Ralph Lauren presents their inaugural Artist in Residence collaboration
The inaugural collection of the Company’s Artist in Residence program launches today with Diné (Navajo) textile artist Naiomi Glasses, creating a special-edition product collection for Polo Ralph Lauren, reflecting the Company’s work to expand its portrayal of America through its design process, product offerings and marketing campaigns.
Ralph Lauren has embarked on a revolutionary artistic venture, inaugurating a pioneering collaboration with Navajo textile artist Naiomi Glasses. This marks the debut of the company's Artist in Residence program, a unique initiative that integrates artisans from diverse backgrounds into Ralph Lauren's design process. The program symbolises the company's commitment to portraying a more inclusive American narrative through its designs, products, and marketing endeavours.
The partnership with Naiomi, a seventh-generation Diné (Navajo) weaver, is a significant step in Ralph Lauren's journey to celebrate and preserve heritage craftsmanship. Naiomi’s work, deeply rooted in Navajo traditions, brings an authentic and vibrant dimension to the Polo Ralph Lauren collections. This collaboration, which includes seasonal launches throughout 2024, beautifully marries Navajo artistry with Ralph Lauren's classic designs: the first capsule includes men’s, women’s and unisex apparel and accessories in a colour palette inspired by the lands of Dinétah (Navajo Nation), where the Glasses family resides. Standout pieces include woven jacquard blanket coats and wrap crafted with the natural colours of undyed wool alongside reinterpretations of Ralph Lauren styles like ranch coats and thicket jackets. Contemporary adaptations of cherished Navajo symbols like spider woman and four directional crosses, dragonflies and wedge weave motifs are incorporated throughout the collection, reflecting the tradition, innovation and creativity present throughout Navajo culture. Also featured is an assortment of beautifully crafted knits, velvet tops, timeless layering pieces, and classic Ralph Lauren silhouettes like the iconic polo shirt and baseball cap that compliment Glasses’ personal style.
Ralph Lauren's shift towards more inclusive and diverse narratives began in 2020 with collaborations that highlighted the heritage of historically Black colleges and universities. Extending this ethos to Indigenous craftsmanship underscores the company's dedication to honoring the rich tapestry of American culture.
Ralph Lauren’s Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, emphasized the importance of authenticity in heritage craft: “Heritage and tradition are at the center of everything I love — things that encompass both beauty and utility, that are uncontrived and personal and are passed down for generations. Bringing the most authentic expression of heritage craft to life means working with those who have created and sustained these timeless traditions for centuries and sharing their stories with the world. That is the opportunity that awaits us — and that will be a valued part of the legacy of our Company.”
The campaign for this collection, featuring Indigenous talents and filmed in the Navajo Nation, further showcases the company's commitment to authentic representation. The narrative is extended through a short film by Shaandiin Tome, detailing Glasses' journey and the collection's creation.
A portion of the sales will support Change Labs, a Native-led organization that promotes entrepreneurship in Navajo and Hopi communities. This initiative is part of Ralph Lauren's broader efforts to support Native American communities, in alignment with their commitment to cultural preservation and access to education and career opportunities.
The first installment of the Polo Ralph Lauren x Naiomi Glasses Collection is now available, with subsequent releases planned for 2024. This collaboration marks a new chapter for Ralph Lauren and also for the fashion industry's approach to cultural representation and collaboration.