We would have said Virgil Abloh, considering that in 2018 between eclectic collaborations and an important career leap has practically won everything, but the most influential designer of the year according to Highsnobiety is Ralph Lauren. In assigning its 2018 fashion awards, the streetwear bible crowns the American designer who this year celebrated the 50th anniversary of the brand. Why did he win? The reasons are different, all valid, and are probably the goals of rising designers like Abloho Kim Jones.
50 years of Ralph Lauren
Lauren celebrated her 50th anniversary with an anthological show and a mega party last October in New York, the city where both he and her fashion house were born, but also shared the celebrations with the customers, with a series of initiatives involved: a capsule collection with Mr Porter, the re-edition of his legendary polo shirts, a real jump in the 90s, and a collaboration with one of the hype brands of the moment, Palace.
In short, rather than looking back and paying homage to what he has already done, Lauren has looked ahead to be present in the thoughts and desires of the new generations. The motivation given by Highsnobiety for the title of the most influential designer is in fact this: “In 2018 Ralph Lauren showed how he practically managed to invent a style halfway between fashion and street culture”.
“Without him”, continues the magazine, “there would be no Supreme, or any other lifestyle brand to which it is enough to put its label on anything to make it immediately desirable”. The times (1967) are far in which Ralph Lauren from the Bronx was seen to refuse his wide ties in the middle of the slim-fit era. Persevering and expanding the business, Lauren managed to build not only an empire, but a whole lifestyle, what we now call “American classic”, which tells a dream of ascent through its famous Ivy League polo shirts, tweeds, complete at the Great Gatsby, the comfortable country western look when you take refuge in your own ranch and a selection that ranges from furniture to accessories for men, women and children.
In the course of 2018 Ralph Lauren has however shown that he knows how to go beyond his icons, precisely because in the American classic and in the eternal dream of man’s ascent today also hip-hop streetwear, the sporty look that has risen to new elegance, and a race for more inclusive success than before.