Few designers are as celebrated as Ralph Lauren. Women’s Wear Daily recently interviewed the American talent as his Ralph Lauren brand approaches its 50th anniversary. In the in-depth interview, Lauren spoke candidly on a number of subjects, including his thoughts on being the head of a public company, celebrity clothing lines, and why people can’t stop buying his clothes.
When asked what the 50-year milestone meant to him, Lauren attributed his success to being able to adapt. "In a business that is changing and moving and looks for newness, the ability that I’ve always admired, whether it’s the writer or the actor or the singer, I’ve always admired the ones that have moved with the times—and not just have lasted, but that are at the top of their game," he told WWD. "I feel that I’m at the top of my game. I don’t feel like I’m old news, I think that I’m new news.”
So what do up-and-coming brands need to do to get on his level? “It has a lot to do with management mentality," he explained. "You’ve got to bring in the right people with the right vision. I’ve made mistakes, but I feel like I’ve brought the right people in at the right times for their talent. You can’t do it on your own. You have to have an army.”
In the interview, he also said that he isn't "annoyed" by celebrity clothing lines, adding that "everyone has an opportunity." But, it takes more than having a name to make a successful brand, he said.
And Lauren is familiar with success. When asked what he was most proud of in his 50 years at the helm of his brand—not an easy feat, mind you—he said: "I enjoy growth. I enjoy the people I work with... I believe in the substance; I believe my products have integrity. I believe what I design comes from my heart. Knowing my way around the business is not out of a dream. It’s out of experience. My challenge is to always be as good as I can, and know I always have something else to say. If I don’t, then I might have to quit.”
No word yet on what he thinks about Kanye West's now-famous "It ain't Ralph tho" comment.
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