Few designers have so successfully mined the past as Ralph Lauren, whose love for vintage built a global fashion empire. While vintage clothing and objects have long had a place on the designer’s mood-board, the company is now selling its cache of bygone designs directly to consumers across via a recently launched website for Ralph Lauren Vintage. Ever the visionary, Lauren’s new venture is perfectly timed to serve the booming market for collectible menswear.
It’s by no means the first time the brand has sold the gems of yesteryear. Ralph Lauren began selling vintage items to the public with the launch of RRL in 1993, and today stocks a curated vintage selection across 12 stores including its flagships and all RRL locations. The selection at Ralph Lauren Vintage will pull from these locations, marking the first time the company’s vintage assortment has been showcased online.
The inventory was built over the course of 20 years by a specialized team that scoured the globe and browsing it feels like a treasure hunt in Uncle Ralph’s attic. Enthusiasts of militaria may be enraptured by a WWII-era RAF leather and shearling flight jacket, or a bespoke Royal Navy officer’s reefer jacket from the 1960s. Workwear connoisseurs might be tempted by a circa 1940 rancher coat with a shearling shawl collar and a belted back, and anyone with a penchant for early career Brando or Dean will covet the heavily worn ‘40s and ‘50s motorcycle jackets.
But clothing is only one part of the story. The website also includes vintage objects befitting Lauren’s keenly edited world, including a Depression-era, hand-stamped silver concho belt with blue turquoises, a circa 1940 bucking bronco desk weight, and a plethora of Native American jewelry and Mexican biker rings.
Those interested in the inventory should check back often: new items may be added every two-to-three weeks. Though they are displayed online, these rare finds can only be purchased by calling the RRL SoHo store at 212-625-3480 or emailing RRLSoHo@ralphlauren.com. All items are final sale and can be shipped internationally.
Though its online emergence was in response to our increasingly digital shopping habits, Ralph Lauren Vintage will be a long-term initiative. In other words, shoppers can count on purchasing the best of the past well into the future.