Black History Month: A Gallery Of Polo’s African-American Models


His brand image draws largely on WASP iconography, and he himself, of course, is a Jew. But that didn’t stop Ralph Lauren from being a fashion-industry trailblazer in the early ’90s when he hired African-American model Tyson Beckford as the new face of Polo.

Since then black models have been a commonplace is the brand’s marketing imagery. And you’ll soon be seeing Beckford again, who recently told Esquire he’s making a return to representing the brand.

Ivy Style continues its proud tradition of being the only WASPy/preppy blog to celebrate Black History Month (we like to think of it as “tradition with a twist”), and herein presents a gallery tribute to the black models of Polo, who wear the clothes as well as anybody, and maybe even a little better. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD





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17 Comments on "Black History Month: A Gallery Of Polo’s African-American Models"

  1. Thank you!

    There are some great shots here.The madras jacket with the black kni tie is my favorite – a classic style all the way. Being in New York City, I still catch older men of African decent sporting imaculate Ivy style clothes.

  2. Yes, Ralph was very smart in showing different faces in his marketing. Tommy Hilfiger, who was always copying Ralph, tried to branch his brand fully in the hip hop trend that was going on then. I do not think that worked very well for Hilfiger, but who knows.

  3. Does anyone know the year that
    Polo used these photos?

  4. Thank you, Christian, for this post. As an African American male, I rarely run into images that represent my culture within trad, ivy, or preppy blogs. This is very refreshing to see. Even as an ivy alumnus I feel disconnected at times. This helps to bridge the gap that may appear, from time to time.

  5. That madras was epic.

  6. The polo coat looks like buttah. All shots very well done. No surprise, it’s RL.

  7. I love Preppy Menswear. To see it on a series of gorgeous black men (are they all African American?) is a special treat. Thank you.

    (Hint: It doesn’t have to be Black History Month for you to show minorities. They’re always welcome to this reader.)

  8. Ralph just did the whole “hoodie under a jacket” thing again…

  9. Tyson Beckford never dresses this way in the real world, just in the world of fashion advertising.

  10. Orgastic Future | February 19, 2014 at 11:18 pm |

    Great post CC!

  11. Komil,

    That’s not always a bad thing.

  12. @ TC ’12:

    You may enjoy this streetetiquette post.


    Thank you for posting this. I may not be a believer of Black History Month, but it is very nice to see people doing exactly what the month was started for, and that is to create more awareness towards African-Americans.

    I very much enjoyed this post.

  13. Thank you for this wonderful post. I am an African American woman and I love all things preppy, especially Ralph Lauren. All of his models look good in his clothes. Thank you for highlighting.

  14. Thank you Ivy Style. You put a smile on the face of every African American preppy aficianodo out there. But this is not the first time an African American was featured on your site. You have always included African American preps from the world of jazz and other arts. Keep up the good work.

  15. I am Caucasian and live in Washington, DC and appreciate seeing diversity represented on your informative and interesting blog. I particularly enjoy your postings that include style and jazz or when you play us a tune on the piano.

    Thank you.


  16. What is the name of the polo African American model in the butter colored jacket who also models the polo big and tall clothing?

  17. These shots look great.

    It doesn’t matter what colour your skin is when it comes to style, (and certain races can handle some fabric colours better than others anyway) these guys are making the preppy RL collection look good – so who cares that in “real life” they maybe didn’t go to a Harvard prep! (Or maybe they did)

    They also certainly capture the classy attitude that is integral to this aesthetic, so well done RL and Ivy Style for showcasing these shots.

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