The Collaboration of Ralph Lauren and HBCUs: How We Can Identify the Difference Between Monetization & Capitalization
Tuesday, March 15, Polo Ralph Lauren previewed their homage to the impact of Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs). Their
Morehouse and Spelman Colleges Collections aimed to shed light on the pursuit of the American Dream. On March 29, Polo released their line with an in-depth film project describing the collegiate style. They featured graduates of the universities to model in their collection as well. Experience the project here
It’s All in The Execution
From the “Five Wells” ( 5 values to building a Morehouse Man) to the White Dress Ceremony (An homage to the Spelman College traditions), Ralph Lauren referred to the campus cultures from the two colleges’ photo albums to retain the raw essence that birthed them. An overarching theme Polo delivered was the exuding excellence and distinct pride students carried to build a platform for future generations to thrive on.
The project is done and out there, but there’s still plenty of work for us to do. With the rising support of the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s easy for companies to capitalize on the publicity of black-centered projects. It’s up to us to hold companies responsible for being legitimate contributors to change.
Does the External Reflect the Internal?
When checking the staff, there's a need to have just as many black faces in the boardroom discussions of these intensive projects as there are on the finished pieces. James Jeter, Director of Concept Design & Special Projects for Ralph Lauren, and Dara Douglas, Director of Inspirational Content for Ralph Lauren, led the project and are both graduates from Morehouse and Spelman!
It’s important to be proactive in keeping companies accountable who want to deliver works involving black stories. Specifically, with the case of Ralph Lauren, let’s start by asking...
-Are they providing fashion pipelines for students?
-Are they continuing to be involved with the leaders on campus?
(Regular meetings, appearances, etc.)
-Have they addressed the problem of systematic oppression?
The Black Fashion Fund ventures out to find and relish in displays of Black Beauty the world has to offer and bring them to you. While delivering that content, we aim to provide solutions that can further contribute to the Black Lives Matter Movement.
By Fahiym Webber