Lauren’s help in preserving the 200-Year-Old Star-Spangled Banner was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution
At a ceremony that took place in the hallowed National Museum of American History in Washington, DC fashion icon Ralph Lauren’s unsung efforts to restoring and preserving the 200-Year-Old Star-Spangled Banner was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution.
Lauren was awarded the James Smithsonian Bicentennial Medal in recognition of his “ embodiment of the American experience through fashion, design and philanthropy.”
Established in 1965 to honor the 200th anniversary of James Smithson, founding donor of the Smithsonian Institution, the James Smithsonian Bicentennial Medal is presented annually to people who have been recognized as having “made distinguished contributions to the advancement of areas of interest to the Smithsonian.”
Among the speakers at the ceremony were former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jeh Johnson. Secretary of Homeland Security, Senator Lisa Murkowski and the secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, Wayne Clough.
Ms. Clinton, who during the late 1990s was one of the pioneers in establishing the Save America’s Treasures project, a United States federal government initiative that spearheaded the ambitious endeavor of examining, treating and preserving the Star-Spangled Banner, recalled in her speech that Ralph Lauren, was one of the first to “respond to the call” donating initial sum of of $10 million that would go towards restoring the flag to its former glory and adding an additional $3 million to help support the historic preservation program.
Thanks to Lauren’s generosity, the Star-Spangled Banner is now stored in ideal conditions the Smithsonian Institution’s American History Museum’s Flag Hall, where it can still be viewed by the American public but in conditions that will preserve it indefinitely.
The Star-Spangled Banner was first raised during the decisive Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812 between the United States and the English. Almost a century later the flag, initially loaned to the Smithsonian Institution, became a key part of its permanent collection of historical items, eventually becoming a centerpiece in the Smithsonian Institution’s American History Museum’s Flag Hall.
It was during a visit to the museum that the deteriorating state of the Star-Spangled Banner first captured Hillary Rodham Clinton’s eye, showing all the signs of from humidity are variations in temperature.
Ralph Lauren, was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. During his years at high school, Lauren began to show his first signs of having an entrepreneurial spirit as well as a leaning towards the fashion business
When he went on to study business at the Baruch College, situated in the fashionable Flatiron District, Lauren was already working on designing male fashion. Lauren’s career in the fashion business was interrupted in 1962 when he went off to serve in the United States Army, being released in 1964. After release took up the role of our salesman in the famous Brooks Brothers, situated on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, before leaving to become a salesman on the road for a NECKtie company.
With the profits earned from a number of lucrative necktie deals, backed up by Manhattan clothing manufacturer Norman Hilton, Lauren followed his faith in his ability to design and produce neckties that the Sixties public wanted, he opened a store in Manhattan specializing in selling neckties of his own exclusive designs, under the label “Polo”, later going on to develop the iconic polo neck shirt which has remained Lauren’s trademark to this day.
The son of immigrants from Belarus, ascent from Bronx-born necktie salesman to renowned fashion designer, philanthropist and business executive is the very definition of the American Dream. At the age of 26, Lauren created his own line of ties, vending then from a drawer in an Empire State Building showroom. After selling his designs to Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales, he launched his now-seminal Polo Ralph Lauren label, which swiftly became synonymous with American style and luxury.