Success in any endeavor has more than one component; you have to take care of the quality of what you offer your customers and what it looks like. Visuals and design are very important. A toy or a custom illustration made by our artists, besides the image itself, has a lot of useful functions. Illustration is a special kind of drawing when you should not just sketch a cute toy but transfer its character as if this character lives its own life. Then it really catches the eye.
It’s amazing how different directions in art come together and something new is born out of it. Art is like a living space with lots of new ideas. You just have to see them and let them develop. Take, for example, a toy and its unique illustration. Once upon a time, in the very early twentieth century, there was a story that united American President Roosevelt and a stylish toy bear. Who would have guessed that the story would have a sequel half a century later. When a little boy from a poor family back in America would make his way in the fashion world and become a famous fashion designer. And that same bear and his unique illustration will become a favorite of his fashion collections and a crowd favorite. You may have guessed who and what we’re talking about.
Yes, this is the wonderful story of the bear cub that is now known the world over, the so-called Ralph Lauren Bear. The author of this toy is a different person but more on that later. The fact is that this toy bear wears clothes and is depicted on clothes under the Ralph Lauren brand. Ralph Lauren is a world famous designer who started his way in the fashion world with men’s ties. He embraced the idea of wide men’s ties at a time when narrower ties were popular which gave him a head start. Lauren’s style is simple elegance which is what makes him so captivating. That’s how his popular stuffed toy looks, this Teddy bear is dressed simply but every detail of the look is meticulously crafted.
The bear is slightly ironic which makes it all the more cute, bringing a smile and a wave of positivity. A grown man named Gerry Lauren, Ralph’s brother, has fallen under its spell. At the fashion house, Jerry is the creative director of the men’s clothing line. He also has a thing for Teddy bears from Steiff. His Teddy bear, named after President Theodore Roosevelt, is one of the teddies from the Steiff company. Years earlier, it had been designed by Richard Steiff’s nephew, Aunt Margaret, to make a bear cub with movable legs that could stand and sit. At the time, this movable toy model was a novelty and so was immediately in demand. Sometimes, they asked for a custom Teddy bear, so they did not have to wait long for the next batch. Since then, the Teddy bear has settled in the hearts of children and adults, the toy has become a global favorite, and its fame has eventually spread beyond one continent.
So, one day, on Jerry Lauren’s birthday, the staff decided to make their boss happy and dressed his Teddy bear in Ralph Lauren branded clothing. The surprise was so successful that it became a tradition. Ralph also dressed up a toy for Ralph, so there were two bears. The designer liked the idea of the bears as models and was inspired by the new project. The Teddy bear had the main role in the project but now his image had to be transferred to paper, i.e. to make an illustration.
The idea for the bear illustration came from Richard Tahsin who was an illustrator with Ralph Lauren at the time. Richard confessed in an interview that there had been attempts to illustrate a toy before but they had not been successful. According to Tahsin, he needed to create an attractive character. The task was not as easy as it may seem, you just had to draw the bear and it had to have a character. Tahsin did a great job, the Polo Bear in the illustrations was charismatic, stylish, cute and has a sense of humor. The management’s Teddy bear was a great success. His designs were very successful in the fashion collections. Whenever the bear got a new look, it was necessary to create a new one to order, meaning a new image is a new drawing. The polo bear had to be dressed up and drawn himself to match his mood. The Polo Bear became an eye catcher for the Ralph Lauren fans. It became a tradition to make scaled-down replicas of the Lauren brothers’ collector’s clothing. And then even small accessories, such as watches, were launched with the new collections. Apart from clothes and watches Polo Ralph Lauren manufactures perfume, designer furniture, home textiles, interior items, tableware and much more. And, of course, an entire Teddy family has emerged over time, with illustrations of Teddy bears and themselves an integral part of Ralph Lauren’s designs.
Photos taken from Ralph Lauren’s Instagram resources.
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