Menswear Designers Share Their Experiences Working With Ralph Lauren
Over the span of his impressive career, Ralph Lauren has been responsible for influencing some of the biggest names in menswear. From Todd Snyder to John Varvatos, many successful designers spent their formative years working under Lauren's iconic brand. The company has become so influential in the industry that is has been nicknamed "Ralph Lauren University."
To see what it was like to work in such a prestigious environment, Valet caught up with several of the brand's former employees and asked them to share stories about their old boss.
Check out their responses below.
On Lauren's way of doing things: "They call it 'rigging.' It's when you style out a room for mood and color using vintage apparel and inspiration photos. I walked into one of those rooms my first week and was blown away. It sets the whole stage for the collection you're about to design," said Snyder, the former director of men's outerwear.
"I think it all starts with those massive inspiration boards for every project and season. I definitely bought into that one. First thing we bought for the office here was a huge rolling cork board and a million aluminum push pins," said Michael Bastian, previously of creative services.
On why they wanted to work at Ralph Lauren: "It's definitely like a kid wanting to play for their favorite sports team," said Bastian.
"I shared Ralph's love for Americana. That was natural. And then there was the drive to help build meaning and experience within the brand. We were a diverse group of people working to make one hell of a big movie," said Alexander Carleton, who worked in design and creative services, and is currently the creative director of Filson.
On their favorite part of the job: "Just the fact that you're literally surrounded with good taste. It really gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in American history, icons and culture. To have the opportunity to work on the collection and see it come together is like being a part of a really good movie set," said Frank Muytjens the menswear director at J. Crew and former design director for men's outerwear at Ralph Lauren.
"The culture and just being able to learn from Ralph himself," said Varvatos, who was the senior vice president of men's design.
Many of the former employees said that working with Ralph Lauren was difficult because of the high standards, but that it's what made many of them so successful. Check out the rest of their responses here.