Ralph Lauren Brand: Is It Really a Luxury Brand?
Ralph Lauren brand has always been considered an upper-class brand, but it still sells lower-quality products than other luxury brands. For many people, that seems like a paradox. So, is Ralph Lauren really a luxury brand? To appropriately answer this question, we must define what constitutes luxury in the fashion industry – and then decide whether or not Ralph Lauren fits the criteria.
What is a Luxury Fashion Brand?
Luxury fashion brands are typically defined by their quality materials, high production values, and meticulous attention to detail. Exclusivity is another trait attributed to luxury brands. Brands like Ralph Lauren, who mass-produce their products at an affordable price, were once luxury, but it has lost that tag and is more of a premium brand.
Although some labels, such as the Ralph Lauren Purple Label, enjoy the luxury status, others, such as Ralph Lauren polo and collection labels, are affordable and readily available; hence they are no longer luxury but premium.
The history of the Ralph Lauren Brand
Ralph Lauren is an iconic American fashion designer renowned for his Polo line of clothing and home furnishings. His company, Ralph Lauren Corporation (Lauren Corp), designs, manufactures, distributes, and sells its products worldwide.
Ralph showed an interest in designing from an early age. He graduated from Baruch College in 1964 with a degree in business administration and then went on to attend the University of Buffalo’s School of Visual Arts for two years to become a commercial artist. After returning to New York City, he enrolled at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts, which caused him to end his pursuits as an artist.
Determined to learn design, Ralph studied design under Bill Blass, who became his mentor and helped him find work at large companies such as Brooks Brothers and Hart Schaffner & Marx. In 1967 Ralph started his fashion by designing neckwear (Tie) under the Polo name.
In 1968, ralph debuted his full men’s production by designing standout pieces, including dress shirts and flannel suits.
In 1970, the company opened a Polo shop in Bloomingdale’s, a legendary boutique devoted to a single designer! Since then, the brand has scaled many heights, and today it is one of the best fashion brands, despite the controversy surrounding its status.
Is Ralph Lauren a Luxury or Premium Brand?
This question was first posed in the late ’90s, during Ralph Lauren’s heyday as the ultimate fashion designer. People would point to the quality of Ralph Lauren clothes and compare high-priced labels like Dior and Armani that sold in stores like Barneys.
So, is Ralph Lauren an upper-echelon luxury brand? Or are we just misinformed about what constitutes a luxury brand these days? The answer isn’t simple, and it’s constantly changing. However, one thing is for sure—the term luxury can now be applied to any product or service that costs more than the mass market versions of its counterparts. In this sense, many would argue that Ralph Lauren is not an elite luxury brand but a premium one.
The Ralph Lauren Brand Labels
While most of the labels produced under Ralph Lauren lean towards a Premium brand, others, such as the purple label, befall under the luxury brand category.
The Purple Ralph Lauren Label is for women with strong personalities who are not afraid to take risks and express themselves through clothing.
The Purple label comes from the love for all things Royalty, including America’s first royal family, the Puritans.
On the other hand, the Polo Ralph Lauren label offers an affordable line of quality basics for men and women who appreciate effortless style with an American heritage.
Denim & Supply label offers classic denim and vintage-inspired basics. It boasts a modern edge technology that incorporates innovative textile technologies and fabric that provides stretch without compromising durability.
The Benefits of Being Associated with Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren has reached such heights of popularity and acclaim in the fashion industry because it offers high-quality garments at relatively affordable prices. This differentiates Ralph Lauren from many other luxury brands, as they tend to be geared more towards an upper-class clientele.
Ralph Laurens’ prices are typically still high, but this comes with the benefits of knowing that you’re purchasing pieces that will last for a long time. They also have incredible customer service. In addition to sending new customers care packages upon their first purchase, Ralph Lauren accepts returns without the hassle and holds monthly sales with deep discounts on pre-owned items!
Why People Buy Ralph Lauren Brand
People buy Ralph Lauren for its quality and as a symbol of Old Money. Many people associate luxury brands with prestige and stature. Ralph Lauren himself has created a brand that is seen as prestigious enough to be worn by people in Royalty or high-ranking members of society.
An academic theory says that when consumers feel unhappy about how their income stacks up to others, they tend to buy luxury goods like those found at high-end stores such as Bloomingdale’s or Neiman Marcus.
The Controversy as to Whether Ralph Lauren is a Luxury Brand or Premium
The answer to the question, Is Ralph Lauren a luxury brand is not black and white. We know it isn’t as high-end as it was in the past. For example, many people may still associate Tommy Hilfiger with the tagline working hard, playing hard.
Ralph Lauren has swapped this out for its tagline: Dream deeper. A luxury brand should represent the quality of life and aspiration towards success. In contrast, premium brands sell products that meet consumers’ needs without too much excess.
While Ralph Lauren brand is marketed as a luxury brand, the label’s apparel has become increasingly popular with mainstream consumers. The focus on polo shirts and clothing has resulted in Ralph Lauren becoming less of an exclusive or elite label and more of an iconic American fashion house.
To be classified as a luxury brand, Ralph Fine defines luxury as being inversely proportional to the quantity demanded. This means that because people want the product, it can’t be exclusive anymore and must be expensive.
Regarding this definition of luxury, Ralph Lauren does not appear to qualify as a luxury brand because its clothes are commonly available to those who wish to purchase them at moderately high prices.