YUKTI       V.           AGARWAL


designing for impact //
designing with purpose //



︎ I am a current honors student in the Brown /RISD Dual Degree Program.

I work in interdisciplinary spaces– combining rigorous research with a human-centered approach to reimagine societies, cultures, and futures.



︎ MORE ABOUT ME HERE
YUKTI       V.           AGARWAL

designing for impact //
designing with purpose //



︎ I am a current honors student in the Brown /RISD Dual Degree Program.

I work in interdisciplinary spaces– combining rigorous research with a human-centered approach to reimagine societies, cultures, and futures.

︎ READ MORE ABOUT ME HERE


︎︎︎Resumé︎︎︎Contact ︎︎︎ LinkedIN︎︎︎ Instagram︎︎︎ Handmaking Hope︎︎︎ Fine Arts Portfolio︎︎︎Academic Research




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︎ ‘UNISEX’ by POLO RALPH LAUREN




Client 
︎ Ralph Lauren Corp.

Timeline 
5 weeks (June-Aug ‘22)  

Tools 
︎ SketchUp, Figma, Adobe Xd, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft PowerPoint

Skills  ︎ Retail & Experience Service Design, User Experience Design, Surveying, Market Research, Marketing Strategy, Operations Design, Mock Up Developments, Apparel Design 



︎ THE PROJECT


During the Ralph Lauren Inspire Internship Program, the prompt for a group project was: 

“Unisex: From Design  to Presenting to Consumers” 

The project required an in-dept project proposal to be provided to company executive teams.  



︎ THE PROBLEM


Unisex clothing is often oversized, and limited to lounge wear, and very rarely a part of the narrative ‘story’ that the brand sells to its consumers.



︎ THE TEAM 


Yukti Agarwal ︎︎︎Brown & RISD
Camille Franklin ︎︎︎ Spelman College
Yasmina Khartami ︎︎︎The New School
Sonia Piaggi ︎︎︎Parsons, The New School
Kyla Rys  ︎︎︎Savannah College of Art and Design 
Lucio Urrutia  ︎︎︎University of Austin 



︎ THE CLIENT




Ralph Lauren Corporation is a global leader in the design, marketing, and distribution of premium lifestyle products. Reflecting a distinctive American perspective, the company has been an innovator in aspirational lifestyle branding and believe that, under the direction of internationally renowned designer Ralph Lauren. They combine consumer insights with their design, marketing, and imaging skills to offer, along with licensing alliances, broad lifestyle product collections with a unified vision.

Read More︎︎︎   Instagram︎︎︎ (14M followers)

︎ THE APPROACH


PHASE 1– Research

︎︎︎Research Brief
︎︎︎Projected Trends Overview
︎︎︎Consumer Spending, Behaviour, and Perception
︎︎︎Diversity and Inclusion
︎︎︎Considering Terminology &
Resizing  
︎︎︎Customer Analysis
︎︎︎Existing & Target Consumer Profile
︎︎︎Opportunities and Risks
︎︎︎SWOT Analysis
︎︎︎Competitive Analysis
︎︎︎Internal 
︎︎︎External  
︎︎︎Competitive Benchmark
︎︎︎Survery Results & Evaluation  

PHASE 2– Product & Service

︎︎︎Vision
︎︎︎Product Design Inspiration
︎︎︎Design with Intent
︎︎︎Resizing, Sweater Vest Design
︎︎︎SKU Curation
︎︎︎Concept Rig Wall
︎︎︎Service Description
︎︎︎Pop-Up Store  
︎︎︎Pop-Up Moodboard
︎︎︎Interactive Floor Plan
︎︎︎Flat Floor & Interactive SketchUp Plan 



PHASE 3– Operations

︎︎︎Roll Out Plan
︎︎︎Guiding Principles
︎︎︎Service & Product Implementation 
︎︎︎Internal & External Stakeholders
︎︎︎Distribution
︎︎︎External Partners


