Ralph Lauren is a billionaire and an iconic figure in the world of fashion and design known for founding the global enterprise with his name on it. Even though he stepped down as CEO of Ralph Lauren Corp. in 2015, he is still one of the wealthiest people worldwide. In 2024, Ralph Lauren’s net worth exceeds $8.8 billion.

For decades now, Ralph Lauren has been an icon in American fashion. Keep reading to learn how he built one of the biggest international fashion brands.

Ralph Lauren’s Net Worth Breakdown:

Ralph Lauren’s estimated net worth is mostly sourced from his significant stake in the company he founded over five decades ago. In addition to his 39% stake in the business, Lauren has earned millions in compensation as the company’s CEO and chief creative director, as well as a member of the board of directors.

Based on our findings, Lauren’s estimated net worth also includes his high-value assets such as classic cars and expensive mansions. Here is a detailed breakdown of the main assets and earnings that contribute to the fashion icon’s fortune:

Asset or Income Source Contribution to Net Worth
Goldman Sachs stake purchase $135 million
Ralph Lauren Corp. state 39%, $4.16 billion
Ralph Lauren Corp. compensation 2017-23 $129.77 million
Car collection $600 million
Real estate $30+ million
Total Net Worth $8.8 billion

Ralph Lauren Net Worth: Early Life and Education

Born Ralph Lifshitz, the fashion designer behind the Ralph Lauren Corp. was born in New York City to a family of Russian Jew immigrants. He was born on October 14, 1939, in the Bronx in New York City, to parents Frieda, an artist, and Frank Lifshitz, a house painter. His parents immigrated to the United States from Pinsk, Second Polish Republic (or as we know it now, Belarus).

Young Ralph Lifshitz has three siblings – two brothers, and one sister. When he was 16 years old, following in the footsteps of his older brother Jerry Lauren, he and his other brother George Poitras Lauren changed their surnames to Lauren. The oldest brother did this after being bullied in the US Air Force, prompting his siblings to do the same. Ralph Lauren said to Oprah Winfrey:

When I was a kid, the other kids would make a lot of fun of me. It was a tough name. That’s why I decided to change it. Then people said, ‘Did you change your name because you don’t want to be Jewish?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not. That’s not what it’s about.

He went on to explain, “My cousins who lived in California had changed their last name to Lawrence. So I just thought, “I’m going to pick a nice last name”—it wasn’t particularly connected to anything or anyone.”

Ralph Lauren’s Education

Ralph Lauren studied in day school, followed by his time at the Manhattan Talmudical Academy and the DeWitt Clinton High School. After his high school graduation in 1957, he enrolled in Baruch College at the City University of New York to study business. However, he didn’t complete his education, dropping out of school after two years.

Personal Life and Family

In 1964, Lauren married Ricky Ann Loew-Beer, the daughter of Rudolph Loew-Beer and Margaret Vytouch. The couple met six months before their New York City wedding, in a doctor’s office where Ricky worked as a receptionist.

Ralph and Ricky have three children: David Lauren, Andrew Lauren, and Dylan Lauren.

In 2011, Ralph Lauren’s son David, who works as the executive vice president of the Ralph Lauren Corporation, married Lauren Bush, the granddaughter of former President George H. W. Bush.

Andrew Lauren is a film producer and an actor, while his sister, Dylan Lauren owns Dylan’s Candy Bar in New York, and is now the owner of a chain of boutique candy shops in several cities.

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Ralph Lauren Net Worth: From Designing Neckwear to Building the Ralph Lauren Brand

Lauren’s success didn’t start right out of school. In fact, he worked for other businesses for years before he got his name out in the design world.

Early Career Days

Between 1962 and 1964, before his marriage, Lauren served in the United States Army. When he was discharged, he worked as a sales assistant for Brooks Brother and a salesman for Rivertz.

Young Ralph Lauren spent years working for others and polishing his skills for design. When he was 28 years old, he also worked for tie manufacturer Beau Brummell.

