Polo Ralph Lauren Unveils an Incredible Legacy Collection with Morehouse & Spelman Colleges

By Marjorie Magazine

All Images Via Ralph Lauren

Polo Ralph Lauren is no stranger when it comes to evoking aspirational prep and ideas of The American Dream in style. That’s why it’s so significant that the brand’s new collection, partnering exclusively on new styles for the student body of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, takes the ideals of what Americana is and rightfully broadens that narrative.

Made available on March 29th, the collection for both HBCU colleges features classic collegiate monogram pullovers, cable-knit cardigan sets, plaid skirts, and tweed– lots of lovely tweed and more that evokes academia of bygone days. But in this collaboration, it’s not just about the clothes– it’s a callback to the experiences hardly depicted in prep culture. So rarely acknowledged is the fact that classic collegiate style was not only exclusive to the Ivy Leagues of the Northeast. In fact, the designs of both the Spelman and Morehouse collections convey elements truly inspired by photos of alumni from both school’s past.

“The significance of the Black aesthetic at HBCUs from the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s has a lot to do with self-determination,” explains Dr. Sheryl Finley, Professor of Art and Visual Culture at Spelman College in the short collection’s companion film, A Portrait of the American Dream, “Which is one of the main reasons that so many of us choose to attend HBCUs.” From club officer portraits in yearbooks during the 1920s to photos of Spelman graduates in elegant white graduation gowns, evoking these moments of self-determination captured in the past bring forth the brilliance and aspiring youth that found themselves at odds during a time of turmoil yet pushed through for a future in which they would make lasting impacts for the generations to come.

The rich traditions of both schools as celebrated through these pieces are a stunning yet strong reminder of acknowledging all facets of Black history, especially in moments where we can celebrate positive spaces and achievements of Black Americans especially during the darkest moments of American history. These looks and images may be new, but their messaging is anything but– this side of the American Dream has always existed.

And from Ralph Lauren himself, “Our portrait of American style and our vision of the American dream would be incomplete without Black experiences like these.” We are certainly enamored with this beautifully executed collaboration, an extension of Ralph Lauren’s continuing dedication to uplift and support students at both Morehouse and Spelman and other HBCUs across the US in scholarships worth a total of $2 million. As brands and America move forward towards a brighter and more inclusive future, there’s never not a moment to look back and reflect on how far we’ve come, and even to smile on the triumphs in the midst of even the most difficult times.

Find the Spelman Collection here

Find the Morehouse Collection here

Watch the film Morehouse College & Spelman College X Polo Ralph Lauren: A Portrait of the American Dream and see more photos from the collaboration here on the Collection Site

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