Polo Ralph Lauren’s Latest Campaign Features Young Black Equestrians From Philadelphia
The clothing company is using riders from the long time Philadelphia program for its latest advertising push.
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Work To Ride has spent the last 25 years helping underprivileged kids from Philadelphia get the chance to ride horses and join polo teams at Chamounix Equestrian Center in Fairmount Park. The organization is a long-term program for elementary, middle and high school kids that teaches "discipline, responsibility, and life skills through training, riding, and performing horse care and barn management chores."
Children are encouraged to pick up any equestrian sport, and most choose polo.
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"Work to Ride provides activities that promote discipline, self-esteem, motivation, social development, life skills, academic achievement and physical fitness through year round equestrian programs that encourage long term participation. In addition, educational and cultural resources are provided to participants and the community-at-large, as well as vocational guidance and opportunities for careers in related fields," they say on their website.
The advertisements were directed by photographer Sharif Hamza and Ralph Lauren commissioned a huge feature story on the group and some of its most famous riders. The company has provided a grant to the non-profit and has made them the face of their spring campaign.
The organization has helped a number of kids get through high school and into college with polo scholarships as well as other opportunities involving their equestrian knowledge.
“I remember my first or second lesson in the program, and my horse took off [at a gallop] with me, so that was a little scary. They’re real big animals that you really don’t have much control over,” said Malachi Lyles, who started the program when he was 11. He's now a rising star in the polo world and a signed model, making the Polo Ralph Lauren partnership an important one for him.
"You could literally travel the whole world playing polo. Same thing with modeling. I want to go overseas with it and see how that goes. I want to use these two vehicles to take me as far as I can,” he said.
“I’d written it down in my book where I write down my goals. Back in June of last year, I wrote, ‘I will model for Ralph Lauren,’ and the next thing you know, it’s happening.”
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