Lauren will make an undisclosed capital investment in the asset manager’s Franklin Venture Partners unit, which focuses on mid- and late-stage private companies.
Franklin Ventures will look to put the money to work at consumer technology firms, with a particular focus on companies led by women. In addition to marching toward greater gender equality, Lauren said it would get a chance to “collaborate with others to develop and deploy new technologies.”
Lauren has taken a similar approach of investing and partnering to build in a new area before. In 2020, the company made a minority investment in sustainable material start-up Natural Fiber Welding Inc., which is working on turning natural fibers, such as cotton waste, into high-performance materials.
By working with Franklin Ventures on consumer technology, the company opens itself to a world of innovation where the players are often peeking over the horizon and looking at what comes next.
“The powerful combination of honoring our heritage while embracing innovation has guided our brand and business for decades,” said Patrice Louvet, Ralph Lauren’s president and chief executive officer. “Participating in opportunities like this one with Franklin Venture Partners is one example of how we are pursuing new pathways for innovation, and we are excited to support the growth of these companies and benefit from insights and technology that can help guide our company and our industry’s future.”
Ralph Lauren helped define and lead an age of fashion that was characterized by big department store presentations and flashy magazine ads.
But now that the game has changed — and is continuing to change at a blinding pace — Lauren is making sure to stay out front, from sustainability to the metaverse.
Last month, Lauren launched an all-digital Roblox exclusive collection — and used it as another opportunity to connect the brand’s past with its future.
The collection drew inspiration from the signature Polo Sport line from the 1990s and was available at the Ralph Lauren Winter Escape virtual holiday destination.
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