Rugby Ralph Lauren is an American clothing brand launched in 2004 under the management of parent company Polo Ralph Lauren. The brand specializes in Preppie/Rugby inspired lifestyle apparel for men and women clientele ages 16 through 25. Rugby also encompasses Rugby Food & Spirits, a small café modeled after the brand and offering dinning inspired by the Rugby theme. Rugby merchandise is only available in-store, currently holding nine store locations with its flagship residing in Newbury Street.
Rugby Ralph Lauren is the lastest brand from luxury lifestyle apparel designer, Ralph Lauren. The brand's first location opened at 342 Newbury Street in Boston, Masachusetts on October 23, 2004. Rugby's lower price point and edgier styling caters to a younger shopper than Lauren's other luxury clothing brands. Though the company is still experimenting with a logo, most of the clothing either carries a small embroidered rugby player, "RRL" monogram, or a skull and crossbones motif. The brand consists of a line of iconic rugby shirts, polos, jackets, suits, dresses, outerwear and accessories, all with a distressed or embellished flair, as well as RRL signature Rugby Football shirts that can be customized by buying patches in-store.
Though originally intended to compete with other lifestyle brands for collegiate/post-collegiate individuals like Abercrombie & Fitch and RUEHL No.925, and simply retro-preppie American Eagle Outfitters, its significantly higher prices will more likely attract younger customers from its own Polo brand.
Rugby is currently only available through its network of stores. It currently holds eight stores and one flagship. The Rugby line is also offered in Ralph Lauren Outlet stores, though with a limited selection of styles. A store is expected to launch next summer on Main Street in East Hampton, New York, according to the manager of the Ralph Lauren store there. Finally, after two years, the Rugby location in Charlottesville, Virginia as well as the store in Chapel Hill, North Carolina have closed.
Recently, Rugby has received criticism from several British private schools whose uniforms, crests, ties, and sports jersies the company has copied. These schools include: Eton College, Harrow School, Worth School, Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, Dulwich College, and Marlborough College.
Also, the brand has suffered sharp criticism from the American rugby playing community. Ralph Lauren copyrighted the name of several previously existing rugby supply stores and organizations, including Barbarian Rugby and USA Rugby. In retaliation, Rugby Magazine writer Buzz McClain began a campaign to copyright the name Ralph Lauren. More importantly, there is concern that the image of the sport would be co-opted by a brand noted for its exclusivity.
Rugby is fashion-forward yet grounded in Ralph Lauren’s signature preppy style. Rooted in the heritage of the Ralph Lauren lifestyle, Rugby is favored by old-school inspiration, nostalgic athleticism and modern-day eclectic prep. Rugby has the sensibility of the Ralph Lauren Brands: aspirational and classically iconic with a attitude uniquely its own.