Ralph Lauren will be the recipient this fall of the first John B. Fairchild Honor, as chosen by the editors of WWD.
The honor, named after WWD’s late chairman and editorial director, is the cornerstone of the latest initiative in this franchise’s 116-year-old history: The WWD Honors, an annual celebration of creative vision, performance and leadership in the fashion industry.
The event will anchor WWD’s 2016 CEO Summit on the evening of Oct. 25 at The Pierre hotel in New York. The Summit program will continue into Oct. 26.
In addition to the John B. Fairchild Honor, WWD editors will employ a series of metrics to determine and recognize outstanding company performance, executive leadership and social responsibility. The recipients of those honors will be revealed at a later date.
Lauren’s acknowledgment comes as the designer prepares for his 50th anniversary in business, in 2017. From big-dreaming as a boy in the Bronx to launching his own necktie line in 1967, Lauren pioneered a $7.5 billion global empire through creativity, innovation, endurance and determination, underscored by impeccable taste.
“I don’t think you reinvent yourself,” Lauren told WWD in 2007, while celebrating his 40th year in business. “I think you broaden your scope. You don’t reinvent yourself, you don’t change,” noted Lauren, whose clarity of vision has influenced generations of designers and brand developers.
In the same interview, when asked about his achievements, Lauren said: “I don’t work. This is not work. It’s passion, and it’s love. I love what I do. I created this baby, and I see that we have a long way to go. And if I thought we had a short way to go, I wouldn’t be here.”
The honor’s namesake, John B. Fairchild, was a pioneer in his own right, an editor with a voracious mind and heightened sense of mischief. He died in February 2015. During his 30-plus years directing WWD, he transformed the fashion industry by bringing designers to the forefront and focusing on the people who drove not only the business but society as well. He remains an inspiration to WWD’s newsroom.
“These honors will provide WWD with a platform to acknowledge real achievement and accomplishment, especially at a time when the fashion industry is facing the challenges of digitization, globalization, overheated celebrity and unpredictable consumer behavior,” said editor in chief Ed Nardoza. “We’re especially proud to establish a lasting honor in Mr. Fairchild’s name. And there isn’t a more deserving person than Ralph Lauren, whose incredible career Fairchild has chronicled every step of the way, from that first wide necktie.”