Ralph Lauren (born Ralph Lifschitz, October 14, 1939) is an American fashion designer and business executive, best known for his Polo Ralph Lauren clothing brand.
Ralph Lauren was born Ralph Lifschitz in the Bronx, New York, to Jewish immigrants from Belarus: Fraydl Kotlar (from Grodno) and Frank Lifschitz (from Pinsk).
The designer’s ancestors came to America in 1920. The Loren’s grandfather Shlomo Lifschitz left Pinsk with his daughter Maria and son, Frank, the future father of Ralph. In New York, Frank met Fraydl Kotlar, the mother of Loren.
When Ralph Lauren was 16, his brother Terry changed their last names together into Lauren. Contrary to people’s thought, this was done not because the original name sounded too “Jewish”, but because it contained unfortunate word in English which made Ralph became a bully victim at school.
Lauren’s first job was serving the United States Army from 1962 to 1964. Three years later, he started his lessons in fashion not in school, but in Brooks Brothers as a salesman. Then he started to make his own tie design and sell it under label “Polo”. This label is today his, as many of us have known.
In 1967, Ralph Lauren founded the company Polo Ralph Lauren and in 1968 released his first collection of men's clothing pret-a-porter. The casual style of the designer, which absorbed the culture of the American West, made Ralph Lauren famous very quickly.
Since 1971, Lauren began to produce women's clothing line. Besides clothes, Ralph Lauren released under his own name brand furnishings, accessories, perfumes, pet products.
Beside his fashion designs, Ralph is famous for his car collections. He is the owner of over 70 prestigious cars. His winnings in Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance are also highlights in Ralph Lauren biography.
In 2010, Ralph Lauren was decorated Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in Paris.
In March 2012, the American magazine Forbes estimated Loren’s fortune 7.5 billion and included him in rating of the richest men in the world at number 122.