PHASE 4– Marketing Plan

︎︎︎Purpose 
︎︎︎Marketing Mix
︎︎︎SAVE Model
︎︎︎Market Segmentation
︎︎︎Press Strategy
︎︎︎Seeding
︎︎︎Gifting & Editorial
︎︎︎Visual Campaigns & Press Releases
︎︎︎Digital Marketing
︎︎︎Launch & Sustain Plan


PHASE 5– Financial Overview

︎︎︎Statistical Analysis
︎︎︎Budget
︎︎︎High Level P/L
︎︎︎Return on Investment
︎︎︎Sales & Cost of Goods Sold 
︎︎︎Qualatiative Cost Benefit Analysis



︎ THE PURPOSE 


This project aimed to provide a hollistic retail experience focused on resizing pre-existing merchandize, to create a capsule collection of stylish, form-fitting, unisex sweater vests, while selling not just a singular product, but rather the Ralph Lauren ‘lifestyle’ that champions equity, diversity, and inclusion.



︎ THE IMPACT


Of the 5 presentations provided, company executives selected our presentation as the winner of the Ralph Lauren Inspire Challenge. This project will be considered for implementation by the company for profits extending $ 1 Million, while excersing efforts in increasing diverity and inclusion




PHASE 1– RESEARCH


︎ BRIEF


Research into projected trends and customer behaviour have showed that entering the market for unisex clothing will not only be financially beneficial for companies, but rather will also impact company identity positively.


CONSUMER PERCEPTION OF UNISEX CLOTHING:


“ I don't feel like I'm being put in a box. I can choose 
what I like, what fits me and what matches my style.”


︎ DIVERSITY & INCLUSION


The discussion on Unisex clothing started with an indept consideration of D&I: 

︎︎︎Addresses the shifting norms, and creates a space for a future customer base.
︎︎︎However, also considers the potential backlash or possibility of negative connotations that could be attached to the topic?

︎︎︎TERMINOLOGY: Each word was considered for its connotations and affiliations: 
︎︎︎Unisex (Both men and women, usually used for clothing, spaces, etc.) 
︎︎︎Gender Neutral (Chooses to not identify with either gender) 
︎︎︎Gender Fluid (Assumes a sense of movement between both genders) 
︎︎︎Gender-less (Assumes that the concept of gender does not exist) 
︎︎︎Androgynous (Having both female and male characteristics– it still assumes that male and female lie at two ends of a spectrum) 

We settled wit UNISEX, as it is the most widely recognized, and least politically-charged of the terms. 

︎︎︎RESIZING: Analyzing the ways that we tailor this to all body types avoiding insensitivity even after merging sizing charts:
︎︎︎Avoiding labelling any body size as ‘large,’ ‘small’ or ‘normal’ 
︎︎︎Avoiding labelling certain body type as ‘too feminine’ or ‘too masculine’ 




︎ CUSTOMER ANALYSIS 




EXISTING POLO CUSTOMER



︎︎︎AGE: 35 years and older

︎︎︎WANTS:
Prestige, Leisure, Luxury

︎︎︎VALUES:
Quality, Style, Fine Living, Hard Work

︎︎︎ASPIRES TO BE:
Respected, Admired, Well Rounded and Sophisticated

TARGET POLO CUSTOMER



︎︎︎AGE: 22 years and older

︎︎︎WANTS: Accessibility, Versatility, Timelessness, Sustainability

︎︎︎VALUES:
Quality over Quantity, Health, Diversity

︎︎︎ASPIRES TO BE:
Respected, Well Rounded, Authentic and Genuine



︎ SWOT ANALYSIS



STRENGTHS


︎︎︎Huge customer base
︎︎︎Positive brand perception
︎︎︎Diversified market
︎︎︎Popular among younger generations
︎︎︎Style versatility options

WEAKNESSES


︎︎︎Saturated market
︎︎︎Market share competition exists
︎︎︎Minimal representation of women and children
︎︎︎Long term identity can be affected 

OPPORTUNITIES


︎︎︎Large and emerging market
︎︎︎Innovative products from metaverse to interior design
︎︎︎Developing advertising campaigns
︎︎︎Partnering with local communities
︎︎︎Opening accessibility in design to consumers

RISKS 


︎︎︎Increased competitive pressure
︎︎︎Risk of deviating from brand tradition & identity
︎︎︎Could have potential backlash
︎︎︎Loss of profit in initial years 
︎︎︎Time and cost to develop new service & product



︎ COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS 



INTERNAL 


Past capsules and collections within Ralph Lauren were studied: 

︎︎︎Unisex clothing collections are limited to sweatpants, tees, hoodies, and caps that have graphic logos and are available in vibrant colors.

