About The SpelHouse’ Legacy Collection
One of America’s most renowned luxury firms is honoring the legacy of some of our best American institutions. Ralph Lauren debuted the Polo Ralph Lauren Exclusively for Morehouse and Spelman Schools Collection on Tuesday, a first-of-its-kind collaboration between two of the country’s most famous historically Black schools and institutions.
Long before Black students of college age were allowed to enroll alongside their white counterparts, the promise of America’s historically Black institutions and universities was always the opportunity to excel. Despite the fact that HBCU graduates have delivered on that promise for decades, America’s promises to Black inhabitants have continuously fallen far short. The racial upheaval of 2020 brought this harsh reality to the forefront of the nation’s consciousness.
Among the many commitments made at the time, the Ralph Lauren Corporation vowed to support and develop racial equity both within and outside. One of these was a $2 million commitment to the United Negro College Fund in December 2021, which was meant to provide scholarships for students at Morehouse, Spelman, and 10 other HBCUs, according to the company’s news release.
Ralph Lauren has always excelled at crafting traditional, gorgeous American apparel, and our collaboration now includes that. The Polo Ralph Lauren Exclusively for Morehouse and Spelman Colleges Collection is “a limited-edition collection inspired by the universities’ rich histories and recognized traditions,” according to the business, which strives to offer a new face to the American Dream.
The label also admits that their previous representation was insufficient. Morehouse and Spelman graduates conceived and produced the line inside Ralph Lauren’s ranks. “This collection expresses the spirited history, deep sense of community, and legacy of timeless dressing at historically Black colleges and universities,” they say.
SpelHouse history has a distinct sartorial streak, which Polo surely participated in and which the present collection honors. “The collection emphasizes the collegiate sensibility essential to the brand’s identity by celebrating the sartorial traditions and history of both institutions with Ralph Lauren’s characteristic tailoring.”
“The white patchwork eyelet and silk wrap dresses, which anchor the Spelman collection, evoke the widely anticipated white clothing ceremony, commemorating students’ entry into the college,” according to the brand’s announcement. Similarly, the wool flannel jacket pays homage to the Morehouse blazer, which was typically given to freshmen on their first day on campus.”
Ralph Lauren, executive chairman and chief creative officer of the Ralph Lauren Corporation, issued a statement. “It’s so much more than a depiction of collegiate design sensibility. It’s about delivering a more comprehensive and accurate portrayal of American style and the American ideal, ensuring that stories of Black life and experiences are entrenched in our brand’s inspiration and desire.”
Popular photographer Nadine Ijewere captured the collection’s advertisements to achieve this purpose. Furthermore, all of the supporting performers, creative directors, and cinematographers for “A Portrait of the American Dream” are Black. In each case, it is a first for a Ralph Lauren. The campaign’s stars, who were largely students, faculty, and graduates shown on the websites of both Atlanta-based colleges, are inspired by the communities they aim to honour.
“Historically Black colleges and universities have uniquely been centres of both intellectual discourse and cultural influence for more than 150 years,” Morehouse President David A. Thomas, Ph.D. said. Ralph Lauren issued a statement saying, “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.”
The collection was also inspired by the clothing worn by Morehouse and Spelman students in the early twentieth century, which was given new life in a number of fashions, including “outerwear, knits, fitted suits, dresses, footwear, accessories, and more.”
Ralph Lauren is also preparing a commemorative yearbook, a short film, a campaign, and “dynamic digital and in-store presentations” with both historical and contemporary information to let shoppers “experience the story of this collection, beyond the goods.”
Spelman College’s president, Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., stated, “Spelman College’s culture is a potent blend of both community participation and confident self-invention.” “This collection honors the originality of individual style when it boldly interacts with institutional heritage.”
By utilising clothes to relate the early history of Spelman as it is reflected in archival research, the collection stimulates discourse on the creative possibilities of the Black experience and how a personal fashion style interacts with institutional concepts of solidarity and connection.
For those who are naturally interested in how Ralph Lauren’s commitment to representation extends beyond aesthetics, the company notes that it is “also aggressively enabling career routes for Black talent by extending internship, recruiting, mentorship, and development programmes… While simultaneously increasing talent acquisition links with historically black colleges and universities beyond the regular recruiting season.”
A few Ralph Lauren social media platforms sponsored the unveiling of the marketing film for the Polo Ralph Lauren Exclusively for Morehouse and Spelman Colleges Collection on March 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The collection, which is now available while supplies last on the Polo App, the Ralph Lauren App, the Morehouse and Spelman Follett campus bookstores, and in certain Ralph Lauren shops, will also be available online the next day on RalphLauren.com.