Why Did Ralph Lauren Discontinue Rugby?

Ralph Lauren, the iconic American fashion brand, made a surprise announcement in 2015 that it would be discontinuing its Rugby line. This move came as a shock to many, as Rugby had been a staple of the brand’s offerings for over 20 years. The Rugby line was known for its preppy, sporty aesthetic, and had become a favorite among both fashion-conscious consumers and athletes alike. But why did Ralph Lauren decide to discontinue Rugby? In this article, we’ll explore the possible reasons behind this decision and what it means for the future of the brand.

Quick Answer:
It is not entirely clear why Ralph Lauren discontinued Rugby, their line of luxury menswear. Some reports suggest that the brand struggled to compete with other high-end fashion brands, while others suggest that it was simply a strategic decision to focus on other areas of the business. Regardless of the reason, the discontinuation of Rugby was a significant loss for fans of the brand and the fashion industry as a whole.

The Fall of a Rugby Icon

The Decline of Rugby’s Popularity

  • The decline of rugby’s popularity was a major factor in Ralph Lauren’s decision to discontinue the Rugby brand.
    • There were several reasons for this decline, including:
      • Changing consumer preferences: In recent years, consumers have been moving away from traditional polo shirts and other preppy clothing items that were the hallmark of the Rugby brand.
      • Increased competition: The fashion industry has become increasingly competitive, with many new brands and retailers entering the market and offering similar products at lower prices.
      • Economic challenges: The global economic climate has been challenging in recent years, with many consumers cutting back on non-essential spending. This has made it difficult for premium brands like Rugby to maintain their sales and profitability.
      • Shifts in marketing strategies: The company may have also been impacted by changes in its marketing strategy, such as a shift towards digital channels or a focus on sustainability, which may have impacted the brand’s visibility and appeal to consumers.
      • Changes in leadership: The departure of key executives or a change in leadership within the company may have also played a role in the decision to discontinue the Rugby brand.

The Impact of the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on businesses worldwide, and Ralph Lauren was no exception. The pandemic forced the company to shut down its stores and factories, leading to a significant decline in revenue. As a result, the company had to cut costs and restructure its operations.

One of the areas that were hit hard was the Rugby line. The brand had been struggling for some time, and the pandemic provided the perfect opportunity for Ralph Lauren to discontinue it. The pandemic also led to a shift in consumer behavior, with people spending more time at home and less on travel and leisure activities. This shift in behavior made it difficult for the Rugby brand to remain relevant.

Additionally, the pandemic accelerated the shift towards online shopping, and Ralph Lauren was not well-positioned to take advantage of this trend. The company had been slow to embrace e-commerce, and its online presence was not as strong as its competitors. This made it difficult for the Rugby brand to reach a wider audience and compete with other brands that were better positioned to take advantage of the shift towards online shopping.

In conclusion, the pandemic was a significant factor in the decision to discontinue the Rugby brand. The decline in revenue, the shift in consumer behavior, and the company’s lack of preparedness for e-commerce all contributed to the brand’s demise.

The End of an Era

Key takeaway: The discontinuation of the Rugby line by Ralph Lauren was influenced by a combination of factors, including declining sales and financial performance, changing consumer preferences and market dynamics, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for realignment of business strategy and focus. The legacy of the Rugby line is a testament to the enduring appeal of rugby-inspired fashion, and the demand for high-quality, stylish clothing that can be worn both on and off the field.

The Discontinuation of the Rugby Line

Declining Sales and Financial Performance

Ralph Lauren’s decision to discontinue the Rugby line was likely influenced by a combination of factors, including declining sales and financial performance. According to reports, the Rugby line had been struggling to generate profits for several years, leading to the decision to discontinue the brand.

Changing Consumer Preferences and Market Dynamics

Another factor that may have contributed to the discontinuation of the Rugby line was changing consumer preferences and market dynamics. In recent years, there has been a shift towards more casual and affordable fashion, with many consumers gravitating towards fast fashion brands and online retailers. This shift may have made it increasingly difficult for the Rugby line to compete and appeal to consumers, leading to declining sales and profitability.

