No. 56: Waves and eight must reads.

A LAST WORD: EMERGING WAVES THAT ARE DAMNING $RL

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An on-going joke at Mizzen+Main was the repetitive use of Kanye’s famous now-famous soundbite “it ain’t Ralph, though!” The Ralph Lauren brand has been a fixture in menswear since the 1960’s. Its timeless style has been the guide for each generation of professional women and men. In essence, no other brand compared to RL’s longevity and forward thinking.

Stories of Ralph Lifschitz hustling neck ties at Neiman Marcus once powered us through a time that was especially hard. In 2012 and 2013, convincing men to wear cotton-free formal wear was very, very difficult. The thought of it was insulting to many who preferred cotton wovens over technical knits (that appeared organic in nature). Fast forward four years and it’s clear that technical fabrics / smart fabrics / and “gym clothes as formal wear” will own at least a piece of the menswear future. Two brands helped create a wave.

The problem with the adoption of this technology at the heritage brand’s design houses is that manufacturing with dynamic fabrics is infinitely more difficult than manufacturing with cotton and other traditional textiles. So it may be early to think that Ralph Lauren is internally discussing technical DNVB’s like: Mizzen+MainMinistry of Supply and their recreational counterparts – Kit and Aceand Outdoor Voices. But hey, it’s likely that they are.

Nike and Adidas have thrived by acquiring brands for each’s unique appeal, heritage menswear brands like Ralph Lauren may have to consider it for the first time.

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