Morehouse and Spelman team up with Ralph Lauren Styles
Renowned American clothing designer Polo Ralph Lauren is partnering with two Atlanta Historically Black Colleges, Spelman and Morehouse, to roll out its newest collection.
Building on their heritage, Ralph Lauren has teamed with the colleges to develop a limited-edition collection gathered from school photos dating back to the 1920s.
Celebrating the two HBCUs and capturing their deep history, the collection features shoes, dresses, suits, knits, and outerwear and highlights what Morehouse and Spelman’s students wore between the 1920s and 1950s. The company says the looks honor the contributions these schools made to American style.
In a news release, Morehouse President David Thomas said that the “partnerships magnify how HBCUs have been at the forefront of intellectual and cultural influences.”
Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell said, “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.”
This clothing partnership follows the gift of $2 million that the Ralph Lauren Corporation Foundation donated in December 2021 to support scholarships for students at Morehouse, Spelman, and several other HBCUs through the United Negro College Fund.
Executive chairman and chief creative officer Ralph Lauren said the collection was conceptualized and designed by Morehouse and Spelman alumni at the company. This marks the first time the brand has produced a campaign with an all-Black cast, including its photographer, creative directors, cinematographer, and talent. Morehouse and Spelman students, alumni, and faculty members were the models for the project. All of the photos were taken on the campuses of the colleges.
In addition to these partnerships, the company is also creating and deepening internship, recruitment, mentorship, and development programs for Black talent.
Morehouse College and Spelman College alumni include Pearl Cleage, Sen. Raphael Warnock, Stacey Abrams, Maynard Jackson, Tayari Jones, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Marian Wright Edelman, and Spike Lee.
Those interested in obtaining these retro styles from this limited-edition collection can do so starting March 29 on Ralph Lauren’s website, its Polo and Ralph Lauren app, Spelman and Morehouse bookstores, and in certain stores.
In addition to the collection launch, an accompanying movie, “A Portrait of the American Dream,” will explore the historic significance of HBCUs. It airs on March 28 at 7:30 pm on Ralph Lauren’s social media pages.