Runway: Public School

Design Reviews Fashion

If the fashion industry were a school (and an acutely elite one at that), then designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School would definitely rank supreme as two of the coolest kids. The design duo’s street-wear aesthetic and label are garnering attention everywhere, having recently received the Swarovski’s Young Men’s Designer Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

Of course, when it came down to debuting their first runway show during New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2014, nothing but cool would suffice. And if this were school, they would have received all top marks.

For their fall/winter lineup, Chow and Osborne became the professors of a class called “Streetwear Sophistication 101,” and we all got schooled on how streetwear can, yes, be street and sophisticated. And like veteran educators, their introduction to the fashion week runway (having previously only hosted presentations) at New York City’s Milk Studios didn’t faze this talented duo one bit. Oh, no, instead they put that recent $300,000 Fashion Fund winnings directly into expanding their label to include womenswear.

Along with the inclusion of their tomboy counterpart, Public School made it completely apparent they had big plans for the collection. Inspired by “New Pioneers,” this season witnessed a fine-tuning of certain frontier styles and a revisionary look at urban classics, combining quilted fabrics with a motocross-inspired tweed jacket or a mossy-colored parka in glossy twill.

Major moments during the show came with the realization that the barriers between man and woman were thin for this collection-very thin. Both genders accessorized with capes and broad-brimmed hats, while dressing in an array of unisex looks. From city shorts to modern suiting, Public School reiterated once again that “streetwear” wasn’t synonymous with messy or punk- and all of this while keeping to their signature multi-layered tailoring.

Though the designers’ eye for detail is evident in every piece on the runway, Chow and Osborne added yet another level of cool when they introduced tailored kimono sleeves and a recognizably Japanese influence. These moments were most noticeable in the kimono closing on a suit jacket and the cape layered over a tunic on top of a white cotton shirtdress.

With a fall/winter collection like this, Public School has cemented a fixed place within the street-sophisticate hierarchy. As the up-and-rising heroes of street fashion, they continue to appeal not only to the effortless vibe of New York City, but also to the polished fashion clique.

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