Realignment of Business Strategy and Focus

Finally, the discontinuation of the Rugby line may have been part of a larger realignment of Ralph Lauren’s business strategy and focus. The company has been working to streamline its operations and focus on its core brands and product offerings, with an emphasis on luxury and high-quality products. The decision to discontinue the Rugby line may have been seen as a way to simplify the company’s portfolio and focus on areas with greater growth potential.

The Reaction from Fans and Customers

The discontinuation of the Rugby line by Ralph Lauren was met with a mixed reaction from fans and customers. Some were saddened by the news, while others felt indifferent towards the brand.

Emotional Response

Many loyal customers and fans of the brand were deeply saddened by the news of the discontinuation of the Rugby line. They felt a strong emotional connection to the brand and the clothing it offered. They had been wearing the brand’s clothing for years and had developed a sense of attachment to it.


On the other hand, some customers were indifferent towards the news. They did not feel a strong emotional connection to the brand and therefore did not feel the need to express their disappointment. They simply moved on to other brands that offered similar clothing.

Lack of Replacement

Customers who were saddened by the news were also disappointed that there was no replacement for the Rugby line. They felt that the brand had abandoned its roots and was no longer catering to the needs of its core customers. They felt that the brand had lost its authenticity and was now focusing on a more mainstream audience.

Limited Availability

The limited availability of the Rugby line in recent years also contributed to the disappointment of its fans. They had difficulty finding the clothing they wanted, and when they did, it was often out of their budget. This made them feel that the brand was not valuing its loyal customers.

Overall, the reaction from fans and customers was mixed, with some feeling deeply saddened by the news and others feeling indifferent. However, all customers agreed that the lack of replacement and the limited availability of the Rugby line were major disappointments.

The Future of Rugby Fashion

The Shift towards Sustainability

Increased Environmental Awareness

The fashion industry has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years for its negative impact on the environment. As consumers become more environmentally conscious, they are demanding sustainable and eco-friendly products from the brands they support. In response, many fashion brands, including Ralph Lauren, have begun to incorporate sustainable practices into their operations.

The Importance of Sustainable Materials

One of the key areas of focus for sustainable fashion is the use of eco-friendly materials. This includes materials that are organic, recycled, or require less water and energy to produce. In the case of Rugby, the brand had already begun to incorporate sustainable materials into its collections, such as organic cotton and recycled polyester. However, it was not enough to keep up with the increasing demand for sustainable fashion.

The Challenges of Sustainable Production

While incorporating sustainable materials is an important step towards a more environmentally friendly fashion industry, it is only part of the equation. Brands must also consider the impact of their production processes on the environment. This includes reducing water and energy usage, minimizing waste, and ensuring fair labor practices.

The Impact of Consumer Demand

As consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of their purchases, they are demanding more sustainable products from the brands they support. This has put pressure on brands like Ralph Lauren to prioritize sustainability in their operations. In the case of Rugby, the brand was not able to meet these demands, which may have contributed to its discontinuation.

The Future of Sustainable Fashion

While the discontinuation of Rugby may be a setback for sustainable fashion, it is just one small part of a larger trend towards a more environmentally friendly industry. As consumers continue to demand sustainable products, brands will need to prioritize sustainability in their operations in order to stay competitive. This will require a shift towards more sustainable materials, production processes, and business models. Only time will tell what the future of sustainable fashion holds, but one thing is certain: it is here to stay.

The Emergence of New Rugby Brands

  • Introduction:
    • The decline of Ralph Lauren’s Rugby brand left a gap in the market for rugby-inspired fashion.
    • In recent years, several new brands have emerged to fill this gap, offering a fresh take on the rugged, preppy style that Rugby made famous.
  • New Brands:
    • Field & Thread: A New York-based brand that offers a modern take on the rugby shirt, with a focus on sustainable and ethical production.
    • Red Grouse: A UK-based brand that specializes in luxury rugby-inspired clothing, using high-quality materials and traditional craftsmanship.
    • Narrow Fit: A small, independent brand that offers a more fitted and stylish take on the classic rugby shirt, with a focus on unique patterns and colors.
  • Differentiation:
    • Each of these new brands has found a unique niche in the market, appealing to different segments of the customer base.
    • Field & Thread appeals to the eco-conscious and sustainability-minded customer, while Red Grouse appeals to the luxury market.
    • Narrow Fit offers a more youthful and fashion-forward take on the rugby shirt, appealing to a younger demographic.
  • Conclusion:
    • The emergence of these new brands is a testament to the enduring appeal of rugby-inspired fashion, and the demand for high-quality, stylish clothing that can be worn both on and off the field.

