What is it about the southwest U.S. that makes it so appealing to a Jewish kid from the East Coast? Now, I don’t have much in common with the mighty Ralph Lauren, but I can say that he and I do share this particular question. For the past decade or so, since my parents decided to purchase a vacation house not near the beach, nor the mountains, but in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this question has been on mind. At first I dreaded coming out here, yet as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to love the Southwest for the much needed change of pace that it provides. For Ralph, the southwest was an untapped well of inspiration, a region with colors, designs, and textiles that were unlike anything he could find in his homebase of New York. And so in 1978, with the west on his mind, Ralph Lauren launched a new side of his brand, a move that elevated him from being merely a designer for the natty East Coast mentality, to a designer for the American history books.