The Polo Ralph Lauren Exclusively for Morehouse and Spelman Colleges Collection is a first-of-its kind collaboration.
Honoring the rich history and sartorial traditions of both historically Black colleges, this new Ralph Lauren collection reflects the brand’s ongoing commitment to expand the ways in which it portrays the American dream.
Thismonth Ralph Lauren expanded its partnership with Morehouse and Spelman Colleges unveiling a limited-edition collection inspired by the schools’ rich heritage and esteemed traditions. The Polo Ralph Lauren Exclusively for Morehouse and Spelman Colleges Collection is a first-of-its kind collaboration for the American luxury brand. The collection seeks to honor the history of both schools and widen the aperture of Ralph Lauren’s storytelling – including the nature of life at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), a story untold in depictions of Ralph Lauren’s collegiate sensibility until today.
“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.”
Conceptualized and designed by Morehouse and Spelman alumni at Ralph Lauren , the collection also marks the first time the luxury brand has produced a campaign with an all-Black cast including its photographer, creative directors, cinematographer and talent – predominantly comprising students, faculty and alumni at both institutions. The campaign was shot by internationally acclaimed fashion photographer Nadine Ijewere.
The white patchwork eyelet and silk wrap dresses, which anchor the Spelman collection, symbolize the highly anticipated white attire ceremony, marking students’ induction into the college. Similarly, the wool flannel blazer serves as an homage to the Morehouse blazer, a garment traditionally bestowed to students during their first days on campus.
The full collection – which includes outerwear, knits, tailored suits, dresses, footwear, accessories and more – references styles worn by Morehouse and Spelman students from the 1920s to 1950s, 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.”