The Legacy of Ralph Lauren Rugby

The Impact on the Fashion Industry

  • Established a New Standard in Luxury Sportswear
    • The launch of Ralph Lauren Rugby in 2004 introduced a new standard in luxury sportswear, merging the worlds of fashion and athletics. By incorporating high-quality materials and sophisticated designs into athletic wear, the brand created a new category of clothing that catered to the desires of fashion-conscious consumers who sought both style and functionality.
  • Revolutionized the Way Fashion Brands Approached Sportswear
    • The success of Ralph Lauren Rugby prompted other fashion brands to reconsider their approach to sportswear. Luxury fashion houses, in particular, began to take notice of the market potential for high-end athletic wear, leading to an increase in the number of designer collaborations with sports brands and the development of their own sportswear lines.
  • Paved the Way for Performance-Based Fashion
    • The influence of Ralph Lauren Rugby can be seen in the rise of performance-based fashion. Brands now prioritize technical performance and innovation in their clothing, resulting in a growing demand for functional and stylish athletic wear that can withstand the demands of various activities. The discontinuation of Ralph Lauren Rugby, however, may suggest that the brand itself was unable to keep up with these changing consumer preferences and the increasing competition in the market.

The Continued Love for the Brand

Despite the discontinuation of the Rugby line by Ralph Lauren, the brand continues to be a favorite among many fashion enthusiasts. This loyalty can be attributed to several factors, including the unique style and quality of the clothing, the brand’s reputation, and the emotional connection that customers have with the brand.

Unique Style and Quality

One of the reasons why customers continue to love the Ralph Lauren Rugby brand is because of its unique style and quality. The brand’s clothing is known for its preppy, yet sophisticated look, which sets it apart from other clothing brands. The Rugby line, in particular, was known for its use of high-quality materials and attention to detail, which made it a favorite among those who valued style and quality.

Brand Reputation

Another reason why customers continue to love the Ralph Lauren Rugby brand is because of the brand’s reputation. Ralph Lauren is a well-known and respected brand in the fashion industry, and the Rugby line was seen as an extension of the brand’s core values. Customers who were loyal to the brand were often willing to pay a premium for Rugby clothing, as they saw it as an investment in quality and style.

Emotional Connection

Finally, many customers have an emotional connection to the Ralph Lauren Rugby brand. This connection can be attributed to a variety of factors, including personal experiences with the brand, family traditions, and cultural associations. For example, some customers may have fond memories of wearing Rugby clothing as a child, or they may associate the brand with a particular time in their life. This emotional connection can make it difficult for customers to let go of the brand, even after it has been discontinued.

Lessons Learned from the Discontinuation

The Importance of Adapting to Change

In the fast-paced world of fashion, it is crucial for brands to stay relevant and adapt to changing trends and consumer preferences. Failure to do so can lead to a decline in sales and ultimately, the discontinuation of a product line. The discontinuation of Ralph Lauren’s Rugby line serves as a prime example of the importance of adapting to change.

Adapting to change involves more than just identifying new trends and incorporating them into a brand’s products. It also requires a willingness to take risks and try new things, even if it means stepping outside of the brand’s comfort zone. This can involve experimenting with new materials, designs, and marketing strategies.

Another key aspect of adapting to change is staying true to the brand’s core values and identity. Brands that stray too far from their roots risk alienating their loyal customer base and losing their unique selling proposition. It is important to strike a balance between staying true to the brand’s heritage and embracing new ideas and innovations.

In the case of the Rugby line, it is clear that Ralph Lauren failed to adapt to changing consumer preferences and trends in the fashion industry. While the brand was once synonymous with preppy, classic American style, it failed to keep up with the shift towards more casual, streetwear-inspired fashion. By discontinuing the Rugby line, Ralph Lauren was able to focus on its core offerings and reevaluate its strategy moving forward.

Overall, the discontinuation of the Rugby line serves as a valuable lesson in the importance of adapting to change in the fashion industry. Brands must be willing to take risks, experiment with new ideas, and stay true to their core values in order to remain relevant and successful in an ever-evolving marketplace.

