To Ralph Lauren, the Label India Loves to Copy
The Ralph Lauren Polo pony has gotten disastrous copies made in India
The Ralph Lauren Polo pony has gotten disastrous copies made in India(Photo: Facebook/Ralph Lauren)

To Ralph Lauren, the Label India Loves to Copy

(This story has been republished from The Quint’s archives to mark Ralph Lauren’s birthday. It was originally published on 14 October 2017)

In the flashy capital of India, polo ponies occupy prime real estate across chests of the rich and famous. But apart from its popularity among the discerning, the famous Ralph Lauren logo, manifested in various capacities, can be found in the flea markets of Palika Bazaar and Sarojini Nagar.

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And guess what, the brand has indeed launched a swachhta abhyaan to rid the market of these counterfeit polos before it can enter with full swagger, reportedly at the DLF Emporio mall in Delhi.

From Ties To Tycoon

Perhaps the most interesting detail about the Ralph Lauren story is how the man, who went on to create an aspirational fashion brand that sold everything from couture to bags to perfumes, actually started out selling ties.

The man, who apparently did not like narrow ties, betted big on the idea of having big ties in 1967. His gamble paid off — people loved his ties, and from there on he went on to consistently create fashion that people liked. It was not peppered with complicated fashion concepts, it was simply fashion that looked smart and chic to the naked eye.

Ralph and Ricky Lauren in Bedford, NY, 1996, clicked by photographer Victor Skrebneski.
Ralph and Ricky Lauren in Bedford, NY, 1996, clicked by photographer Victor Skrebneski.
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/RalphLauren)

That’s the strategy that has kept his brand one of the most powerful fashion and lifestyle brands in the world, across the categories of apparel, home, accessories, and fragrances.

Ralph Lauren featuring in <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TELEGRAPH.CO.UK/">The Telegraph</a><a href="http://rlauren.co/telegraphuk"> magazine </a>
Ralph Lauren featuring in The Telegraph magazine
(Photo: Facebook/Ralph Lauren)

Today, the company has different brand names: there’s Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Collection, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Polo Ralph Lauren, Double RL, Lauren Ralph Lauren, among others. And the Executive Chairman-cum-Chief Creative Officer, is still able to keep the American brand globally relevant!

A Desi Connection That is Hard to Deny

There’s something about the Ralph Lauren brand that has always drawn the desi crowd towards it. But maybe, just maybe, Lauren is equally drawn to the dashing desi too.

At least that’s what it looks like, as is evident from the brand’s Instagram feed featuring two of our recent glamourous exports.

And who can forget Priyanka Chopra’s dress at the Met Gala? Which, to some resembled chai ki malai, but to this author seemed a wonderful elevation of the trench coat.

Or the leather dress, that’s as sexy as a cat suit, and even qualifies as subversive because of its ‘girly’ silhouette.

At the Golden Globe awards too, Priyanka sizzled in gold. Courtesy RL of course.

Whether this Ralph diplomacy is neatly aligned with the brand’s reach-out campaign to the desi consumer, and its (reported) plans to expand in India is anybody’s guess.

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