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Well Schooled

Public School

In our never-ending thirst for knowledge, we sat down for a few words of wisdom with Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, veterans of urban education and creators of Public School, the rugged, multi-purpose streetwear label that hits stores mid month.

Kempt: What is the inspiration behind Public School?

Chow: New York City—of course—and anyone who's ever survived public school. Our man is someone who's well-traveled and appreciates details.

Kempt: So than who is your ideal model for Public School?

Osborne: We are our best models.

Kempt: How modest. What parts of New York inspired this line—and don't say your apartment?

Chow: I don't think it's any one place. It's more of the idea of New York, all the five boroughs. Moving around the city and just collecting that energy everywhere you go.

Kempt: What are your favorite haunts in the five boroughs?

Chow: Max probably goes out more than me—but Bar Pitti and Freeman's for sure.

Osborne: Naw, naw—I don't go out that much. I just go with the wind. Someone tells me something's going on, I'm gonna go.

Kempt: Where do you see men's fashion heading in the next few seasons?

Chow: It's always a pendulum—left to right—and I think we just experienced streetwear stuff, loud, gaudy and, on the collections side, real minimalism. I think, in general, it's going to get smarter and more detailed. People's appreciation of fabrication and fit is only going to get better and as they get more exposed, they'll become more educated about what makes a garment a garment.

Kempt: Any designers you like right now?

Chow: Dior

Osborne: Yeah, and Alexandre Plokhov [formerly of Cloak, now Versace]

Chow: Neil Barrett, you know, Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs—there's always more people out there that we like than we don't like.

Kempt: Why so many hidden pockets, zippers and compartments in your clothes?

Osborne: That's New York City—you're always on the move and you have to put everything somewhere. No matter what it is, you'll always need a pocket for it.

Chow: It's not always functional, though. A bit of it is aesthetic. The shape or the drape of a pocket or a zipper, even a hidden one, can be really important. It always feels masculine to me.

Kempt: Did you go to public school yourselves?

Chow: PS 69.

Osborne: PS 41, Clinton and, oh man, Catholic school.

Chow: Damn, kid—public school, all day—if it ain't PS it's BS.

Kempt: If New York was a woman, who would she be?

Osborne: New York is like every woman and no woman…

_Public School is available at Barney's_