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  1. #1
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    Default Ralph Lauren Brand & Label Pecking order

    Can anyone definitively rank the various Ralph Lauren brands and label colors?


    Polo by Ralph Lauren
    Ralph Lauren Purple Label
    Ralph Lauren
    Black Label
    Blue Label
    Lauren by Ralph Lauren
    Polo Jeans Co.
    RRL
    RLX
    Rugby
    Chaps
    Club Monaco
    Polo University
    Polo Denim
    Green Label
    Silver Label


    Am I missing any? Some of these are actual brands, some are just label colors. What does it all mean? I know Purple is (or at least was) the top dog. Where does everything else fit?
    It's not reality that's important, but how you perceive things.

  2. #2
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    Top to Bottom (dress clothes collections):

    Purple Label
    Black Label
    Blue Label (this is Polo by Ralph Lauren)
    Silver Label
    Lauren by Ralph Lauren (I think this is green label)

    The rest are casual collections if I'm not mistaken. I dunno how they rank. They may be similar, just aimed at different market segments. Chaps is the absolute lowest on the list, and Club Monaco is ran like a completely separate company, so it doesn't fit neatly on the list.

  3. #3
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    Default

    I thought Chaps was a defunct label. At least there used to be suits with that label.

  4. #4
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    Suits, Sport coats, Better Trousers (any more info is too complicated and items are not licensed, but contracted in most cases)

    RL Purple Label hand tailored by SaintAndrews which has changed its name to Sartoria Santandrea Milano www.st-santandrea.it (under construction?) The Santandrea trousers have a white production tag on the pocketing. The non SantAndrea trousers have a purple production tag on the pocketing. (Made by Chester Barrie in Crewe, England until about 2001)

    RL Purple Label non-hand tailored. Reportedly by Cantarelli, the owner of St. Andrews until spring 2006. Unconfirmed. Considerably less expensive than the SantAndrea.

    RALPH LAUREN (blue label) better constructed Corneliani than Polo. Similar styles. Models = Jerome #

    Polo Ralph Lauren can run $1200 to over $2000 per suit depending on fabric and tailoring factors. Sport coats from roughly $1000 in wools to $2000 in cashmere tweeds. Corneliani. Trousers $325+ If a Polo item has a Made In Italy label it was probably made by some unit of Corneliani. Corneliani since 1999.

    Ralph Lauren Black Label trim suits currently about $1600? Maker ? Not the same production tags as Corneliani. I'd guess L.....

    Lauren (green label) made in Canada by Peerless. $?

    Chaps is still in the stable. Kohl's may have it exclusively. Dunno

    I don't think Polo University is made anymore.

    Rugby is a line originally targeted at college students.
    poppin' zits...
    'n puttin' it on a Ritzô

  5. #5
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    Default

    Chaps is sold primarily at Kohls now.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Jamgood, you trailed off on your guess for black label. care to take a stab?

  7. #7
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    Recent investigative work at SF (with Iammatt's keen eye) suggests that Black Label was recently -- and I presume still is -- being made by Ma.Co, a small shop that sold its stuff under the Raffaelle Caruso brand and also does work for other labels.

  8. #8
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    Jamgood, are you sure Chaps is still a RL brand? I had heard that it had been spun off into an independent entity, and my nearest Belk undertook quite the project of replacing all the "Ralph Lauren Chaps" signs with ones that just say "Chaps." Considering they had to rip them out of the walls, it seemed like a lot of effort for a small change.

  9. #9
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    thanks Doc! Knowing that you own Polo/Blue label and Black label clothing, would you agree that the MA Co. stuff is better than Corneliani? Or is Black Label priced higher due to cut/style/branding?

  10. #10
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    Try going on the RL web site and checking on the retailers listed for your state. I did this about a year ago. After the one RL store (we're backwards) and several Factory Outlets, other retailers were listed including pro shops. Towarge the end of the list Kohl's locations began appearing. Puzzled, I realized that Kohl's advertised Chaps every Sunday in the bird cage liner. That may have changed, but I think there has just been a disassociation of the RL. RL has a luxury/exclusivity image re-branding strategery, even though you can still buy OCBDs in the T J Maxx for $30, about $10 less than the Factory Outlet nearby and $40 less than the RL store across town. Which is in the same mall as about 5 Polo retailers. Go figure. Chaps as a brand is listed on page 7 of the most recent SEC form 10K and the major licensees are listed 2 or 3 pages later. You can confirm the Corneliani license for ALL Polo brand tailored clothing. Apparently RLPL is contracted rather than licensed. I seem to recall that Chester Barrie RLPL had a license, but I could be mistaken. You can also read about the formation of RL watches and jewelry and other stuff. It ain't all numbers. Google: Polo Ralph Lauren 10K Several services offer a link. You may be more comfortable with the Business Week link. Paragraph.
    poppin' zits...
    'n puttin' it on a Ritzô

  11. #11
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    www.raffaelecaruso.it What else is located on the Red Cross Road in Parma? A pair of genuine woven shoe laces to the winner!

