Ralph Lauren, the world-famous designer of Western-inspired, Country Club Prep apparel, is stepping down as CEO from his company.
The New York Times reports that former H&M executive, and current president of Old Navy, Stefan Larsson will be succeeding him. Larsson is credited with saving Old Navy, which is a down brand of Gap, which has maintained success since he took the presidential position in 2012. He has since become one of the most well-known figures in retail fashion.
The decision made by Ralph Lauren is potentially a financially-based move. The brand has been feeling pressure from other competing luxury brands. Revenue for the company has dipped around 5 percent, year by year. Shares in Ralph Lauren have decreased by a half.
Lauren will remain at the company, acting as executive chairman and chief creative officer. Larsson will report to Lauren, in what the two call a “partnership”. Lauren says he will only leave once they “start designing things I can’t understand.”
Lauren’s stepping down seems like the ending of an era of American Fashion, which began when Donna Karan stepped down from leading her company, earlier this year. Calvin Klein, another key figure from the area, left his company in 2002.
Larsson will begin in his position in November, when he officially joins the Ralph Lauren brand.
The Ralph Lauren brand, similarly to the likes of Calvin Klein, operate with a pyramid structure. Placing the highest luxury items at the top, consumers see the high end pieces as something to aspire to. The company then offers a larger, affordable line, such as Polo Ralph Lauren, which accounts for the bulk of sales. However, recent events, such as separating the luxury business from the bulk, and opening a private club in Milan suggest the company wants to place a larger focus on its luxury end.