Ralph Lauren Teams With MLB For Apparel Collections
Ralph Lauren, a Bronx native, has been a baseball fan his entire life. And when he threw out the first pitch at a New York Yankees game and created a limited-edition Yankees apparel collection in 2018 it signified a start to what has now become a partnership between the iconic apparel label and MLB as the two announce new ongoing capsule collections. The first of three planned collections for 2021 debut May 10 with a variety of pieces for four teams.
“Once we saw the incredible success of our first limited-edition capsule collection we did with the Yankees in 2018 to commemorate my dad throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, we wanted to build on that momentum and excitement and expand this partnership across multiple teams,” says David Lauren, chief innovation and branding officer and vice chairman of the board for Ralph Lauren. “Working with MLB gave us the opportunity to do so.”
The collaboration kicks off with apparel featuring the Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. “We wanted to kick off the partnership with a handful of teams across a few cities that were all special in their own way,” David Lauren says. “For the upcoming collections, we are looking to expand the team offerings and excited to include the Boston Red Sox.”
The collections include a mixture of polo shirts, satin jackets inspired by what Ralph Lauren wore when throwing out the first pitch, fleece sweatshirts and New Era caps in team colors. The designs integrate classic Ralph Lauren colors into the collection, using red and navy and green and white for the Yankees, green and blue for the Cubs and green and white for the Dodgers and Cardinals. Expect team-themed “Polo Bear polo shirts and crewneck sweatshirts” to give another twist to the creations.
“We wanted to design into baseball fan apparel that would resonate with followers, like baseball hats, polo shirts, hoodies and we also wanted to make sure the satin baseball jacket that my dad wore when he threw out the first pitch was replicated in the collection and offered to other teams across the nation,” David Lauren says.
Based on the 2018 collection that sold out in minutes, David Lauren expects the jacket styles and New Era caps to be “instant sellers.”
This first collection trends toward classic designs that remain authentic to the teams and their colorways, David Lauren says. At the same time, the brand “wanted to have some fun” by adding iconic Ralph Lauren colors to the items, such as green and red, to make each of the teams look graphic.
By joining with MLB, Ralph Lauren sees the partnership as a way to celebrate American culture while reinforcing the brand’s love of sports. “We wanted to build on a cult following that has emerged from the confluence of sports and fashion that Ralph Lauren is doing in an unusual way, like in the Olympics. U.S. Open and now baseball,” David Lauren says. “Additionally, part of the company’s strategic business priorities is to win over a new generation and engage with a younger consumer, and we think working with MLB and these teams will help to expand our appeal with new consumers as well as appeal to all brand enthusiasts.”
With two more collections already planned—the second for fall and the third for the holiday season—each will come “uniquely different” and with their own styles. The next two capsule collections—only the Boston Red Sox have been announced as one of the teams featured—will focus less on team colors and “more about unexpected twists and fashion surprises where Ralph Lauren’s iconography really takes center stage.”
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.