Ralph Lauren has teamed up with Atlanta’s Spelman College, a historically Black college and university (HBCU), on its forthcoming collegiate-inspired collection.
Atlanta HBCU, Morehouse College, was also a part of the history-making project. The campaign features an all-Black crew—led by London-born fashion photographer Nadine Ijewere, who brought the campaign to life through her world-renowned lens.
The cheapest item will cost as little as $20, with the most expensive item costing around $200—making it affordable for its target audience. Students and alumni.
Of course, all of the outfits, including silk wrap dresses and vintage varsity knitted sweaters, have been inspired by the outfits worn by students between the 1920s and 1950s.
“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.”
While some may view the collection as a money grab, it seems Ralph Lauren ensured that the history of HBCUs was researched thoroughly and executed respectfully.
Spelman graduate Dara Douglas, who oversees the Ralph Lauren library, spoke about what the collection means to her and fellow Spelman alumni.
“I know how the other women who’ve graduated from Spelman, the other men who graduated from Morehouse, all of the people who have attended an HBCU, there’s so much reverence and respect for the Ralph Lauren brand,” Douglas said to The Washington Post. “For us to see this culture and see this community turn the gaze back to them and show them themselves — it’s going to be tremendous. It’s overwhelming.”
Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell agreed to this collaboration, in part because the project drew on archival imagery from the school, per the publication.
Ralph Lauren will release an accompanying film, “A Portrait of the American Dream,” on March 28.
The collection will be available March 29 through Ralph Lauren digital channels, select Ralph Lauren stores and on the Morehouse and Spelman campuses.