20 Dec 2023 By May Ng

Ralph Lauren First Artist in Residence Collaboration

Company partners with Diné (Navajo) textile artist Naiomi Glasses to create special-edition product collections for Polo Ralph Lauren

Program reflects the Company’s work to expand its portrayal of America through its design processes, product offerings and marketing campaigns

Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) launched Polo Ralph Lauren x Naiomi Glasses, the inaugural collection of the Company’s Artist in Residence program, which invites artisans working with a variety of skillsets and mediums to participate in an immersive collaboration with Ralph Lauren’s creative teams. Intentionally focused on the celebration and preservation of heritage craft, the Artist in Residence program is part of the Company’s broader efforts to shift from inspiration to collaboration with communities that have inspired Ralph Lauren. The collaboration with Glasses, a seventh-generation Diné (Navajo) textile artist and weaver, is the first of more to come.

Ralph Lauren’s design ethos has long been inspired by the lands, cultures and artistry that make up the fabric of America. Aligned with its commitment to reexamine what and who is included in its depiction of the American experience, the Company has been on a journey to amplify diverse stories, deepen its sources of inspiration, and ultimately, form creative partnerships within the communities that inspire its designs. In 2020, Ralph Lauren set out to expand its collegiate sensibility to include the prestige and dressing traditions of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), resulting in its first HBCU collaboration with Morehouse College and Spelman College. Similarly, the Company sought to collaborate with Indigenous artisans, whose heritage craft is an important part of American art and cultural identity.

“Heritage and tradition are at the center of everything I love — things that encompass both beauty and utility, that are uncontrived and personal and are passed down for generations,” said Ralph Lauren, Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Ralph Lauren Corporation. “Bringing the most authentic expression of heritage craft to life means working with those who have created and sustained these timeless traditions for centuries and sharing their stories with the world. That is the opportunity that awaits us — and that will be a valued part of the legacy of our Company.”

The Polo Ralph Lauren x Naiomi Glasses Collection will be unveiled to consumers as three seasonal, special-edition product launches through 2024 that celebrate the artistry of timeless Navajo traditions through the lens of Naiomi Glasses. The first capsule includes men’s, women’s and unisex apparel and accessories in a color palette inspired by the lands of Dinétah (Navajo Nation), where the Glasses family resides. Standout pieces include woven jacquard blanket coats and wraps crafted with the natural colors of undyed wool alongside reinterpretations of Ralph Lauren styles like ranch coats and thicket jackets. Contemporary adaptations of cherished Navajo symbols like spider woman crosses, four-directional crosses, dragonflies and wedge weave motifs are incorporated throughout the collection, reflecting the tradition, innovation and creativity present throughout Navajo culture. Also featured is an assortment of beautifully crafted knits, velvet tops, timeless layering pieces and classic Ralph Lauren silhouettes like the iconic polo shirt and baseball cap that complement Glasses’ personal style.

This story comes to life beyond the product through a powerful campaign shot by Ryan RedCorn (Osage) and Daryn Sells (Diné/Navajo) with behind-the-scenes footage captured by Lonnie Begaye (Diné/Navajo).

It features a predominantly Indigenous cast and crew of Glasses’ family, friends and community, set against the striking landscape of Navajo Nation. An anthemic short film directed by award-winning filmmaker Shaandiin Tome (Diné/Navajo) accompanies the campaign, detailing Glasses’ family life, her introduction to the Navajo weaving tradition and sources of inspiration, the making of the collection and more. Ralph Lauren’s external Native and Indigenous Advisory Council, with members from a range of career disciplines and tribal affiliations, advised the Company on the ideation, approach and creation of the campaign as part of its ongoing role to share guidance and insights on representation of and engagement with Indigenous communities.