Designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne have achieved the fashion equivalent of rock star status. In the past three years, their bespoke streetwear label Public School cleaned up in the awards category, nabbing every accolade from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to, most recently, the 2014/2015 International Woolmark Prize,which not only offers a handsome amount of money, but also a list of prestigious new stockists for the brand from around the world.
Now the New York natives, who began their design career at Sean John, have one of the buzziest shows during the New York schedule. Expect fashion luminaries such as Anna Wintour and Jenna Lyons and fans like Tyson Chandler and Victor Cruz to sit front row. And with the debut of womenswear last year — just in time for fashion's activewear obession — we can safely say this is their moment.
Congratulations on the International Woolmark Prize. For the contest you had to design a capsule collection in Merino. What did you learn from working with wool?
Osborne: Working with wool and all of its natural benefits has been instrumental in developing the trans-seasonality and versatility of our own collection, and its going to really help jumpstart our knitwear business. So yes, you will see more of that fabric in our line.
Activewear is having a major moment. Why do you think are people gravitating towards it so much now?
Dao-Yi: There’s an ease about wearing activewear. It's comfortable and functional, but can also be dressed up and incorporated into your [everyday] wardrobe.
How does your design process work? Who is in charge of what?
Osborne: We hate working together, actually! We do everything together. If someone is stronger at something, we let them do that, but it’s a partnership. If I really love something but he doesn’t as much, we’ll do it, and if he really loves something but I don’t as much, we’ll do it. We don’t fight too much.
You debuted womenswear last year. How would you describe the Public School woman?
Dao-Yi: Our menswear has a lot of emotion in it and we applied that on the womenswear as well. We share a lot of the silhouettes and fabrication across the lines. The PS woman is the counterpart of the PS man: She’s a connector, a traveler, and a curious being.
Kanye recently styled Rihanna in a vintage Sean John denim jacket. Did you recognize the jacket?
Osborne: I didn’t see that, but we love that era of fashion. I would bring it all back!