Fashion and philanthropy have taken Ralph Lauren from the Bronx to honorary British knighthood.
He’ll be the first-ever American designer to be made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
The 79-year-old Bronx-born talent will be presented with the insignia at a ceremony with Queen Elizabeth next year.
Just don’t call him Sir — that title is reserved for British citizens. Instead, Lauren will get to use KBE after his name, just like former mayor Michael Bloomberg can do since being made an Honorary Knight Commander in 2014.
Through the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation, the designer has supported programs for cancer care, education, healthcare in underserved communities, the arts and community-based initiatives.
“In his storied career in fashion, business, and philanthropy, Mr. Lauren has played a key role in forging transatlantic cultural and economic connections,” British Consul General to New York and Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for North America, Antony Phillipson, said in a statement.
“As creator and visionary of the Ralph Lauren brand worldwide, Mr. Lauren has been a vanguard for the global fashion industry and American style for nearly half a century,” Phillipson added. “In addition, monumental philanthropic efforts, especially in the realm of public health, cancer research and treatment in both the U.S. and the UK, have led to benefits felt by citizens around the world.”
Lauren founded the Ralph Lauren Corporation in 1967, launching his first full menswear line, Polo, in 1968. The brand is known for its preppy look and t-shirts stamped with its signature polo player emblem.