Ralph Lauren Partners With Spelman And Morehouse For New Collection
“This collection expresses the spirited history, deep sense of community, and legacy of timeless dressing at historically Black colleges and universities,” Lauren said.
March 15, 2022 at 10:57 pm
Ralph Lauren’s newest collection celebrates the rich heritage of historically Black colleges and universities.
Ralph Lauren partnered with two iconic HBCU institutions, tapping the genius from Black creatives—mostly from Morehouse College and Spelman’s collection—for the campaign. The creative team comprises some of HBCUs finest from directors, photographers, cinematographers, and models.
“This collection expresses the spirited history, deep sense of community, and legacy of timeless dressing at historically Black colleges and universities,” Lauren said. “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.”
According to WWD, The clothing line’s designs and patterns are inspired by the 1920s to 1950s and HBCU collegiate style. The team pulled ideas from the pages of the schools’ yearbooks and newsletters, archival images, and mottos.
“It was really important to steep this in history to show that this is not new,” James Jeter, Ralph Lauren director of concept design and special projects, Morehouse College alum (class of 2013), and brainchild behind the capsule, told WWD. “A lot of this project was really about changing ownership around how we think about clothing. So who owns three-piece suits? Who owns cable cardigans? Who owns the circle skirt, for instance?”
And while it’s typically and historically been relegated to Ivy League schools, if you see a lot of these archival images from [Morehouse and] Spelman, that has really helped to inform a lot of the way that we approached not only the design but the way that we approached the campaigns as well,” Jeter added.
“Before mass production and well before collegiate style was attributed to an often un-inclusive elite, HBCU students were creating their own style,” Spelman College President Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell said.”By sharing the early history of Spelman, as reflected in archival research, through clothing, the collection encourages conversations about the creative power of the Black experience and the ways in which a personal fashion aesthetic intersects with institutional values of solidarity and connection.”
“The history of dress and style played a critical role in the late 1950s and 1960s in the Civil Rights Movement. Students who sat at lunch tables, or who protested in front of segregated department stores or marched in protests always did so with deliberate and planned consciousness of their dress,” she added.