Today, Hamptons Magazine gave us a preview of their latest cover star, the talented and iconic fashion designer Ralph Lauren. He looks sharp in an all white suit with the ocean behind him on the cover. In the July 4 Issue, Lauren opens up to his friend Fern Mallis about what it means to be an American designer, whether he feels a sense of responsibility in representing America in the fashion industry, and much more.
Check out highlights from his interview in Hamptons Magazine below:
On what it means to him to be an American designer, Lauren said:
I’ve seen things in America that I’ve loved: the Adirondacks, Santa Fe, Colorado, and the West. There’s a lot of history here. When I started, everyone at that time was looking to Europe for inspiration. I remember one thing I did that gave me a little insight: I started with men’s, and my first collection had a glen-plaid suit. People came up and looked at the suit and said, “That’s nice.” Some people really loved it, and some people walked right by. Saint Laurent was doing a suit similar and people came back to me and said, “We like that suit now.” They didn’t know.
On whether he feels a sense of responsibility in representing America in the fashion industry, Lauren said:
No. [Laughs] I don’t. I just do what I love doing. We opened two stores in Russia, [and I thought about] my parents who came from Russia. I was looking at all of these European stores, and there’s Ralph Lauren. I saw the designer brands in Russia, and I felt that I carried the flag at that moment. I realized that this is how they look at America. At that point, actually, I did feel responsibility. I felt really proud; I felt that I did represent America.
On his definition of the American dream, Lauren said:
I don’t know if it’s an American dream; I think it’s everybody’s dream to have a good life, to have a healthy life, to have a family, and to live a life where you know you are moving forward, and you are adding something to your culture. I still think it’s the land of opportunity. If I were born in Europe, I probably would not have been able to do all that I did.
On his childhood, Lauren said:
I had three brothers and a sister, and I looked up to my brothers and sister. I didn’t have a bike as a kid; I didn’t have a baseball glove, but I never felt that I didn’t have anything. I felt very happy. I loved where I grew up in the Bronx. I used to play basketball in the schoolyards and stickball. I did all the neighborhood things, ice-skating and roller-skating. I was a good athlete as a kid, and I had a good time…
I think millions of kids like me loved movies because they were an escape. Movies opened your eyes to a world that you would not otherwise know; [it was] a way to see people and see another life, and it exposed you to all sorts of places that we weren’t able to travel to. I would come out of the movies, and I was Robin Hood or Tarzan or one of the characters. And I still do; I think I’m Batman now. [Laughs]
Be sure to pick up your copy if you’re vacationing out East, this weekend.