    Are we sure about Ma Co.? Could it relate to the bank Mercato Alternativo del Capitale, or MAC. I kaint read English none two good, much less Itai. There are links indicating some type of negotiation between RC & MAC when browsed.

    I usually specialize in RLPL & PRL but have one 44L RLBL black 9 oz. 120's gab to list some time. I can't see that it's $400 better made than a similar Polo, but what do I know. I think the BL line is targeted at a supposedly more hip young urban type. Trimmer, narrower lapels and 2 buttons. Lower rise trousers. Similar to Paul Stuart's Phineas only in the Amish colour palette, sans cornflower blue shirt.

    Folks don't know, or have forgotten, that just after the launch of RLPL there was a line of RL with the same signature as RLPL but on a blue label. It was made by the Polo maker of the time but was supposed to be similar to PL in style. It was a little more expensive than Polo and lasted 2 or 3 years. Better fabrics and, often, belt-less trousers. Trimmer. Supposedly targeted at a similar demographic to the current BL.

    It's all so confusing from the perspective of a rural "rustic" modular abode in the middle of a soya field in non-metropolitan Kalina. Gotta go check the traps. I'll try to minimize variations of "suppose" in the future. I'm so limited.
    poppin' zits...
    'n puttin' it on a Ritzô

  12. #12
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    To add some info:

    Quote Originally Posted by sia View Post
    Lauren by Ralph Lauren -- Womens is run by Ralph, but I believe all mens "Lauren" is strictly licensee

    Polo Jeans Co. -- fairly recently reaquired, and looks to be heading up

    RRL -- very rustic, Ralph's pet label for many years

    RLX -- very techy

    Rugby -- still seems to be finding it's foothold and correct demographic, what some might see as modern trad taken to extremes.

    Club Monaco -- owned by Ralph, completely separate entity. Did you know that Thom Browne used to be the head designer?

    Green Label -- isn't this just Lauren?

  13. #13
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    Jamgood, Kohls does, or did, sell some Lauren Green Label shirts, maybe some other items from that line as well.

    There's also a Ralph line of dress pants and overcoats sold at Dillards and similar stores. Seems about on par with Lauren stuff.

  14. #14
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    Is any of the RL stuff any/particularly good? I owned a RL suit about 10 years ago and really liked it. Apart from socks, I haven't gone near the brand since because of the stigma associated with it (hype/preppie/wannabe/etc). I recently ordered a purple lable tie, knowing that (I think) they started out as a tie manufacturer and so may have some credibility in that area. So, my question is: what gems has my unreasonable and unfounded bias precluded me from wearing and enjoying - or, throughout the various lines of RL discussed above, are there specific garments that are particularly good quality or value at each level?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rossini View Post
    Is any of the RL stuff any/particularly good? I owned a RL suit about 10 years ago and really liked it. Apart from socks, I haven't gone near the brand since because of the stigma associated with it (hype/preppie/wannabe/etc). I recently ordered a purple lable tie, knowing that (I think) they started out as a tie manufacturer and so may have some credibility in that area. So, my question is: what gems has my unreasonable and unfounded bias precluded me from wearing and enjoying - or, throughout the various lines of RL discussed above, are there specific garments that are particularly good quality or value at each level?
    I'll leave the specifics to others, but there are good values to be had at several Polo levels, and overall very good garments at the higher levels.

    Don't put too much faith in their ties though, Ralph started as a tie salesman for another firm, and yes, Polo originally started by making ties, but they're not anything particularly special. I doubt you'll be disappointed, but I don't think you'll be 'wowed' either.

  16. #16
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    Chaps is part of VanHeusen now

    http://www.pvh.com/Brand_Chaps.html

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRR View Post
    Chaps is part of VanHeusen now

    http://www.pvh.com/Brand_Chaps.html
    Chaps was always a licensed brand of PRL. Prior to PVH I believe Warnaco owned the rights to the brand.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by trims View Post
    I'll leave the specifics to others, but there are good values to be had at several Polo levels, and overall very good garments at the higher levels.

    Don't put too much faith in their ties though, Ralph started as a tie salesman for another firm, and yes, Polo originally started by making ties, but they're not anything particularly special. I doubt you'll be disappointed, but I don't think you'll be 'wowed' either.
    Purple Label and Black Label make very nice, fully canvassed suits and sportcoats, if you like the cut. (Black is very trim.) The Polo suits by Corneliani are partly fused, but it's some of the best fusing out there, and I happen to like the overall aesthetic. I'd be hard pressed to pay Ralph's absurd retail for a Polo suit, but they're often found on deep discount in interesting styles and configurations. Be careful with the Polo stuff, though -- only the better stuff is made in Italy, while a lot of the department-store merch is made in Eastern Europe. $700 for a fused sportcoat from Slovakia? No thanks.

    I'll second trims' comment about the PL ties. I've yet to see a tie from Ralph that has really wowed me in terms of construction/silk. I do, though, own several Polo knits, and give Ralph kudos for keeping them readily available. Overall, my impression of Ralph's ties is that they're often a bit stiff and don't drape that attractively.

