Polo Ralph Lauren’s Morehouse & Spelman campaign is another first for the fashion brand: every member of the cast, from the creative directors to the photographer to the talent — students, faculty, and alumni of each college — was Black.
The apparel itself is steeped in age-old collegiate fare, inspired by clothing worn by actual Morehouse and Spelman students from the 1920s to the ’50s.
Given Lauren’s preppy heritage, it’s fitting that the stylistic lexicon of Black college students informs the latest Polo line.
“It’s so much more than a portrayal of a collegiate design sensibility,” Ralph Lauren himself said in a statement. “It’s about sharing a more complete and authentic portrait of American style and of the American dream — ensuring stories of Black life and experiences are embedded in the inspiration and aspiration of our brand.”
Morehouse’s masculine collection includes wool flannel blazers — a nod to the jackets that were gifted to students on their first day — wool sweaters stitched with an “M,” and varsity jackets emblazoned with the college’s mascot, a maroon tigers.
More feminine items appear in Spelman’s collection, appropriately, including silk wrap dresses, pale blue aran sweaters, and Spelman-branded satin varsities.
The looks are captured in an accompanying short film, A Portrait of the American Dream, which premieres on March 28, a day before the collections’ release.