︎︎︎The clothing is often baggy, and not form-fitting.

︎︎︎The brands within the world of Ralph Lauren that sell these lines are: 

︎︎︎Ralph Lauren POLO in the United Kingdom
︎︎︎RLX (the sports subsidiary of Ralph Lauren)
︎︎︎POLO SPORT (the sports subsidiary of POLO)

EXTERNAL 


Our internal analysis showed that most of our collections for unisex styles were undifferentiated and limited to SWEATSHIRTS, HOODIES, and SWEATPANTS. 

We focused our external competitive analysis on two French houses that championed the most revolutionary line of unisex clothing, that challenged the idea of unisex as BAGGY, OVERSIZED, and ‘MANLY’: 

︎︎︎LACOSTE (Unisex Collection) 
︎︎︎"The collection expresses this in-between zonethrough pieces that are as feminine as they aremasculine: dresses are shaped like exaggeratedt-shirts, and classic overcoats are finished likeoversized sweaters.”

︎︎︎LOUIS VUITTON (Spring / Summer 2021 Collection)
︎︎︎"What space is there for a category of clothingbetween feminine and masculine? We'redefining a type of clothing that lives in a non-binary zone.”




︎ COMPETITIVE BENCHMARKING


SURVEY DEVELOPMENT 

       
  

SURVEY POPULATION ANALYSIS


︎︎︎Surveyed consumers who were between the ages of 18 – 35+ years
︎︎︎Sample size of the survey was 55+ people from middle to upper-middle class backgrounds in the New York City area
︎︎︎Sample distribution for age group︎︎︎


QUANTITATIVE RESULTS 


︎︎︎ Statistics for how often unisex clothing is seen represented in commercial brands (according to the sample):



QUALITATIVE RESULTS


︎︎︎Customer perception of unisex clothes in the market: 

︎︎︎"I see a lot of loose-fitting stuff; I want structural pieces too."

︎︎︎"I feel they are limited to casual loungewear or t-shirts."

︎︎︎“(they) steer away from masculinity or femininity in an attempt to be gender neutral when in reality those things are not exclusive to gender."





PHASE 2– PRODUCT & SERVICE


︎ VISION


Unisex by Polo Ralph Lauren champions an EQUITABLE FUTURE of TIMELESS STYLE through REFINED TAILORING and UPDATED SPACES for an AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE for ALL. 

DESIGN

︎︎︎Refine Iconic Pieces into Unisex Polo Vests

CREATE

︎︎︎Unisex Pop-Up Shopping Experience

MARKET

︎︎︎Integrated Campaign to Drive Brand Awareness



︎ PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRATION 


MOVING FORWARD WITH OUR HISTORY IN MIND: 


︎︎︎The design process started with a dive into the history, legacy and traditional aesthetic of the company. 

︎︎︎This collection aimed to revive old traditions and build a foundation of greater inclusivity, equity and diversity through these deep-grown roots.

︎︎︎The company started as a menswear brand, with mens shirts being styled on women. 

︎︎︎A connection between the brand’s legacy and unisex clothing had been forged a long time ago. 


︎ TIMELESS DESIGN WITH INTENT 


A Limited Collection of Unisex Sizing Polo Sweaters Inspired by Iconic Ralph Lauren Tailoring and Vintage Collections was developed. 



INCLUSIVE DESIGN


︎︎︎Retaining styles that run common between men’s & women’s by creating a new SIZING CHART.


︎︎︎The sizing chart will be alphabetized rather than numerical to alleviate the concept of ‘larger’ and ‘smaller’ sizes.

