RALPH’S AIRTIME: Chinese television viewers will get to know Ralph Lauren a little better starting this week. Yang Lan, one of China’s most celebrated journalists and television personalities, conducted a sit-down interview with the designer at his home in Bedford, N.Y., in September to discuss his views of the Chinese luxury goods market and his design ethos.
This story first appeared in the November 20, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The interview will air in two 45-minute segments as the centerpiece of the “Yang Lan One on One” program, which has previously featured chats with President George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Tom Cruise and David Beckham. The interview will air on a host of different television channels in China, starting on Thursday and running through Dec. 13. The Ralph Lauren company estimates the interview will reach a viewership of around 374 million people through a combination of television broadcasts and video websites, such as Youku.
The American brand timed the interview’s release to coincide with the opening of its new flagship in Hong Kong. Lauren does not give broadcast interviews often — his last in-depth sit-down was in 2011, when he was one of Oprah Winfrey’s final interviewees on her namesake talk show.
According to a transcript from the Chinese TV interview, Yang asked the designer about his approach to Chinese consumers and why he feels his brand should resonate with them. “I think when people say ‘the American dream,’ the American dream is not the American dream — it’s the Russian dream, the Chinese dream, it’s aspiration to taste life….Why am I going to China? It’s a new world for me. And it’s a new world for the Chinese. Ralph Lauren is not as well-known as some other designers in Europe, but Ralph Lauren is not the same as they are. So, I think I have something to say that’s interesting,” the designer said.
At another point, Yang asked Lauren if he has ever felt like he has run out of new ideas. The 75-year-old designer said he hasn’t.
“You know, I’m competitive. I love competition. And I love what I’m doing. And I love the fact that I’m not following. If I started to follow, then I would quit. So, what’s motivated me is newness, is energy to change, the awareness that things move on,” he said. “Believe in yourself. Be tuned in. Don’t fall asleep. Watch the world. Don’t let the world pass you by. And don’t be afraid to believe in yourself. Don’t think just because you’re not 26 that you have to fade and you have to retire.”