News & Runway

Public School Talks Winning the Woolmark Prize, Inspiration and Playlists

Public School

Public School, winners of the Woolmark Prize.

Image: Darren Gerrish

Is there an award out there that Public School hasn’t won? We’d sure be hard pressed to find one. Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne are the über-cool New York duo who are taking critics well in their stride with their moody collections and refined “street” aesthetic. They started the label in 2008 and it’s fair to say that things have been pretty good since. They won the Swarovski Menswear Award at the CFDAs in 2013, they were awarded the 2013 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and in 2014, they won the inaugural U.S. Woolmark Prize for Menswear. Last week, they walked away with yet another accolade after winning the International Woolmark Prize, at which point we decided it was time we talked to the boys about inspiration, admiration and working mantras.

theFashionSpot: So, you’ve just won yet another award — the International Woolmark Prize — does winning still give you the same buzz?

Public School: Yes, definitely. We’re always shocked when we win and we always are so thankful with any and every prize.

tFS: You get a hefty sum of money with this one. What aspect of the business will the prize money go toward?

PS: This prize gives us the chance to really develop and grow our knitwear business in a significant way. Knitwear is an inherent part of the Public School aesthetic, so it would allow us to continue to experiment and push the ideas of what can be done in this category. 

tFS: It also means exciting and new international retailers for you now, too. New York is obviously a massive part and inspiration of the brand, but is growing increasingly international a strong focus for you now, too?

PS: Absolutely. We design from a global standpoint and travel is such a huge inspiration. We want to touch as many people as we can with our designs and our brand.

tFS: Aside from NYC, which city inspires you?

PS: Any street-based city like London, Hong Kong or Tokyo — anywhere you can navigate the city on your feet and have direct contact with the people of the city, they ultimately make any city great.

tFS: Many working duos work like yin and yang. Is that the same for you guys? If so, what are each of you proud to bring to the working relationship?

PS: We balance each other out, [Max] is more level-headed, where Dao is more compulsive sometimes, but we have a great trust for one another.

tFS: What’s the best advice you’ve been given since starting the label?

PS: Work at your own pace. Don’t succumb to other peoples’ expectations.

tFS: And the best tip you could give to budding young designers?

PS: Dedicate yourself to your craft, nothing great happens overnight. 

tFS: Finally then, what’s on the studio playlist?

PS: Banks, DJ Mustard, Twin Shadow, FKA twigs and Mary J. Blige.