About The Ralph Lauren Morehouse and Spelman Collection
The heritage of some of our finest American institutions is being honored by one of America’s iconic luxury companies. The Polo Ralph Lauren Exclusively for Morehouse and Spelman Schools Collection, a first-of-its-kind partnership between two of the most prestigious historically Black colleges and institutions in the country, was launched by Ralph Lauren on Tuesday.
Long before Black students of college age were permitted to attend alongside their white counterparts, the promise of America’s historically Black schools and universities has always been the chance to attain distinction. But although decades of HBCU graduates have delivered on that promise, America’s pledges to Black residents have consistently fallen far short. The racial unrest of 2020 drew this stark fact to the nation’s attention.
The Ralph Lauren Corporation pledged to support and advance racial fairness both internally and externally, among the many promises made by firms at that time. According to the company’s news release, one of these was a $2 million donation to the United Negro College Fund in December 2021, which was intended to support scholarships for students at Morehouse, Spelman, and 10 more HBCUs.
What Ralph Lauren has always excelled at is creating classic, exquisite American clothing, and that cooperation has now grown to include that. According to the company, which seeks to give a fresh face to the American Dream, the Polo Ralph Lauren Exclusively for Morehouse and Spelman Colleges Collection is “a limited-edition collection inspired by the institutions’ rich past and renowned traditions.”
The label also acknowledges that its prior representation was inadequate. Within Ralph Lauren’s ranks, Morehouse and Spelman grads developed and created the line. “seeks to honor the history of both schools and widen the aperture of Ralph Lauren’s storytelling, including the nature of life at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), a story untold in depictions of Ralph Lauren’s collegiate sensibility until today,”
Now they say. “This collection expresses the spirited history, deep sense of community and legacy of timeless dressing at historically Black colleges and universities”
The history of Spelhouse comprises a particular sartorial streak, which Polo undoubtedly participated in and to which the current collection pays respect. “Celebrating the sartorial traditions and history of both schools with Ralph Lauren’s signature tailoring, the collection expands the collegiate sensibility intrinsic to the brand’s identity”.
According to the brand’s release, “The white patchwork eyelet and silk wrap dresses, which anchor the Spelman collection, symbolize the highly anticipated white attire ceremony, marking students’ induction into the college. Similarly, the wool flannel blazer serves as an homage to the Morehouse blazer, a garment traditionally bestowed to students during their first days on campus.”
According to a statement made by Ralph Lauren, executive chairman and chief creative officer of the Ralph Lauren Corporation. “It’s so much more than a portrayal of a collegiate design sensibility. It’s about sharing a more complete and authentic portrait of American style and of the American dream, ensuring stories of Black life and experiences are embedded in the inspiration and aspiration of our brand.”
To that goal, popular photographer Nadine Ijewere captured the collection’s advertising. Additionally for “A Portrait of the American Dream” the film’s accompanying actors, creative directors, and cinematographer are all Black. It is a first for a Ralph Lauren in each case. The campaign’s stars, who were mostly students, teachers, and alumni who were pictured on the websites of both Atlanta-based universities, draw inspiration from the communities it wishes to commemorate.
David A. Thomas, Ph.D., president of Morehouse remarked, “Historically Black colleges and universities have uniquely been centers of both intellectual discourse and cultural influence for more than 150 years”
Ralph Lauren put out a statement saying, “The Morehouse partnership with Ralph Lauren intelligently, creatively and boldly puts this intersection on full display, reflecting the breadth of impact we have had in driving societal transformation throughout our history.”
The collection was also inspired by the attire that Morehouse and Spelman students wore in the first part of the 20th century, which was given fresh life in a variety ways like, “outerwear, knits, tailored suits, dresses, footwear, accessories and more”.
Ralph Lauren is also creating a commemorative yearbook, a short film, a campaign, and “dynamic digital and in-store presentations” with both historical and modern content to assist customers in “experiencing the story of this collection, beyond the product”.
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D. president of Spelman College explained, “Spelman College’s culture is a powerful combination of both community engagement and confident self-invention. This collection celebrates the inventiveness of individual style when it intersects boldly with institutional tradition”.
The collection promotes discussions on the creative potential of the Black experience and the manner in which a personal fashion style interacts with institutional principles of solidarity and connection by using apparel to share the early history of Spelman as it is mirrored in archival research.
For individuals who are understandably curious about how Ralph Lauren’s dedication to representation goes beyond aesthetics, the brand states that it’s, “Also actively facilitating career pathways for Black talent by deepening internship, recruitment, mentorship and development programs… While also expanding talent acquisition relationships with HBCUs beyond the traditional recruiting season”.
On March 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET, a few Ralph Lauren social media sites hosted the launch of the marketing film for the Polo Ralph Lauren Exclusively for Morehouse and Spelman Colleges Collection.
The collection, which is available while supplies last on the Polo App, the Ralph Lauren App, the Morehouse and Spelman Follett campus bookstores, and in some Ralph Lauren locations, will also be made online available the next day on RalphLauren.com.