Ralph Lauren today expanded its partnership with HBCUs Morehouse College and Spelman College, unveiling a limited-edition collection inspired by the schools’ rich heritage and esteemed traditions.

The Polo Ralph Lauren Exclusively for Morehouse and Spelman Colleges Collection is a first-of-its kind collaboration for the company.

The collection seeks to honor the history of both schools and widen the lens of Ralph Lauren’s storytelling — including the nature of life at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

“This collection expresses the spirited history, deep sense of community  and legacy of timeless dressing at historically Black colleges and  universities,” said Ralph Lauren, executive chairman and chief  creative officer of 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.”

Conceptualized and designed by Morehouse alum James Jeter, director of concept design & special projects for Ralph Lauren, in collaboration with Spelman graduate Dara Douglas, director of inspirational content for Ralph Lauren, the collection marks the first time the brand has partnered with an institute of higher learning.

Morehouse

The collection also marks the first time the brand has produced a campaign with an all-Black cast including its photographer, creative directors, cinematographer and talent – predominantly comprising students, faculty and alumni at both institutions. The campaign was shot by internationally acclaimed fashion photographer Nadine Ijewere.

Spelman

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. 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. 

The full collection — which includes outerwear, knits, tailored suits,  dresses, footwear, accessories and more — references styles worn by  Morehouse and Spelman students from the 1920s to 1950s, capturing  the colleges’ deep history and honoring their contributions to American style.

Morehouse red

Through compelling footage and dynamic digital and in-store  presentations, consumers can experience the story of this collection  beyond the product. Ralph Lauren’s accompanying film, “A Portrait of  the American Dream,” and commemorative yearbook detail the founding  and historical significance of HBCUs through the lens of Morehouse and  Spelman, demonstrating the use of style as an expression of aspiration,  a form of self-empowerment and a tool of resistance. Both feature  rare archival imagery from each college juxtaposed against collection  imagery on the campuses’ iconic landscapes, with commentary from the  presidents of both colleges and several faculty, alumni and student cast  members present throughout the campaign. 

The film premieres on March 28, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. EDT on select Ralph  Lauren social channels. The yearbook will be available digitally alongside the film on March 29, 2022, on RalphLauren.com.

Watch the trailer to the film at rlauren.co/RLxSpelman 

The collection will be  available to global consumers on March 29, 2022, on RalphLauren.com, the Polo App, the Ralph Lauren App, Morehouse College and Spelman  College Follett campus bookstores and in select Ralph Lauren stores  while quantities last.

In 2020, Ralph Lauren made a series of commitments to take action on  racial equity and reexamine how the Company portrays the American  dream, mindful of its unique position in defining, interpreting and  depicting Americana worldwide. Aligned with these commitments, the  Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation pledged $2 million to support  scholarships for students at Morehouse College, Spelman College  and 10 additional HBCUs through the United Negro College Fund  in December 2021. The Company is also actively facilitating career  pathways for Black talent by deepening internship, recruitment,  mentorship and development programs. These efforts include reserving  dedicated internship offers for HBCU students and expanding talent  acquisition relationships with HBCUs beyond the traditional recruiting  season. 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.