Every person has heard about the American Dream at some point in their life, but only a few have managed to turn it into reality.
Born in the Bronx to an immigrant Jewish family, Ralph Lifshitz was, at first glance, just another normal kid who would spend his lifetime working a regular job while living a mediocre life.
With only one dream, a strong passion for fashion and an immense will to get out of poverty, Ralph Lauren managed to realize his dream. Today he is considered one of the world’s most recognized designers.
Faced with violence throughout his childhood, Ralph even had to change his last name to Lauren early in his career – which ended up being a pretty good decision.
From a young age, Lauren was faced with numerous challenges. Later in his career, he suffered a serious illness – a brain tumor, which fortunately was successfully cured.
All the challenges he faced over the years made him a stronger man, who today is considered one of the most popular designers, philanthropists and car collectors in the world – all with a touch of his recognizable classic style.
How Ralph Lauren became one of the most famous names in fashion, what he had to go through and how he rose from the bottom, will be revealed below!
Ralph Lauren (formerly Ralph Lifshitz) was the youngest son of four siblings. He was born in the Bronx, New York City, in 1939.
His parents, Frank and Fraydl, were Jewish immigrants from Europe who struggled within their small neighborhood to provide their kids a pleasant upbringing.
People who have known Ralph since he was a little child have seen his potential. Ralph was a creative boy with a vivid imagination. To escape his situation, he frequently went to the movies and fantasized about being a well-known actor..
In high school, Ralph set a goal of becoming a millionaire one day. He was influenced by famous actors like Cary Grant and Fred Astaire. From a young age, he was well-known for his distinctive style, combining old-world grace with traditional preppy attire.
A fashion lover like him had to find a part-time job to finance his passion.He enrolled in the business school at Manhattan’s Baruch College after graduating from high school. Ralph chose to leave college after just two years of study and recognized he did not belong there. He then opted to focus solely on fashion.
His enthusiasm and love for fashion were interrupted once more in 1962, when he served in the United States Army for two years. He returned from the service in 1964, married Ricky Anne Loew-Beer, with whom he now has three children, and started out to pursue his aspirations.
Dissatisfied with the way men were dressing, Ralph decided to make the clothes he wanted to wear. He turned his dreams into reality by creating preppy clothes as none saw before. He brought elegance and classics to the clothing of many generations. Forever changing the attitudes of the time that you can’t do anything if you don’t come from money.
At the age of 24, Ralph Lauren started to realize his dreams. He started his fashion career with a sales job at the Brooks Brothers in New York.
Inspired by an unconventional way of dressing, Ralph releases a new collection of ties in 1967, which he refers to as “wide and unusual”. The men’s ties released that year culminated in the creation of the well-known Ralph Lauren Corporation. Ralph sold his ties from store to store and from a booth in New York City’s Empire State Building. $500,000 worth of ties were sold in just one year, which was a real boon to his career
Lauren defined the Polo apparel line’s aesthetic as a “tweedy English-American appearance with a French shape”, and the Ralph Lauren Corporation soon after blossomed into a lifestyle brand
The moment that shaped his unique style for fashion was the first polo match that Ralph went to with his friend Warren Helstein. Surrounded by silk, leather, horses and the high society of that era, the environment that was foreign to the young designer became a source of his inspiration.
In the 1970s, Ralph launched the first authentic cotton polo shirt on the market, along with the first women’s collection – which resulted in this brand becoming one of the most recognized in the world. Today, they offer everything from apparel and accessories to home items and fragrances.
In 1997, Ralph made the decision to take the company public, introduced shareholders and a board into the picture, and still retained 81.5% voting power.
With only a dream and hard work, Ralph managed to make himself one of the world’s most successful fashion designers with a net worth of over $6 billion. Designing everything from costumes for films like The Great Gatsby and Annie Hall to USA Olympic uniforms, Ralph has left an indelible mark on fashion history in his varied career, paving the way for new designers of the same background.
When Ralph’s career and company were at the top of the fame, something happened that quickly brought him down to reality. During the 1980s, Lauren was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Fortunately, it was treatable and the doctors successfully removed it, leaving Ralph with nothing but a life lesson.
After facing this big challenge, Lauren started doing humanitarian work wherever he went, mostly focusing on cancer research and treatment.
In 1989, Lauren founded Georgetown University’s Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research, and collaborated with various cancer research charities such as the Pink Pony Campaign, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in Harlem.
Ralph does not like to say that he is a philanthropist, but says that everything he does, he does from his heart.
Starting from the bottom, from the suburbs, in a large family, Ralph Lauren seemed to have no chance of success. Only with his dreams, strong will to succeed and faith in himself, he managed to become what he is today.
He did not come from a rich family, nor did he have help building success in the fashion industry. His passion for the work he loves and his great desire to turn his dreams into reality have resulted in the fact that today almost every person knows who Ralph Lauren is. Many have worn his famous polo shirt at least once in their life.
“Success is not measured by the position you have reached, but by the obstacles you have managed to overcome.” Booker T. Washington’s quote emphasizes the inevitability of obstacles and challenges on the road to success.
Failure and success are inextricably linked: if you want to achieve, you must make errors or learn from those who have. Successful individuals are not born that way; rather, considerably more effort is required for that recipe.
Some of the best tips for success and making yourself a better person are:
1. Set a goal
Successful people make long-term and everyday objectives for themselves. Find success by setting thought-out, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals. Set many smaller, everyday goals to assist you reach your long-term vision.
Successful individuals never surrender. Failure serves as an extra motivator for them, and the repeated “let’s move on” reinforces them. Develop the determination to keep moving ahead in the face of adversity.
3. Maintain your modesty.
Success does not have to be accompanied with ego. In fact, many successful individuals lack it entirely, because they are aware that numerous causes are at work and that some failures might be attributed to their own faults. Remember that you are solely accountable for every element of your life, including success and failure.
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