Morehouse and Spelman team up with Ralph Lauren to create a clothing line

In a press release, the company wrote, “The white eyelet patchwork and silk robes, which anchor the Spelman collection, symbolize the long-awaited White Dress Ceremony, marking the induction of students into the college. Likewise, the wool flannel blazer pays homage to the Morehouse blazer, a garment traditionally bestowed on students during their first days on campus.

Ralph Lauren, octogenarian executive chairman and chief creative officer of Ralph Lauren Corporation, said the collection was conceptualized and designed by the company’s Morehouse and Spelman alumni. He added that this is the first time the brand has produced a campaign with an all-black cast, including its photographer, creative directors, cinematographer and talent.

Models for the project were students, alumni, and faculty members of Morehouse and Spelman, and photos were taken on campuses.

“Historically, black colleges and universities have been unique centers of intellectual discourse and cultural influence for more than 150 years,” said Morehouse President David A. Thomas. “Morehouse’s partnership with Ralph Lauren cleverly, creatively and boldly highlights this intersection, reflecting the magnitude of the impact we have had in driving societal transformation throughout our history.”

Following the racial unrest that rocked the country in 2020, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation pledged $2 million to support scholarships for students at a dozen HBCUs, including Morehouse and Spelman.

The company also creates and deepens internship, recruiting, mentorship and development programs for black talent.

“Something was missing” from a business perspective, Lauren told The Washington Post. “We are catching up [the country’s] changes. And I want to be part of that change. I believe in it, and I believe in it for our company.

Legend

Morehouse College students model a new line of Ralph Lauren.

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Morehouse College students model a new line of Ralph Lauren.

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Morehouse College students model a new line of Ralph Lauren.

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The company’s new ad campaign includes a 30-minute film, “A Portrait of the American Dream,” a yearbook, and photographs that, if not in color, might trick viewers into believing they were taken at another era.. The full collection includes outerwear, knitwear, bespoke suits, dresses, shoes and accessories that reference the styles worn by Morehouse and Spelman students from the 1920s through the 1950s.

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Spelman College students model a new line created by Ralph Lauren that draws on the school’s history and heritage.

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Spelman College students model a new line created by Ralph Lauren that draws on the school's history and heritage.

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Spelman College students model a new line created by Ralph Lauren that draws on the school’s history and heritage.

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“By sharing Spelman’s early history, as reflected in archival research, through the garments, the collection encourages conversations about the creative power of the black experience and how an aesthetic of personal fashion intersects with the institutional values ​​of togetherness and connection,” Spelman said President Mary Schmidt Campbell in a press release.

The collection will be available worldwide and in Morehouse and Spelman bookstores on March 29.

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