︎︎︎New sizes are averages of men’s and women’s sizes to allow consumers to buy clothes that maybe form-fitted or oversized.

SUSTAINABLE DESIGN


︎︎︎ Reducing manpower required for redsigning new styles.

︎︎︎ Factory communcations for new developments by retainign origional manufacturers.

︎︎︎Reducing Carbon footprint by mainiting same styles.

︎︎︎Reducing number of unsold SKUs by holding same styles by merging male & female styles.



︎ STYLE CURATION 


Although the capsule collection is aimed at resizing sweater vests, there will be a array of unisex items available for purchase at the pop up. 
This is in line with the Ralph Lauren vision, of alway selling a lifestyle, and an experience, not just a product. 

The items that have been curated allow: 

︎︎︎Various styling options 

︎︎︎Provision of inspiration to new consumers to adopt the ‘RL Lifestyle’

︎︎︎Various price entry points, for all customers from all walks of life 




︎ CONCEPT RIG WALL 


A concept wall was developed to show the overall look of the ‘POLO Ralph Lauren Unisex Look’. 

Inspiration was taken from:
 
︎︎︎ Old campaigns, advertisments, and hisotorical collection archives. 

︎︎︎ Mr. Ralph Lauren’s own personal style, as seen through photographs from his albums. 

︎︎︎ Newer collaborations such as the one with Wimbeldon





︎ SERVICE DESCIPTION 


The products will be launched through a Pop-Up retail experience. 


WHY A POP-UP RETAIL EXPERIENCE? 


Our intention of a Pop-Up store caters to an audience that will experience our new line in a curated environment, meant to engage with the consumer and inspire their style from the design of the ambiance to the items themselves.


STAYING AUTHENTIC TO THE BRAND VISION–


“We are changing accessibility in stores by creating smaller format stores that are more engaging to younger generations without losing sight of our older consumers.”
Patrice Louvet (CEO, Ralph Lauren Corp.)



︎ POP-UP MOODBOARD 



OPEN LAYOUT


︎︎︎ To invite more customers
︎︎︎ To champion a space that is inclusive and welcoming to all



LOCATED IN THE PARK


︎︎︎ To allow footfall from the Ralph Lauren Flagship Stores to be redirected to the close by pop-up. 



COLOR PALETTE 


︎︎︎ The color palette is inspired by the iconic RL colors (with French Navy, and Bittersweet Orange for example)

︎︎︎ Additional references were taken from nature and the area in which the pop-up will be located



︎ INTERACTIVE FLOOR-PLAN



FLAT FLOOR PLAN 



INTERACTIVE SketchUp PLAN




RALPH’S COFFEE TRIKE


︎︎︎Invite customers to have a cool coffee on a warm day

︎︎︎Increase customer foot-fall in the merchandize area

︎︎︎Introducing an additional revenue stream to the event


︎︎︎Increasing brand awareness by promoting all branches of the business


FINAL FLOOR PLAN



︎︎︎Clear POLO branding 

︎︎︎Open layout to allow easy movement of foot-fall 

︎︎︎Rotating merchandize racks to allow greater mobility 

︎︎︎UNISEX dressed form, to present the various planned looks, to show how to style curated items 

LOCATION MAPS


Pilgrim Hill, Central Park 
︎︎︎Four-minute walk from Flagship Store on Madison

  
Washington Square Park
︎︎︎Eight-minute walk from POLO Store in Soho

  





PHASE 3– OPERATIONAL OVERVIEW


︎ ROLL OUT PLAN


GUIDING PRINCIPLES





SERVICE & PRODUCT IMPLEMENTATION




PHASE 1– PROJECT CREATION 

︎︎︎Outline launch strategy and development

︎︎︎Draft product, targeting, positioning, and competitor analysis


TIMELINE: 6 MONTHS
PHASE 2– DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT  

