Is there anything or anyone more American than Ralph Lauren? Since it was founded over a half century ago, the heritage brand has embedded itself within the tapestry of North American culture, where it sits next to scenes of cowboys, Hollywood stars, and sporting heroes. Now, with the announcement of a new Artist in Residency initiative, Ralph Lauren shares its commitment to nurturing new voices essential to America's creative heart and cultural identity.
How it will work is Ralph Lauren will invite artisans to participate in an immersive collaboration with its own creative teams, with a focus on preserving the traditional techniques, mediums, and crafts practiced by the chosen artist.
Introducing the program, Ralph Lauren, Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Ralph Lauren Corporation said, “Heritage and tradition are at the centre 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," Lauren continued. "That is the opportunity that awaits us – and that will be a valued part of the legacy of our Company.”
For its inaugural Artist in Residence program, Ralph Lauren has selected Diné (Navajo) textile artist Naiomi Glasses as its first collaborator. As a seventh generation Diné weaver and textile artist, Glasses brings decades of accumulated knowledge and artistry to the project, which will see her incorporate traditional Navajo design into three seasonal and limited collections scheduled to launch throughout 2024.
The first capsule comprises men's, women's and gender neutral apparel, as well as accessories, in a colour palette inspired by Glasses' ancestral homeland – the lands of Dinétah – where many of her family still live. The collection features contemporary adaptations of traditional Navajo motifs, such as the spider woman, four directional crosses, dragonflies and wedge weave.
“It is only through the power of collaboration and Ralph Lauren’s unique program that this collection was made possible, and the best part is that it brings traditional Navajo weaving to a new generation," said Glasses of the collaboration.
The campaign spotlighting Glasses' collaboration with Ralph Lauren was shot by Ryan RedCorn of the Osage Nation and Daryn Sells of the Navajo Nation, and features a predominantly First Nations cast and crew, including members of Glasses’ family, friends and community.