School is Back in Session: Menswear Label Public School Returns with Huge Response


After two years on the sidelines, menswear label Public School is at the top of its game.

In the fall of 2007, designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne launched Public School, a distinctly NYC-flavored menswear brand that specializes in athletically-inclined apparel cast with one eye on the avant-garde. The collection was an instant hit with fashion editors and apparel buyers and in their first year, Chow and Osborne amassed over $1 million in orders, most of which were placed by Barneys New York. However, putting too many eggs in the Barney’s basket proved detrimental when the retailer dropped Public School from their selling floor in 2010. Chow and Maxwell had no choice but to halt operations and come up with a new business plan. Two years later, the duo relaunched their fledgling label, which in turn sparked a couple high profile acknowledgements; the CFDA handed Public School its 2013 Swarovski Award For Menswear which was followed by the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nod several months later.

For spring, Public School shows why they’ve been on such a roll this past year. Minimal and monochromatic, the athletic vibe is present but not glaringly obvious. For instance, colorblocking, like on the Agora shirt, hints at pro-sports staple Under Armour. Drawstring pants, when paired with tailored topcoats and elegant knitwear, don’t look the least bit sloppy. Sweatshirts are strategically layered atop tees, and shorts over cropped pants. True, the athletic-gear as fashion fodder has been done-to-death this past year, but Chow and Maxwell bring an authenticity to their gear that is very much lacking in the trendy, sporty poseurs littering the fashion landscape. Both men are New York natives (Chow from Queens, Maxwell from Brooklyn) and have a strong background in urban streetwear, spending most of the 90s working various at street-favored companies like Mecca, Echo, and Tommy Hilfiger. (The pair first met up at Sean John in the early 2000′s.) They’re also diehard sports fanatics who count Giants wide receiver (and endzone salsa dancer) Victor Cruz as friend and PS-devotee. It’s this unbridled love of their hometown and its sports teams that lends a legitimacy to their clothes that their own fanatics just get.

Rumor has it that Public School will be debuting womenswear alongside the menswear at their debut NYFW presentation next month. Don’t expect cheerleader skirts and sequined dance pants.




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Categories: Editorial, High Fashion, Lifestyle, Luxury, Men


Fashion Stylist | Author of "Michael Jackson Style" and "Madonna Style". Spent majority of time backstage in London and New York; shuffling between Fashion Week and Theatrical Costuming Gigs after Graduating from the University in Fashion Design.


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One Comment on “School is Back in Session: Menswear Label Public School Returns with Huge Response”

  1. January 14, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    Public School rocks!

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