︎︎︎Determine pricing, design collection and pop- upshops

︎︎︎Develop new size blocks for unisex items 


TIMELINE: 1 YEAR
PHASE 3– DISTRIBUTION

︎︎︎Source materials and team to build two pop up shops

︎︎︎Source materials and units from manufacturing for product


TIMELINE: 4 MONTHS
PHASE 4– PROMOTION & TESTING

︎︎︎Test service and product on sample group

︎︎︎Review and activate marketing strategy


TIMELINE: 6 MONTHS
OFFICIAL LAUNCH 

︎︎︎Launch of two interactive pop-up stores

︎︎︎Social and website announcement

︎︎︎Demos and interactive campaign to increase impact and spread awareness


SPRING 2024




︎ INTERNAL & EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS


︎︎︎For 50 years Ralph Lauren has served the interest of both internal and external stakeholderswith the purpose to inspire the dream of a better life through authenticity and timeless style.





︎ DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS 


The distribution channels used will retain the same factories, manufacturaing channels, and vendors. The oversees manufactoring will be distributed in: 
︎︎︎Pop-up Shop
︎︎︎Wholesale
︎︎︎Retail
︎︎︎E-Commerce




︎ EXTERNAL PARTNERS


THE NUDGE APP








PARTNERSHIP BENEFITS


︎︎︎Attracting new customer base in the city by appealing to a younger audience– the target audience of this product line & service.

︎︎︎Portraying the Ralph Lauren event as ‘the place to be’ on a spring weekend, thus enhancing brand image.

︎︎︎Extend promotional relations with new digital platforms that are the primary source of event planning for the newer generation

SAMPLE MESSAGE for NUDGE MEMBERS: 








MARKETING PLAN


︎ PURPOSE


︎︎︎Unisex by Polo Ralph Lauren is championing an equitable future, from what you wear to how you live.

︎︎︎Unisex by Polo RL utilizes the creative power of design to refine our signature Polo collection with thoughtful tailoring and updated spaces foran authentic shopping experience for all.



︎ MARKETING MIX 


The project followed the SAVE model (as opposed to the 4Ps model) to reach a wide audience:

SAVE MODEL


Solution (instead of Product):
︎︎︎Define offerings by the needs they meet, not by their features, functions or technical superiority.
︎︎︎

Access (instead of Place): 
︎︎︎Develop an integrated cross-channel presence that considers customers' entire puchase journey instead of emphasising individual purchase locations and channels.
︎︎︎

Value (instead of Price)

︎︎︎Articulate the benefit relative to price, rather than stressing how price relates to production costs, profit margins or competitors' prices
︎︎︎

Education (instead of Promotion)
︎︎︎Provide information relevant to customers' specific needs at each point in the purchase cycle, rather than relying on advertising, public relations and personal selling that covers the waterfront.
︎︎︎


MARKET SEGMENTATION


︎︎︎Demographic   ︎︎︎Geographic   ︎︎︎Psychographic   ︎︎︎Behavioral



︎ PRESS STRATEGY


SEEDING 


︎︎︎ Send capsule to editors and target influencers/ celebrities to create engagement on social media and online publications around launch date

︎︎︎ Seeding Plan: 
︎︎︎FRIENDS OF THE BRAND: Elliot Page, Janelle Monáe
︎︎︎FAMILY DUOS: Jennifer Lopez and Emme Maribel Muniz 
︎︎︎UPCOMING CELEBRITIES: Hari Nef, Hunter Schafer
︎︎︎MACRO INFLUENCERS: Dylan Mulvaney


GIFTING & EDITORIAL 


︎︎︎For reinforcement of our campaign with any RL Polo publication feature
︎︎︎Target editors that feature/ cover our campaign launch
     


VISUAL CAMPAIGNS & PRESS RELEASES



The visual campaign would include: 
︎︎︎Billboards (Park Ave. & 23rd St.)
︎︎︎Wild Posts (SOHO, Lower East Side, Nolita)
︎︎︎Digital Platforms (Discussed later) 

Press releases targeting magazines that focus on LGBTQ communities:
︎︎︎THEM Magazine
︎︎︎Mission Magazine
︎︎︎GQ Magazine
︎︎︎ID Magazine






︎ DIGITAL MARKETING 



The campaign aims to LEAD WITH DIGITAL by targeting ayounger demographic through: 
︎︎︎Reels
︎︎︎Posts
︎︎︎Advertisements 

On platforms such as:
︎︎︎Instagram
︎︎︎TikTok
︎︎︎Facebook 
︎︎︎Spotify
︎︎︎Youtube
︎︎︎Google





︎ LAUNCH PLAN 



PHASE 1– PROJECT CREATION

︎︎︎Curate and develop capsule.

