This week Ralph Lauren expanded its partnership with two prestigious historically Black colleges and universities. The brand revealed a limited-edition capsule collection that paid homage to the schools’ rich heritage and esteemed traditions. The first of its kind the Polo Ralph Lauren collaboration with both Morehouse and Spelman honors the history of both schools and widens the aperture of Ralph Lauren’s storytelling to including HBCUs into the fold of the brand's collegiate aethestic. The collaboration is an expansion of the efforts set by the brand to support HBCUs. Back in December 2021, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation pledged $2 million to support scholarships for students at Morehouse College, Spelman College and 10 additional HBCUs through the United Negro College Fund.
“This collection expresses the spirited history, deep sense of community and legacy of timeless dressing at historically Black colleges and universities,” said Ralph Lauren, Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Ralph Lauren Corporation. “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.”
One of the coolest parts about the collaboration is that it was conceptualized and designed by Morehouse and Spelman alumni at Ralph Lauren. Shot by the internationally acclaimed fashion photographer Nadine Ijewere, this will be the first time that the brand has produced a campaign with an all-Black cast including its photographer, creative directors, cinematographer and talent, which by the way was predominantly comprised by students, faculty and alumni of the two prestigious HBCU institutions. The collection references clothing similar to what past students from the 1920s to 1950s wore on campus capturing the colleges’ deep history and honoring their contributions to American style.
“Historically Black colleges and universities have uniquely been centers of both intellectual discourse and cultural influence for more than 150 years,” said David A. Thomas, Ph.D., President of Morehouse College. “The Morehouse partnership with Ralph Lauren intelligently, creatively and boldly puts this intersection on full display, reflecting the breadth of impact we have had in driving societal transformation throughout our history.”
“Spelman College’s culture is a powerful combination of both community engagement and confident self-invention. This collection celebrates the inventiveness of individual style, when it intersects boldly with institutional tradition, such as the choices on display in the wearing of white attire,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., President of Spelman College. “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 collection will be available on March 29, 2022, at RalphLauren.com, select Ralph Lauren stores, and at Morehouse College and Spelman College Follett campus bookstores.