A fashion designer, philanthropist, and businessman, Ralph Lauren is the founder of Ralph Lauren Corporation, a luxury brand that produces high-end fashion lines. His net worth is over $6 billion through his stake in his company and multiple other investments. He is quite famous for his car collections, with some even displayed in vintage museums.
Born in 1939 in The Bronx, New York, Ralph Lifshitz was the youngest son of Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. Lauren attended day school followed by the Manhattan Talmudical Academy, before eventually graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1957. In 1962, he went to serve in the United States Army from 1962 to 1964. He then worked briefly at Brook Brothers as a sales assistant and later became a salesman for a tie company.
In 1967, Ralph started Ralph Lauren Corporation which sold men’s ties. He was 28 years old when Beau Brummell’s president let him start his own line. Being interested in sports, Ralph launched a clothing line in 1968, called ‘Polo,’ which made sophisticated sportswear. By 1969, the Manhattan department store Bloomingdale's sold Lauren's men line exclusively. It was the first time that Bloomingdale's had given a designer their own in-store boutique.
Soon enough, Ralph Lauren had become a phenomenon in the fashion industry. It started some other fashion lines of tailored shirts for women, with the Polo player emblem to the world. In 1972, full women’s wear collection was launched. During the same ear, Ralph Lauren developed a signature cotton mesh Polo shirt in various colors featuring the polo player logo. The shirt shortly became emblematic of the Ralph Lauren style.
In 1974, Ralph handled the project of designing costumes for the entire cast of The Great Gatsby in costumes from his Polo line. He went on to design many costumes for exemplar movies in Hollywood. Ralph Lauren started its own luxury and fragrance line. Until now, Lauren has appeared in over 100 magazine issues with some of the prestigious ones. In 2018, he celebrated his brands’ 50th anniversary with Hollywood stars Oprah Winfrey, Kanye West, Robert DeNiro, and Jessica Chastain.
Other than his ambitious fashion label, Ralph Lauren has a gigantic automobile collection with over 100 luxury vehicles to boast about. His cars have appeared at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance twice and have won the “best in show” tag. Coming to his estate empire, he owns a cattle ranch in Ridgway, Colorado which spans 17,000 acres and a 17,000 square foot manor built-in 1919 in Bradford, New York.
Irrespective of how big a spender he seems to be, Ralph also has a heart of gold. When asked about his philanthropic work in 2014, he said "I hate when people call me philanthropic because I see it as more coming from the heart." He has donated huge sums of the amount to various educational, health, and public service sectors. He is also a regular donor to the Democratic Party.