by John Russel Jones

Ralph Lauren celebrates its most iconic product, the Polo Shirt, with the release of a new coffee table book, “Ralph Lauren’s Polo Shirt,” published by Rizzoli International. The quintessential, ubiquitous piece of clothing has served as a canvas for the lifestyles and worlds that have inspired Ralph Lauren since 1972. The book launch is accompanied by a 360-degree marketing campaign that reflects on the incredible cultural impact that the Polo Shirt has had over the past five decades while introducing it to a new generation of consumers.

At the centerpiece of the campaign is the Rizzoli International-published book ($36.95), which is a fascinating look at the history of the enduring wardrobe classic. With beautiful photography, a foreword by American Filmmaker Ken Burns, an introduction by Ralph Lauren, and an afterword by David Lauren, the book shines the spotlight on the shirt as a cultural symbol. As stated within the first chapter, “The Polo shirt is to Ralph Lauren what Mickey Mouse is to Disney or the Empire State Building is to New York City.” 

As Lauren states in the introduction, “I wanted the shirt to become part of the life of the person who wore it. I never knew that after fifty years it would become such a personal icon all over the world. What I do has always come from the way people live. It’s honest and from the heart and hopefully that is what touches the diversity of people who wear my Polo and all my clothes.”

The 544-page compendium celebrates and documents the iconic style and influential impact of the Polo Shirt, which has never been defined by the latest trend. A juxtaposition of modernity and heritage, tradition and individuality, refinement and ease, it always endures and continues to evolve in innovative and sustainable ways. As seen through historic imagery and told through the personal stories of celebrities, politicians and presidents, royals, world-class athletes, as well as everyday people, the book showcases various individuals who have made the Polo their own and inspired others to follow suit along the way. From the classic white to the weathered Polo, from the Earth Polo to the US Olympics, the US Open, and Wimbledon Championship collaborations, this unique volume celebrates the full spectrum of the Polo, making it a collector’s dream.

In line with the corporation’s sustainability goals and in connection with the launch of the book, there will be expanded offerings of the classic Polo Shirt, including a limited number of select vintage and collectible designs, (some are seen within the pages of the book), available for purchase in select stores and regions, as well as on the Polo app. Also introduced with this vintage offering will be The Upcycled Polo Shirt, selected from a limited-edition collection of Polo Shirts that have been hand-repaired by artisans from the Los Angeles-based circular design platform, Atelier & Repairs. Exciting new options will also be built into Ralph Lauren’s Create Your Own (CYO) Customization program.

The Company will open The Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt Shop Concept Stores in both Berlin (Opening May 18th) and Ginza (Open Now). The shops will celebrate more than 50 years of Ralph Lauren design through deeply engaging storytelling, exciting visual presentation, immersive technology, special programming and augmented reality virtual shopping experiences. The shop will be focused on selling this singular, iconic product and will showcase its most extensive breadth of Polo shirt offerings ever including a Custom CYO shop for men, women, and children for a limited time.

To further amplify the campaign and bring Ralph Lauren’s loyal customers into the fold, the Company invites everyone to join the conversation, and style their favorite shirt or share a fun memory across social platforms by using the hashtag #MyPoloShirtStory and tagging @PoloRalphLauren. Fans, friends, and followers will also be able to share their own personal stories and unlock an exclusive experience through an official Snapchat lens. Audiences will be able to explore a 3D version of Ralph Lauren’s Polo Shirt in their Snapchat app world view, with the ability to interact with stories from those who have worn it, loved it, and made it their own. The lens can be accessed via Ralph Lauren stores, social channels, and digital properties inclusive of the Ralph Lauren App, as well as OOH units in North America and Europe via a scannable Snapcode.