Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow of Public School
Thoughtfully constructed high-end streetwear inspired by a dirty-ass city.
Wed Apr 16 2008
What it is
Thoughtfully constructed high-end streetwear ($81–$680) that won’t earn guys style demerits for looking like an outcast from a Lil John video.
Who they are
Maxwell Osborne (pictured, left) has taught at Parsons The New School For Design and Dao-Yi Chow cut his teeth at urban clothing labels Mecca and Ecko. The two NYC public-school graduates met while working on Sean Combs’s Sean John line (Chow was the creative director and Osbourne helmed its wovens department), and discovered they shared a similar aesthetic: “Everything we do is a little fucked up,” reveals Osborne. “We like to find imperfection in perfection,” adds Chow.
What they make
A sordid view of the Big Apple literally serves as the duo’s logo and inspiration. “New York is a fucking dirty-ass city, but you find beauty in it,” proclaims Chow. “Those were the visual and philosophical cues that we were trying to translate into the pieces.” Their resulting first collection—a modern take on the late-’70s gang film The Warriors—marries clever details (an Italian leather biker vest with zip-off terry-cloth sleeves and hood), with well-tailored, utilitarian silhouettes for spring (a black hoodie cut from structured, specially bonded nylon and cotton, and a belted khaki jacket). “Stuff that’s too fashiony is a pet peeve of ours,” gripes Chow. So basics are subtly tweaked to “add a bit of extra attitude,” according to Osborne; a straightforward army-green button-down, for instance, features removable epaulets. By adding such elements, the pair aim to stay true to their design philosophy and their past, and hope to position themselves somewhere in between minimalist cult brand A.P.C. and over-the-top hip-hop labels. As Chow explains, “At my high school, you had to establish your identity as an individual—you couldn’t be fake because you’d be called out in a minute.” Available at Barneys New York, 660 Madison Ave between 60th and 61st Sts (212-826-8900)
INSIDER PICK #1
Best streetwear spot
Osborne loves freshly minted boutique Cry Wolf because it “harbors great energy and carries excellent menswear, which is just rare.” 111 St. Mark’s Pl between First Ave and Ave A (212-995-9653)
INSIDER PICK #2
“I can honestly say that I have been a true supporter of Jordans,” says Osborne, who scores culty editions of the retro footwear like the Spike Lee-inspired Spiz’ikes on business trips to Hong Kong. “They trigger something from my childhood.”
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