Why is Ralph Lauren So Expensive? 10 REASONS WHY

Ralph Lauren products command premium pricing because the iconic luxury label conveys elite status and class aspirations stemming from exceptional brand recognition, exclusivity aura, premium materials, made-in-USA/Italy provenance, and enduring classic styles that retain long-term value and collectability. The high overhead expenses and manufacturing constraints needed to maintain this luxury brand identity and customer desire ultimately drive retail costs upward.

Ralph Lauren has become an iconic luxury brand known for its preppy polo shirts with the emblem of a polo player on a horse. But with price tags often over $100 for a simple cotton polo, many wonder – why are Ralph Lauren products so expensive? Is it just the name you pay for, or is there more to it?

Top 10 Reasons Why Ralph Lauren Brand is So Expensive

1. Recognition of the Brand Name

Ralph Lauren has established the brand as a symbol of upper-class American preppy style over its 50+ year history. The logo and brand name are instantly recognizable status symbols.

As an established luxury brand, people pay for that brand recognition and the elevated social status it brings.

2. Use of Premium Quality Materials

Ralph Lauren products use high-end natural fabrics like cotton, linen, silk and cashmere. Attention is paid to texture, drape and feel. Rather than cheaper synthetic blends, Ralph Lauren uses premium quality materials, which drive up costs. But fans feel the premium materials justify the price.

3. Limited Availability and Exclusivity

Ralph Lauren limits the number of products produced and the number of stores selling its high-end labels like Purple Label. This manufactured exclusivity increases demand.

Having something other people can’t easily get makes it more desirable. Limited availability enables the brand to command higher prices.

4. Handcrafted and Detailed Design

Unlike mass-produced fast fashion, Ralph Lauren products often feature ornate, handcrafted details like engraved buttons, custom embroidery, patches and stitching. Producing at a smaller scale allows more attention to each item’s construction and design. This artisanal production significantly increases labor and supply chain costs.

5. Made in Italy and USA Cachet

For its highest-end lines, Ralph Lauren manufactures in Italy or USA factories to take advantage of the positive brand associations customers have with American and Italian craftsmanship. However, domestic manufacturing comes at a steep price from higher labor rates and compliance costs.

6. Multi-Channel Retail Distribution

Ralph Lauren sells through its own retail stores, department stores, third-party ecommerce and brick-and-mortar shops. Managing this complex, multi-channel retail distribution network adds tremendous internal infrastructure and operational expenses that drive up the total overhead the company must fund through higher retail margins.

7. High Overhead Luxury Brand Expenses

In order to maintain the elite aura of luxury, Ralph Lauren spends lavishly on glossy magazine ads, fashion shows, endorsers, executive salaries and beautifully decorated flagship retail stores in expensive real estate locations.

These higher brand building costs ultimately trickle down into higher retail pricing to maintain generous profit margins.

8. Low Inventory Turnover Rate

Because Ralph Lauren operates an aspirational luxury fashion business focused on enduring styles beyond fleeting seasonal trends, inventory turns over at a much lower rate than fast fashion brands.

Lower turnover combined with higher fixed costs results in higher markups to balance out margin maintenance across decreased unit sales.

9. Strong Secondary Market Resale Value

The resale value of Ralph Lauren pieces, especially rare or limited offerings, remains remarkably strong for years. People even collect and trade vintage Ralph Lauren on eBay and consignment sites.

When products retain or gain value after the initial purchase, it signals the retail price was lower than what some consumers are willing to pay.

10. Premium Pricing Reinforces Exclusivity

In luxury retail, maintaining exceptionally high prices with minimal price promotions plays an important role in cultivating the brand’s elite prestige. Although lower prices would allow more consumers to purchase items, it would erode the aspirational quality that makes owning Ralph Lauren feel like an exclusive status symbol. High retail prices sustain that exclusivity aura.

Is Ralph Lauren a good brand?

Yes, Ralph Lauren is considered a top-tier luxury brand known for premium quality materials, craftsmanship, and timeless preppy styling that retains its aspirational reputation and resale value.

Are Ralph Lauren products good?

Ralph Lauren products consistently feature fine fabrics, exacting construction per luxury standards, enduring classic design, and standout details that support the reputation for delivering high-end quality worthy of the price tags.

Are Ralph Lauren products worth the price?

For those who appreciate Ralph Lauren’s signature polished preppy aesthetic and can afford the luxury tier pricing, the enduring styles, premium materials, and brand status make the investment worthwhile.

Where to buy Ralph Lauren products?

Ralph Lauren products are sold globally online through RalphLauren.com and in flagship Ralph Lauren retail boutiques, select luxury department stores, and a limited number of specialty retail partners.

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