By this time, he was designing – and selling neckwear that he fashioned himself. This wasn’t an easy feat. He had his first break when a Neiman Marcus buyer bought a batch of ties. Following this success, Bloomingdale’s showed interest in his line but asked him to take off his label and make them narrower, a request he refused. Fast forward six months and Bloomingdale’s still ordered a case of ties with Ralph Lauren’s name on them.

Founding the Ralph Lauren Brand

In 1967, young Ralph Lauren finally launched his first business, The Ralph Lauren Corporation. At the start, he sold men’s ties under the Polo line, despite never having played the sport in his life.

The young designer won the Coty American Fashion Critics Award two years later and launched his first official fashion line. Following the line’s launch, he opened a stand-alone boutique to sell it, rather than have it sold through department store.

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Lauren named his first full line of menswear Polo, creating it from a single drawer in a showroom in the Empire State Building, and delivering products to stores himself. A year later, Bloomingdale’s started selling the Ralph Lauren men’s line exclusively, marking the first time their brand gave a designer their own in-store boutique.

The Growth of Ralph Lauren Corp.

In 1971, Lauren expanded the brand’s portfolio, launching a line of tailored shirts for women, using the Polo player logo for the very first time, placing it on the cuff of the shirts. The following year, the brand launched the first full women’s collection and opened a store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, the first freestanding store for a designer from the US.

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In 1972, the corporation introduced its signature Polo shirt in seventeen different colors. These items featured the polo player logo on the chest and became one of Lauren’s most recognizable, signature styles. The campaign’s tagline was “Every team has it’s color – Polo has seventeen”.

Now, there are 32 different colors for the Ralph Lauren polo shirt.

Two years after the launch of the polo shirt line, Ralph Lauren outfitted the male cast of the film The Great Gatsby in costumes from his line, including men’s suits and sweaters. The only exception he made was with the pink suit for Robert Redford’s Jay Gatsby.

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This wasn’t the only movie he designed for during that period. In 1997, he designed Woody Allen and Diane Keaton’s clothes for Annie Hall, as well.

The company continued to expand in the next two decades, adding over ten additional lines to its portfolio and acquiring brands including the Ralph Lauren Purple Label, acquired in 1995, and Lauren Ralph Lauren in 1996.

In 1978, the corporation branched into the world of fragrances. This was the year the brand launched the very first Ralph Lauren fragrances, sold exclusively at Bloomingdale’s. The collection included the men’s Polo cologne and the women’s Lauren perfume.

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The corporation expanded very fast, making Lauren one of the most recognized fashion designers on a worldwide level. The designer didn’t take long to take the brand international, opening the first European store in the West End of London in 1981, on New Bond Street.

In 1986, the corporation opened its first flagship in the Rhinelander mansion on 72nd Street and Madison Avenue in New York City. Lauren decided to recreate the original style of the building, getting help from Naomi Leff, a young design consultant who had previously worked on his home.

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In 1992, the company introduced the Polo Sport Line.

The Ralph Lauren Corporation’s IPO

The first time Lauren sold a stake in his business was in 1994, when he sold 28% to Goldman Sachs for $135 million. Before the sale, Lauren held a 90% stake in Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., and his partner, Peter Strom, owned the remaining 10%.

When asked about the decision to sell such a large piece of his business, Lauren said that he needed money to finance the company’s growth.

“I was faced with something of a dilemma. How could I stay private, which is what I preferred, and yet how could I still go forward with all the things I still want to do with this company?” – he shared.

Even though he didn’t initially want to take the business public, Ralph Lauren Corp. eventually went public in 1997 on the New York Stock Exchange. During the IPO, the now publicly-traded company raised $767 million. At this point, the business had the most successful offering of all US fashion companies, at least until Michael Kors had its IPO in 2011.

Ralph Lauren’s Expansion after the IPO

In 1999, Ralph Lauren expanded its portfolio to include an entirely different venture, a 98-seat restaurant called RL, located in Chicago, adjacent to the company’s largest store right at the corner of Chicago and Michigan Avenues.

