There was once a time when nearly every passer by wore either a Jack Wills gilet, an Abercrombie hooded jumper or an Aubin and Wills tartan scarf. Now though, you don’t see this any more, especially on the streets of London. Leather panel leggings, chiffon shirts done up to the top button and studded creepers are dressing the fashionista’s of London instead and this seems to have had a knock on effect for the preppy style. It has officially been announced that Ralph Lauren will close their spin off line, Rugby, bidding farewell to a style that has faithfully paid homage to our schooling days.
The Rugby collection was designed to convey the ‘cool and rebellious’ side to the Ralph Lauren brand, translating the authentic prep style they are so well known for into an eclectic, edgy and playful spin off collection that appealed to both existing and potential customers of the 16-25 age bracket. Basing the designs on rugby attire, with stiff bold collars and thick banded stripes, the collection was a range of varsity and heritage-style classics. Rugby have been active throughout their lifetime, supporting London’s ‘Tweed Run’, a bike ride with tea break designed to showcase the best of British traditions. Despite interacting with consumers and celebrating its British heritage, the brand failed to maintain popularity and so at the age of only 8 , the Rugby collection and the 14 stores located across the world, will be closed by 2013.
But surely the closure of one brand does not mean the death of the preppy style I hear you say? Well, it is not just the Rugby collection that has been given the boot. Aubin and Wills, sister brand of Jack Wills has also been axed. It has been stated by both Jack Wills and Ralph Lauren that the reasoning behind these closures is to dedicate all efforts on the expansion of their own lines; but has this come at the cost of minimising outlets whereby the preppy style can be seen? Perhaps the classic heritage look is not as popular as it used to be, which is certainly the case for the UK’s fashion capital, but the closure of such renowned brands lessens the chances of the style ever regaining popularity. Unless, authentic prep style brands pull out all the stops, I think we can all begin to bid farewell to chaps in chinos and pretty ladies in polos.