The Need for Diversification in Business

  • Diversification is a key strategy for businesses to mitigate risks and ensure long-term growth.
    • By expanding into new markets or product lines, companies can reduce their reliance on a single source of revenue and protect themselves from fluctuations in consumer demand or economic conditions.
    • For example, a company that primarily sells clothing may choose to diversify by introducing accessories or home goods to its product line, or by entering new geographic markets.
  • Failure to diversify can lead to increased vulnerability and decreased resilience.
    • Companies that focus too heavily on a single product or market may be more susceptible to disruptions, such as changes in consumer preferences or economic downturns.
    • This can make it difficult for these companies to adapt to changing market conditions and maintain their competitive edge.
  • Diversification can also help companies to tap into new opportunities and capitalize on emerging trends.
    • By identifying and pursuing new growth opportunities, companies can position themselves for long-term success and increase their chances of staying ahead of the competition.
    • For example, a company that recognizes a growing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly products may choose to diversify its product line to include more environmentally friendly options.
  • Ultimately, the need for diversification in business underscores the importance of staying agile and adaptable in a rapidly changing marketplace.
    • Companies that are able to embrace change and evolve their business models and product offerings in response to shifting consumer preferences and market conditions are more likely to thrive and succeed over the long term.

The Final Farewell to Ralph Lauren Rugby

  • In the spring of 2015, Ralph Lauren announced that it would be discontinuing its Rugby line.
  • The decision was met with disappointment from many loyal customers who had come to love the brand’s rugged, utilitarian aesthetic.
  • The Rugby line had been launched in 2004 as a premium denim brand, but over the years it had expanded to include a wider range of clothing and accessories.
  • Despite its popularity, the Rugby line had struggled to turn a profit, and the company had been exploring strategic alternatives for the brand for several years.
  • Ultimately, the decision to discontinue Rugby was driven by a combination of financial considerations and a shift in the company’s overall business strategy.
  • While the news of the discontinuation was undoubtedly disappointing for fans of the brand, it provided valuable lessons for other fashion companies looking to launch and grow successful denim lines.

The Lasting Impression on the Fashion World

Impact on the Brand Image

Ralph Lauren’s decision to discontinue Rugby had a significant impact on the brand’s image in the fashion world. The brand, which was once associated with luxury and high-end fashion, suffered a blow to its reputation.

Loss of Market Share

Rugby’s discontinuation also resulted in a loss of market share for Ralph Lauren. The brand had invested heavily in promoting Rugby as a premium line, and its sudden discontinuation left customers confused and disappointed.

The Role of Market Trends

Market trends also played a role in the discontinuation of Rugby. The fashion industry is notorious for its fast-paced and ever-changing trends, and Ralph Lauren may have struggled to keep up with the latest styles and designs.

The Lesson for Other Brands

The discontinuation of Rugby serves as a lesson for other brands in the fashion industry. Brands must be mindful of their brand image and the impact of their decisions on their reputation. They must also stay relevant to the market trends and meet the changing needs and preferences of their customers.


1. Why did Ralph Lauren discontinue Rugby?

Ralph Lauren discontinued its Rugby line due to a decline in sales. The brand cited changing consumer preferences and increased competition as reasons for the discontinuation. The Rugby line was launched in 2004 and was aimed at a younger, more casual market. However, over time, the brand shifted its focus to its core Polo line, which is more popular among consumers.

2. What products were included in the Rugby line?

The Rugby line included a range of clothing and accessories for men, women, and children. The line featured classic Rugby pieces such as sweaters, polo shirts, button-down shirts, jeans, and outerwear. The brand also offered accessories like belts, hats, and bags.

3. Where can I find Rugby clothing now that it has been discontinued?

Since the Rugby line has been discontinued, you may have difficulty finding the clothing and accessories in stores. However, you can try checking online retailers or second-hand stores. You may also be able to find some Rugby pieces on the official Ralph Lauren website through their clearance section.

4. What happened to the Rugby brand after it was discontinued?

After the Rugby line was discontinued, the brand’s assets were acquired by the Canadian fashion company, Dynamite. Dynamite has since relaunched the Rugby line under its own label, with a similar focus on casual, preppy clothing. However, the new Rugby line is not affiliated with Ralph Lauren and operates as a separate brand.

My Rugby Ralph Lauren Collection

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