The origins of the RL Corporation lay with launch of men's ties, Polo Ralph Lauren in 1967. Born in 1939 as Ralph Lifshitz (he later became known as Ralph Lauren) in The Bronx, New York, to Ashkenazi Jewish parents from Eastern Europe (Belarus), Ralph Lauren pursued a career in menswear and had gained background working for Datrian Riser. He received a US$50,000 loan to realize his vision for men's ties. By 1969, he had a boutique store within the Manhattan department store Bloomingdale's. Around that same time, he released a line of suits for women that were tailored in a classic men's style; and this was when the first Polo emblem was seen. The logo was on the cuff of the women's suit. In 1971, Polo Ralph Lauren launched its first women's collection of apparel and the first stand-alone store was opened in Beverly Hills, California.
The company entered the European market, and went international, in 1981 with the opening of a store on New Bond Street in the West End of London, England.
The Polo Sport line was introduced in 1993. In 1997, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange. By now, the company was structured to operate as an umbrella for its brands and other ventures and would be named the Ralph Lauren Corporation by the early-21st century. It was originally named Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, but in subsequent years the Polo in the name was dropped to reflect the company's presence in other concepts beyond the Polo line. The original Polo line remained as the flagship brand of the company. Ralph Lauren Corporation also manages several other brands, including Ralph Lauren Black Label, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Ralph Lauren Blue Label, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Club Monaco, and Chaps.
The company's official web site, and online shop, was launched in 2000 as polo.com by RL Media (a cooperation between Ralph Lauren and NBC). A more youthful line – Rugby Ralph Lauren – was introduced in 2004.
On June 10, 2005, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. reported a drop in its fiscal fourth-quarter profit, despite higher revenue.
By 2007, Ralph Lauren had over 35 boutiques in the United States and other international locations in London, Milan, Tokyo, and Moscow. Also in that year, Ralph Lauren Corporation acquired the NBC share of RL Media and the web site was relaunched as ralphlauren.com. By then, company revenue reached US$4.2 billion. In 2010, a Ralph Lauren store opened in Paris.
As of September 2013, the organization has announced changing of its leadership team and the creation of the Office of the Chairman, which will be led by Ralph Lauren. On 19 September 2013, the company announnced that Jackwyn L. Nemerov will replace Roger N. Farah as the president and chief operations officer.
In February 2014, Denise Incandela, former President of Saks Fifth Avenue Direct, joined Ralph Lauren Corporation as president of global digital and global e-commerce.
In February 2014, Valérie Hermann joined Ralph Lauren Corporation as the lead in the luxury division.
Wayne Meichner, president and chief operating officer of Ralph left the company.