Review of Polo Ralph Lauren ‘Spelman & Morehouse’ Spring 2022 Ad Campaign by Creative Director Ralph Lauren and Photographer Nadine Ijewere with models Aaliyah Hydes and Franciele Santos with current students, faculty, and alumni of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges
Ralph Lauren shares a beautiful and inspiring new campaign in celebration of its Polo by Ralph Lauren Exclusively for Morehouse College & Spelman College collection, which celebrates the overlooked legacy of historically Black colleges and universities in shaping American academic and sartorial culture.
The concept and design of the project was led by James Jeter, the director of concept design and special projects at Ralph Lauren and a 2013 Morehouse graduate himself. Jeter drew inspiration from the 1920’s through the 50’s and that era’s foundational movements and aesthetic that created the preppy American look (or the so-called “Ivy” look, though, as this collection and campaign explore, the origins of this uniform of the American dream extend far beyond Ivy League campuses) and particularly the role campus culture of HBCU’s played in creating it, seen through the specific lens of Morehouse and Spelman traditions.
This special collaboration with the students, the faculty, and alumni of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, two esteemed institutions attended by our own employees, extends the authenticity of our brand heritage, writing untold chapters in our storytelling. Our portrait of American style and our vision of the American dream would be incomplete without Black experiences like these.– Ralph Lauren
Lensed by photographer Nadine Ijewere, the campaign stars current students, faculty, and alumni of both colleges alongside models. Balancing a nostalgic feeling of history with a contemporary and vital feeling of campus life, Ijewere’s imagery establishes a joyous and powerful feeling of identity and community across both campuses.
The accompanying short film, conceived as a trailer for the collection, weaves together this new imagery with historical photography and film drawn from the archives of Morehouse and Spelman.
The collection is a brilliant way to celebrate the too-often overlooked legacy of Black Americans in academia and its culture – a statement that is made even stronger by its campaign’s all-Black creative team and cast (a first for the brand). There is nobody whose name holds as much weight in the vocabulary of American dressing like Ralph Lauren and his Polo, and yet this legacy is often misattributed as something pertaining to an exclusively white America. Focusing on the impact and importance of historically Black colleges and universities – the legacy of which reaches back centuries and continues to be essential in shaping individual lives and cultural movements to this day, and will be long into the future – Ralph Lauren takes essential steps to recognize the diverse face of the American Dream, and does so in impeccable style.
Ralph Lauren Creative Director | Ralph Lauren
Photographer | Nadine Ijewere
Models | Aaliyah Hydes and Franciele Santos with current students, faculty, and alumni of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges