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Ralph Lauren Bets on Millennials With Plans to Drop ‘Grown-Up’ Streetwear

Ralph Lauren has joined forces with U.K. luxury streetwear brand Palace to create an upscale streetwear capsule slated to drop in Europe and North America on Friday and Japan and Korea on Saturday.

Described as “streetwear for grownups” by Esquire, the men’s wear capsule features fleece, flannel, corduroy and streetwear graphics across an eclectic range of products including outerwear, sweaters, headwear, formal slippers and even a teddy bear. Of course, a Ralph Lauren-themed skateboard deck rounds out the collection.

Each of the capsule’s pieces is co-branded by the unlikely allies, representing a unique combination of streetwear sensibilities with the upper-class Americana that sets the collection apart from what might typically be expected from either brand.

The collaboration with Palace, a popular up-and-coming streetwear brand founded by and for skateboarders, is another step in a turnaround for Ralph Lauren that has seen the brand focus more on attracting younger consumers by investing heavily in social media influencers and millennial-friendly marketing—such as the cheeky video ads released for this latest capsule featuring young men driving around a desert in hatchbacks, juxtaposed with the familiar equine motifs of Ralph Lauren’s previous campaigns.

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Overall, Ralph Lauren says it has increased marketing spend by more than 30 percent in the past year, prioritizing efforts toward its 50th Anniversary Fashion Show and increasing engagement across digital platforms.

Even with its moves to attract new consumers, investors saw Ralph Lauren’s somewhat underwhelming second quarter as a warning sign despite a good start, and stocks fell 5.2 percent following its earnings report this week. While revenue in the quarter increased 1.6 percent, to $1.7 billion, recovery has been slow for Ralph Lauren.

The company reported a 1 percent decline in brick-and-mortar store sales and flat growth in North American wholesale revenue. Same-store sales on the continent were down 1 percent, while sales were up 9 percent, overall—through its website. Ralph Lauren projects its revenue in fiscal 2019 will be flat or slightly up.

It remains to be seen whether the Palace collaboration will help revive Ralph Lauren with the younger generation, but it could be another step in the right direction.

“As we execute our Next Great Chapter strategic plan, we are encouraged by the early progress we have made in the first half of this year on both the top and bottom line,” Patrice Louvet, president and CEO of Ralph Lauren, said during an earnings call Tuesday.

For Palace, the future looks bright. The 9-year-old brand recently opened another location in Tokyo with the help of an ad starring Jonah Hill and released a highly-anticipated fall/winter collection with Adidas last month. The brand is also up against Supreme and Off-White for the 2018 Urban Luxe award at the Fashion Awards in December.