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Morehouse College and Spelman College, two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), are featured in Ralph Lauren’s new ad campaign. The two famed HBCUs include collections that feature Black Americans in Lauren’s fashion.

Ralph Lauren, who has created clothing lines for the last 50 years, also incorporated models from both schools. Students, faculty, and staff from Morehouse and Spelman are the focus of the advertisements.

In fact, Lauren now has a licensing agreement with both Spelman and Morehouse. Naturally, the clothes highlight historically traditional HBCU college gear, including varsity jackets.

Ralph Lauren, Morehouse, and Spelman: a powerful combination

Lauren committed to focus on clothes for HBCU students after protests following George Floyd’s murder in 2020. Noting that previous collections included nearly all-White models, Lauren said, “We’re catching up. We’re catching up with [the country’s] changes. And I want to be part of that change.”

HBCUs are also part of the change. In fact, while many universities have struggled to retain students during the Covid-19 pandemic, Black enrollment is up 15% across all HBCU.

The Ralph Lauren clothing highlights Americana. Meanwhile, the designer stated the HBCU collection “ensures stories of Black life and experiences are embedded in the inspiration and aspiration of our brand.”

Stepping up for HBCUs

Not only did founder Ralph Lauren create a fashion line for HBCU, he also invested in the schools. Last year, Ralph Lauren Corporate donated $2 million pledge to provide scholarships for students at 12 historically Black colleges and universities across the country.

Morehouse and Spelman students feel thrilled by the opportunity to showcase their stories through Lauren’s collection. According to Cole Brown, an alum, “I can’t help but smile seeing an iconic brand recognize the beauty that many of us knew was there all along.”

Ralph Lauren’s new clothing line featuring HBCU will be available later this month. The clothing will be available for purchase at Macy’s, Dillards, Nordstrom, Saks, and Ralph Lauren’s website.

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

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