for screen printing right here above my desk, i don't like the overwhelming feeling it gives me. just. too. much. stuff. i want less, i want only the very best items in my collections.
so i will admit right here that i feel very lost. it sounds and looks so simple on paper... stay true to you. design what you love and people will notice that love. all you have to do is be yourself and trust what you create. so right now why does it seem so hard? all i know is things gotta change. luckily i am naive (or opportunistic?) and believe purusha will be reborn even better than before. that's why i feel this giant urge to change... time to go into that cocoon.
i wish i could talk to ralph lauren. haha. yeah right. but patrick did schedule me a meeting with the SBA in santa monica next week. i'm going to talk to an expert in merchandising and manufacturing clothing in LA. i often times feel like i need a mentor,someone to help me get my head on straight and steer the course that's leading to what i imagine purusha to be. so i'm excited for that meeting!!
now patrick and i are going to go looks at about 20 boutiques in LA, scout out where i'd like to sell and see what's selling, ya know? so that will be fun!
in close, ralph lauren, you've encouraged me to take some risks in just being myself and trusting the lifestyle i envision. xo!