Fashion

The Story Behind The Polo Ralph Lauren Bear

Synonymous with the Polo Ralph Lauren brand, the bear is their second best-known symbol to the horse. The iconic bear has maintained relevance amongst luxury fashion, streetwear and pop culture for nearly 3 decades.

Its endearing character and extensive wardrobe are still to this day loved by grandparents and infamous rappers across the world. Here’s everything you need to know about the Polo Ralph Lauren bear… 

what is the polo ralph lauren bear

@poloralphlauren

The Story of the Polo Ralph Lauren Bear

The bear was born when Ralph Lauren was gifted a Richard Steiff teddy bear wearing a full tailored Ralph Lauren outfit. He was blown away by the thought that had gone into the bear and wanted to make it available to customers. The teddy bear, named “Preppy Bear,” was initially produced in a limited run of 200 bears. Sold in the Madison Avenue flagship store the bear’s sold out in one weekend.

what is the polo ralph lauren bear

The bears were eventually too expensive to manufacture so were discontinued but the Polo Ralph Lauren bear lived on when designer Richard Tahsin designed the first Polo bear for apparel. Finding success after the launch of the line in 1991 the bear became the brand’s second most recognised symbol.

The Polo Bear’s Connection to Hip-Hop

The bear was quickly picked up by The Lo-Life Crew, a Brooklyn-based crew renowned for stealing Polo Ralph Lauren merchandise. They desired Polo Ralph Lauren for its luxury branded clothing, it portrayed the lavish lifestyle that they aspired to. They would hit stores such as Barneys, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, taking as much as they could back to Harlem. 

what is the polo ralph lauren bear

Images curtesy – Creativeboom.com

The crew’s mandatory uniform was head-to-toe Polo Ralph Lauren, gaining them the title The Polo Boys and The Polo Crew. There were over 100 members in the crew which was socialising amongst the elite 90’s rappers. This led to the brand’s popularity and ultimately shaped the hip-hop fashion landscape. 

In 1994 Raekwon notoriously wore the Polo Ralph Lauren bear on the Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Can It All Be So Simple’ music video. Kanye West then in the mid-2000 wore the Polo Bear knit on the cover of his infamous ‘College Dropout’ album. Rappers Chance The Rapper and Drake have also opted for the iconic Polo Bear. 

what is the polo ralph lauren bear

The Rebirth of the Polo Bear

In 2013 the Polo Bear was reborn. With building interest in archived collections, the Polo Bear sweater returned as a part of its vintage “Bring it Back” campaign. Ralph Lauren’s CEO, Patrice Louvet continues to push the focus back to its classic core pieces. Like many other brands, Ralph ended up with so many sub-labels so their recent focus is regaining their much-loved identity. Leaning on the trusty Polo Bear and other nostalgic collections which were still popular.

The company overall has streamlined its distributors by roughly 25% as it becomes the high-fashion American heritage brand once again. If you haven’t already, this is your sign that every wardrobe should include the Polo Ralph Lauren bear. 

The Polo Ralph Lauren Bear Archive

Here are a few of our favourites from the extensive collection of Polo Ralph Lauren bears featured on sweaters, sweatshirts and hoodies.

#1 The Flag Bear Sweater 

Flag sweater Polo Bear

#2 The American Football Bear Sweater  

What is the polo ralph lauren bear

#3 The Double Denim Bear Sweatshirt 

what is the polo ralph lauren bear

#4 The Skiing Bear Sweatshirt 

what is the polo ralph lauren bear

#5 The Christmas Bear Hoodie 

what is the polo ralph lauren bear

#6 The Martini Bear Sweater 

What is the polo ralph lauren bear

 

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2022-11-30 12:41:12By Holly Thompson

 

Written by Holly Thompson



Holly Thompson

Holly Thompson

Writer and expert


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