The Bronx’s Own Ralph Lauren is First American Fashion Designer to Receive Honorary Knighthood

Bronx born and raised fashion icon, Ralph Lauren, is the first American fashion designer to receive an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.

Born in 1939, the fashion mogul went from modest means to controlling an empire worth $6.9 billion.

Vogue writes:

After 50 years in business and countless accolades, Ralph Lauren has just received the most prestigious yet. Announced today, Lauren has been made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a title bestowed on him by Queen Elizabeth II. Lauren becomes the first American fashion designer to be recognized by Her Majesty with an honorary knighthood and joins the ranks of fellow Americans, including President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush, Michael Bloomberg, Rudolph Giuliani, Angelina Jolie, Steven Spielberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Angela Ahrendts.

There are few as deserving of the title as Lauren, who with his life and career in fashion epitomizes not only the American Dream but an international success story. Born in 1939 in the Bronx, New York, he first studied business at Baruch College and then joined the U.S. Army before establishing his fashion company in 1967. At the start, he sold just ties to Bloomingdale’s, but quickly expanded into menswear and tailoring, with womenswear collections following. In 1972, he revolutionized ideas of casualwear and branding with his polo shirt, which featured a logo above the left breast. When he offered it in 17 colorways, you could say history was made.

A young Ralph Lauren poses in The Bronx/Via Ralph Lauren

Not bad for a boy from The Bronx who attended DeWitt Clinton High School and once said, “People ask how can a Jewish kid from the Bronx do preppy clothes? Does it have to do with class and money? It has to do with dreams.”

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.