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Behind Ralph Lauren’s Indigenous Artists Scholarship, New Eco Lines – WWD

Ralph Lauren’s business agenda is studded with many social and environmental goals, as his latest report shows. And all the elements included are part of a larger business vision.

“Incorporating this philosophy into the entire value chain is a natural and fundamental extension of Ralph’s vision as we work to address our impact beyond the beautiful products and experiences we create,” said Ralph’s president and CEO. Lauren, Patrice Louvet, in a press release.

Between launching an Artists in Residence program for indigenous artists, unveiling the first in a series of “iconic” Cradle to Cradle or C2C certified products, and awarding a fund dedicated to regenerative cotton, Ralph Lauren has kept busy.

The Artist in Residence program prioritizes artists who “preserve traditional and evolving native craftsmanship”. The program aims to expand their platforms within the art, design, fashion and craft sectors. Each artist’s tenure depends on their reach and availability, ranging from six to 18 months with the potential for a permanent role with the company in the future. Attendees will work remotely, but will visit Ralph Lauren’s corporate headquarters in New York with the opportunity for creative collaborations on site.

“Each artist’s program can look different as our goal is to tailor their experience to their wishes and goals,” said a company spokesperson. “As we launch the program, we are working with partners such as Creative Futures Collective to identify candidates. In the future, we aim to empower our newly formed external advisory board to help identify Artists in Residence candidates. “

Regenerative agriculture is also receiving due attention.

Last year, the company designated a $ 5 million inaugural grant through the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation to establish the “US Regenerative Cotton Fund,” or USRCF, to support long-term sustainable cotton production in the United States. aims to remove 1 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere by 2026. Cotton accounts for more than 80% of Ralph Lauren Corp.’s total material use, and the USRCF initiative supports the company’s recent investments in dyeing materials and processes.

For its circular design initiative, consumers can expect to see the brand’s first C2C-certified cashmere sweater later this year. Specifically, the launch concerns the “Purple-label” men’s cashmere crewneck sweater and the “Collection luxury” women’s one. The drop ushers in the company’s sustainability goal of launching five iconic C2C-certified styles over the next three years, or by 2025.

Two more C2C-certified product launches are planned by the end of the year.

Ralph Lauren said it will step up efforts to map its supply chain to enable visibility of material origins at each stage of the fabric and apparel supply chain. As product traceability is another component of the bigger supply chain picture, the company also provided an update on the status of its partnership with technology companies Evrythng and Avery Dennison. The partnership began in 2019 and is said to involve digital mapping of Ralph Lauren’s entire product catalog. At the time, the volume of the product was just under 200 million items, which is no small feat.

“To date, we have incorporated more than 200 factories into the [Digital Product Identification system, or DPIDs] program and as a result, most of our apparel products now have DPID and we expect every product to have a digital ID by 2024, “a spokesperson said.

As with other heavyweights in the industry, Ralph Lauren has taken an early stance in disparaging PFAs or “chemicals forever,” which are facing regulatory crackdown as clothing is anchored as a source of persistent toxins. The company has pledged to free its businesses (those with water-repellent capabilities) from PFAs and said it is on track to do so by the end of fiscal 2022.

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