Stylist Ralph Lauren - Part I

June 10, 2010

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What can you do to follow your vocation, not loosing your heart in such a long journey?

How to accomplish success if you come from a humble beginning, if you are not prepared, if you are not trained, if you are born in a place that has nothing in common with the life you dream?

Perhaps we may find the answers to some of these questions reading something about Ralph Lauren's history.

Ralph Lauren was born as Ralph Rueben Lifshitz in The Bronx, New York, in 1939. His parents were immigrant from Belarus.

Her green-eyed mother had grown up in a small farm in Belarus, and his father was from Pinsk, where he could dodge the soldiers who were trying to grab him for the White Russian army, as he ran home with a jug of milk.

Ralph said years later as an adult speaking about his father: "My father was an artist. He painted murals in churches and synagogues. He painted ceilings. He'd marbleize walls and do faux-wood painting."

Ralph was trained neither in drafting, nor in so-called fashion design, but he "was an artist, deep inside". He wasn't born in a city like Paris or Berlin with a fashion sensibility although he was never trained in couture. As a kid he grew up in the Bronx, playing ball in the schoolyards, living the life of a New Yorker, in a working class neighborhood with his three brothers, mother and father. While they were by no means a poor family, all the same Ralph knew the value of a dollar from an early age.

Before eventually graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1957, in his yearbook he stated under his picture that the thing he wanted the most was to be a millionaire.

After school he started working to earn money and to save it in order to buy expensive suits. He was instinctively stylist. Although he knew he could find his clothes at a less expensive price, he made it a point to look stylish in his expensive threads -- and he has succeeded at looking cool in his attire since the age of 12.

In High School he was known by his classmates for selling ties to his fellow students.

There was something Ralph was blessed with: it was a steadfast determination to make money and to be successful.

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