︎︎︎Plan and organize pop-up events.

︎︎︎Execute strategic marketing plan.


TIMELINE: 2022–2023
PHASE 2– PRESS STRATEGY

︎︎︎Seeding to editors and target influencers to create engagement on social media and online publications.

︎︎︎Gifting and Editorial content


TIMELINE: OCT 2024
PHASE 3– PRESS RELEASE

︎︎︎PR Press Release announcing capsule and pop-up.

︎︎︎2 parts: Social media marketing and Editorial publication press


TIMELINE: FEB / MARCH 2024 
PHASE 4– OFFICIAL LAUNCH

︎︎︎2 interactive Pop-up events in Central Park and Washington Square Park

︎︎︎Website launch, as well as on the RL app


TIMELINE: APRIL 2024
REVIEW

︎︎︎Review project impact from social interaction to financial success and failures.


TIMELINE: AUGUST 2024



︎ SUSTAIN PLAN


︎︎︎Discuss service expansion ie. more pop-ups, virtual platforms, metaverse, hospitality

︎︎︎Discuss product and service expansion ie. website, retail, flagship, store front



TIMELINE: SEPT 2024
︎︎︎Discuss possibility of AR and Metaverse digital garments for customers to virtually try on in store sand pop-ups

︎︎︎Discuss product expansion into other parts of the brand identity, ie shoes, hats, pants, jackets, and more

︎︎︎Partner with designers and celebrities to continue unisex as a line

︎︎︎Expand to wholesale accounts such as Urban Outfitters and Macy's

︎︎︎Collaborate with partnerships and initiatives to boost community engagement and philanthropy


TIMELINE: BEYOND






FINANCIAL OVERVIEW


︎ FINANCIAL STATISTICS  


︎︎︎The financial overview provides insights in costing, budgeting, return on investments, expanded sales & cost of goods, and a high level P/L. 

The initial financial proposal deck is as outlined︎︎︎


︎ QUALITATIVE COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS


The financials show that despite losses in the first year, later years will show considerable profits.

In additional to the quanitiative analysis of the costs, a qualitative approach was also taken to assess the benefits & costs of this project: 

COSTS


︎︎︎Negative Net Profit for Year 1 
︎︎︎Sizing Issues (Troubleshooting New Sizes) 
︎︎︎Risk of Failure 
︎︎︎Controversy Related to Brand Image 
︎︎︎Miscellaneous Fees

BENEFITS


︎︎︎New Customer Base
︎︎︎Brand Elevation (In line with RL Future Goals) 
︎︎︎Positive Customer Perception
︎︎︎Hospitality Expansion 
︎︎︎Services (In-Person Retail Experience)



︎ REFLECTION

Collaboration boosts output– 
Working with a team of very talented individuals taught me that collaborating, in an interdisciplinary manner allows everyone grow, and makes enriches individual work by constant iteration, feedback, and dialogue. 

In a team, you learn and grow– 
Working in a team taught me a great deal about the areas that my teammates were specializing in, such as financial outlining, and operation overviews. I learnt from them, while they learnt from me, about processes in design, merchandizing, and marketing. 

Communication, efficient organization, and patience are the keys to success–
Especially when working in a group, being organized ahead of time, and maintaining clear communication channels are the way to learn and grow with each other! 



︎ REFERENCES




DISCLAIMER: 
* THIS WORK WAS AN INDEPENDENT PROJECT DURING AN INTERNSHIP WITH RALPH LAUREN CORPORATION AND IS SUBJECT TO WORK-PRODUCT CLAUSES  




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