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Game Changers 2014: Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow

The duo behind the Public School label is making streetwear that’s anything but pedestrian.
Dario Calmese

With so many long-established big names in the fashion game, it’s tough going for homegrown newcomers like Public School, a New York-based menswear brand founded in 2008 by Maxwell Osborne, 31, and Dao-Yi Chow, 40. But the NYC natives have been holding their own on the supercompetitive scene.

In fact, they’re killing it.

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The name Public School references the fight to stand out among the masses, and the duo’s avant-garde style—think: dropcrotch sweatpants and sweater tees energized by a stark black-and-white color palette, rock ’n’ roll attitude, and an aggressive athletic edge—has disrupted the industry.

Last year, Osborne and Chow earned the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Swarovski Award for Menswear. When they won the $300,000 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award shortly after, they beat out thousands of other designers, including established talent like Thom Browne and Rag & Bone’s Marcus Wainwright and David Neville.

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You could label Osborne and Chow’s designs as casual wear or high fashion—and you’d be right. Either way, New York City is the duo’s muse, and despite their explosive success, they strive to keep Public School production rooted in the Big Apple, supporting local tailors, pattern makers, and garment workers.

FIT FACT: Chow and Osborne play pickup b-ball in a school gym in NYC’s West Village.

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