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Son of Polo designer Lauren takes a "Swing' of his own

Published Sep. 16, 2005

If your parents are famous, it can seem impossible to find an identity beyond being known as a certain someone's progeny.

The 24-year-old son of fashion designer Ralph Lauren is trying to make a name for himself _ by himself, without Daddy's help. He's doing it by being editor of his own magazine. Don't ask him about Polo, because he doesn't want to talk about it. The name that David Lauren would like to be known for is Swing.

About five years ago, as a political science major at Duke University, Lauren and some friends decided to publish a magazine on campus, and Swing was born. "It arose out of myself and my friends who were in our 20s who had a lot of questions about growing up," he said in a phone interview.

The campuswide publication was paid for by local advertising and targeted to the 20-something crowd. Later, they found a larger publisher willing to distribute it. And since October 1994, Swing has been in nationwide circulation. The business end of Swing is handled by the same company that handles George and Elle magazines.

The name Swing is intended to fight the "Generation X/slacker" stereotype applied to young people in the early '90s, Lauren said.

"We wanted to create a positive, upbeat magazine for people in their 20s that reflected a certain attitude that was existing," he said. "When you're dealing with politics, sports, technology and business, you want to show a sort of growth of young people."

That growth, he says, is the power that young people wield in today's society, without which, he says, many things would be different. "The name reflected this positive attitude. When (President) Clinton was elected, he claimed to be elected by the "swing' vote. There are 62-million people in their 20s (with) $125-billion of spending power. We influence. We swing the vote."

Lauren says that Swing, which has a heavy emphasis on fashion and music, "is not cynical, (but) very upbeat." The design is purposefully not "hip" or "funky" and is more straight-laced than other magazines directed at the 20s demographic. "We sell this magazine as a young Time or Vanity Fair," he said.

Being a spokesperson for a generation isn't easy, but Lauren makes it known that he is doing this on his own. He says his family is "very supportive" of his endeavor. Past issues of Swing have included multiple-page advertisements for products _ by Ralph Lauren.

So, maybe he has a little help from Daddy, after all.