    Similarly, I find Ralph's shirts -- even the PL ones -- just OK. PL strikes me as underwhelming at $350, or even $200. But the increasingly rare PL shoes by Edward Green are extremely nice, particularly when found at half off retail. Even Green's sale can't beat Ralph's sale price.

    Overall, Ralph makes some very nice stuff, but it takes a discriminating eye to sort the wheat from the chaff. As for Corneliani v. Black Label, I find it a tough comparison. I'd put the BL stuff on about equal footing with Corneliani -- they're both fully canvassed, mostly machine made coats with some handwork. Corneliani is more conservative, yet, for me, very elegant.

  19. #19
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    Doc, just to clarify, are you underwhelmed by the Black Label shirts as well? I bought one for $175 and I like the way it looks (especially the modern cut collar), but am a little disappointed by the build quality. I'm wrestling with myself over whether or not to return it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamgood View Post
    www.raffaelecaruso.it What else is located on the Red Cross Road in Parma? A pair of genuine woven shoe laces to the winner!
    Whoever makes Caruso, also makes Lanvin, RL Black Label, Dunhill (the older made in Italy line, not the current junk), Jil Sander Tailored, some Boss Baldessarini.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirSuturesALot View Post
    Doc, just to clarify, are you underwhelmed by the Black Label shirts as well? I bought one for $175 and I like the way it looks (especially the modern cut collar), but am a little disappointed by the build quality. I'm wrestling with myself over whether or not to return it.
    I've only seen a few BL shirts, but my reaction was similar to the PL shirts: I'd buy 'em on significant discount but not at full retail. But bear in mind, I'm cheap.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamgood View Post
    Polo Ralph Lauren can run $1200 to over $2000 per suit depending on fabric and tailoring factors. Sport coats from roughly $1000 in wools to $2000 in cashmere tweeds. Corneliani. Trousers $325+ If a Polo item has a Made In Italy label it was probably made by some unit of Corneliani. Corneliani since 1999.

    Ralph Lauren Black Label trim suits currently about $1600? Maker ? Not the same production tags as Corneliani. I'd guess L.....
    If someone can think about a suit at $2000, couldn't they also think about a suit at $5000? If so, why bother with high-end fashion garments--made by a machine to standard sizes in a factory just like the $300 suits--and simply save up for an MTM or even bespoke suit? I'll be honest, the $1500 to $3000 price range on RTW suits makes absolutely zero sense to me. Am I missing something?

  23. #23
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    A couple of questions and an observation:

    1. Does Polo make anything in the USA? I recall that it used to own a suit factory or two, and the current Oxxford team (Mike Cohen [CEO] and Rocco [head tailor/designer]) used to work out of the Ralph Lauren factory in Mass. It was closed.

    2. Has Polo, which celebrates the English, American, and "trad" looks, abandoned all manufacturing in the USA and UK?

    3. I realize that Polo is a fantastically successful business and that it has all sorts of labels and products to cater to all price points. But hasn't Polo diluted its name as a luxury maker by having so many different labels? Hasn't Polo lost its "specialness" by trying to appeal to everyone? Also, has it diluted its name by selling its goods at various discount outlets including its own outlets?
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by son of brummell View Post
    A couple of questions and an observation:

    1. Does Polo make anything in the USA? I recall that it used to own a suit factory or two, and the current Oxxford team (Mike Cohen [CEO] and Rocco [head tailor/designer]) used to work out of the Ralph Lauren factory in Mass. It was closed.

    2. Has Polo, which celebrates the English, American, and "trad" looks, abandoned all manufacturing in the USA and UK?

    3. I realize that Polo is a fantastically successful business and that it has all sorts of labels and products to cater to all price points. But hasn't Polo diluted its name as a luxury maker by having so many different labels? Hasn't Polo lost its "specialness" by trying to appeal to everyone? Also, has it diluted its name by selling its goods at various discount outlets including its own outlets?
    1. No (as far as I understand)
    2. Essentially yes.
    3. No. You'd be hard pressed to find Black Label and Purple Label at Polo outlets and if you want to know how popular Purple Lable is, go to an MTM event at the mansion. Quite frankly, for all the guff RL takes, a case can be made that it is the "best" brand in the world, in terms of men's tailored clothing. He has essentially every price point covered in the brick and mortar world, has an outlet following, and his stuff also makes it to the ebay's of the world allowing the cheap among us to clad ourselves in $3-4K suits for $600-700. Effectively, he covers every segment of the buying population. Yet, as I mentioned, there is no prestige loss in the BL and PL lines or even the Blue label (made in Italy) for that matter. How many other brands can or have done that? Keep in mind that he is not a luxury maker, he is a luxury brand. If the St. Andrews factory that is making the Purple Label was also making the green tagged Lauren crap, then there would be dilution.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post
    Overall, Ralph makes some very nice stuff, but it takes a discriminating eye to sort the wheat from the chaff.
    Quoted for emphasis and truth. There are some fab RL items out there but a lot of dross too. But the good items are often great.

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