He didn’t stop there, though. He soon opened another restaurant at 173 Boulevard Saint-Germain called Ralph’s and the famous The Polo Bar in New York (2015).

The Ralph Lauren Corporation went online for the first time in 2000 when it launched its online shop and website polo.com through RL Media (a collaboration between NBC and Ralph Lauren).

In 2007, Lauren’s business acquired NBC’s share of RL Media, later relaunching the website with a new name, ralphlauren.com. The company reportedly spent $175 million to buy out NBC’s 50% ownership in Ralph Lauren Media.

“Over the past seven years, we have enjoyed a strong partnership with both NBC and ValueVision which enabled us to expand the world of Ralph Lauren online. Together we have built a powerful presence that combines creativity and commerce in a virtual flagship store,” said Ralph Lauren. “We are excited about our complete ownership of Polo.com as we look to grow and elevate our ecommerce presence on a worldwide basis.”

A year later, the corporation launched a new brand called American Living, made exclusively for JCPenney, making the largest cross-category brand launch in the history of both corporations.

Leaving Ralph Lauren Corp.

On September 29, 2015, it was announced that Ralph Lauren would step down as chief executive officer of the corporation, with Stefan Larsson taking his place. However, Lauren remained in the company as executive chairman and chief creative officer, a position he holds to this day.

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Three years later, Lauren celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Ralph Lauren brand with a fashion show in Central Park at Bethesda Terrace. In addition to world-famous fashion designers, the event was attended by major names like Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Kanye West, and Robert DeNiro.

To date, Ralph Lauren remains the company’s largest shareholder with 39% of outstanding shares. Based on the company’s market capitalization in April 2024 of $10.67 billion, his stake is worth over $4.16 billion.

This doesn’t include the billions he has earned through dividends and compensation at the company, details that haven’t been publicly disclosed for the duration of his leadership of the business.

In 2022, Lauren earned $18.3 million according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission for his roles as executive chairman and chief creative officer of the business. In 2023, he earned $18,288,879 in total compensation, made up of salary, bonuses, and stock. Here is some information on the salaries he has received throughout the years:

Based on this information, Lauren has been earning an average of around $18 million a year, and that’s just after he left the CEO role – he likely earned even more when in that role.

Philanthropy

Lauren has been recognized worldwide for his philanthropic activities, having spent a fortune to help a variety of causes with his primary focus being on cancer care.

Cancer Prevention and Care Contributions

In 1989, Lauren co-founded the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research, located at Georgetown University Hospital, Washington D.C. He named the center in memory of the late Nina Hyde, a fashion correspondent.

This wasn’t his only activity in cancer care, though. For years, Lauren was the chairman for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, and also the one who created the initiative’s symbol and name. The initiative was part of the CFDA project and was founded in 1994 to raise public awareness as well as funds for breast cancer research.

Fast forward to 2003, and Lauren supported the creation of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention. The center is located in Harlem, Manhattan, in New York City, and is a collaboration between Lauren, North General Hospital, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering. In 2023, a new center was also opened at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University.

Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention
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In 2014, Lauren’s corporation partnered with the largest cancer center in Europe, Royal Marsden, to develop a breast cancer facility named the Royal Marsden Ralph Lauren Center for Breast Cancer Research, which was opened two years later.

Other Philanthropic Efforts

In 2000, Lauren’s company launched the Volunteer Program to energize employees and create more meaningful connections with the community. That same year, the business launched a national initiative called the Pink Pony Campaign, aiming to reduce disparities in cancer care and enhance prevention and treatment in underserved and poor communities.

In 2004, the company established the Polo Fashion School. The school helps young fashion designers learn the ropes from company executives and experts in the fashion industry.

In 2006, Lauren created the Polo Jeans Get Involved, Volunteer, Exceed campaign to inspire community service through volunteerism. Following the September 11 attacks, his foundation established the American Heroes Fund to allow the 10,000 employees of Polo worldwide and their customers a chance to participate in the relief effort.

