Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne on mastering the NYC uniform.
Even though one-half of It label Public School is technically Canadian (Chow was born in Montreal), its DNA—much like its masculine cool-girl aesthetic—is totally New York. You started out designing menswear. What was it like moving into womenswear? Osborne: “We wanted to set the tone for menswear and womenswear to be very similar, with boxy shapes that aren’t so sexy or body-conscious, using the same fabrics, playing with different fits for both.” Do you think there is a “New York uniform”? Chow: “New York is a city you can disappear in—you can fade into the background or, if you really make it, you can stand out and be a hero. That’s what the collection represents; there’s a range. I think Public School could only come out of New York.” What style staples stand out from your public-school days? Osborne: “You could always tell the cats who were into hip-hop music; the goth kids wore Doc Martens, black everything, eyeliner... and then there were the art kids.” Chow: “And the club kids wore zodiac platform shoes and polkadot shirts! They all had a uniform.” (From $380, at Holt Renfrew, holtrenfrew.com)