Lauren’s Awards and Accolades

The American designer has had great successes in fashion and business, as well as philanthropy, which led him to receive many prestigious awards and accolades, including:

  • 1970, 1973, 1976, 1977: Won the Coty Award
  • 1975: Won the American Fashion Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America
  • 1981: Won his first CFDA Fashion Award at the first Council of Fashion Designers of America award ceremony
  • 1985: Won the Designer Achievement Award by the Menswear Association of America
  • 1989: Won the Golden Plate Award in fashion and design by The American Academy of Achievement
  • 1992: Won the first CFDA Lifetime Achievement award, presented by Audrey Hepburn
  • 1996: Won the Humanitarian Award by the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research, presented by Princess Diana
  • 2000: Inducted into the Fashion Walk of Fame in the Fashion District in New York
  • 2010: Receives a key to the city by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • 2017: Appointed an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Prince Charles
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Ralph Lauren Net Worth: Other Assets and Investments

Except for the corporation’s public investments, there is hardly any information on what Ralph Lauren has invested in over the years except for his personal assets like real estate, as well as his famous car collection.

Lauren’s Car Collection

Ralph Lauren is an incredibly passionate car collector who has curated an absolutely unbelievable collection. His garage counts around 100 automobiles, many of which are expensive, rare, or both. Here are some of the cars in his collection:

  • 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
  • three 1996 McLaren F1s, one of which is an ultra-rare LM
  • two Ferrari TRs
  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
  • Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic
  • 1929 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre
  • 1937 Bugatti Type 57 SC Gangloff
  • Porsche 911 GT3 RS
  • Lamborghini Reventon Roadster
  • 1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK
  • 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Mille Miglia

Over the years, Lauren’s vehicles have won awards and have been displayed in museums and events. For instance, in 2005, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts displayed his entire collection at the time. In 2011, seventeen selected cars from his car collection were exhibited at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris.

In 2017, his car collection was center stage during the New York Fashion Week.

 

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His collection is reportedly worth over $600 million today.

Real Estate Assets

Lauren owns several properties worldwide, including a 17,000-acre cattle ranch located in Ridgway, Colorado. He also owns a manor in Bedford, New York, which was built in 1919. Reportedly, this is one of five Lauren houses and the primary residence of the family.
In addition to this property, Lauren also bought an oceanfront property in the Hamptons for $16 million, a home that once belonged to the playwright Edward Albee. Additionally, he has a property in Jamaica of an undisclosed value.

For the most part, his properties’ value and location are not publicly disclosed, but based on the value of the properties in these locations, he has real estate that’s worth over $30 million.

What Can We Learn from Ralph Lauren’s Story?

Ralph Lauren’s story is one of passion, creative vision, and relentless pursuit. From humble beginnings as the son of immigrants, Lauren transformed himself into a global fashion icon, not to mention a billionaire. His story has many lessons to teach us.

For starters, Lauren faced major challenges as a child and teenager, being judged and bullied for his surname. He remained true to himself and kept embracing his identity even though he changed his surname.

Lauren’s path to success wasn’t without obstacles. He worked for other businesses for years and faced constant rejection before he managed to launch his own brand. His perseverance in the face of setbacks teaches us the importance of determination and resilience in achieving one’s goals.

Furthermore, Lauren’s innovative approach to fashion, blending American sensibility with classic elegance, is what sets him apart in a very competitive industry. He showed this ability to think outside the box, pushing boundaries and teaching us how important it is to be creative and believe in your ideas and talent.

From launching his own tie line to founding his first business to taking the corporation public, Lauren demonstrated a willingness to take risks. His ability to navigate challenges shows the importance of flexibility and agility in business.

Beyond his business success, Ralph Lauren has made significant contributions to philanthropic causes, particularly in cancer research and care. His dedication to giving back to the community highlights the importance of using a person’s success to make a positive change in the world.