Public School took home Menswear Designer of the Year at the 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards, held in the Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center last night. Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow‘s win comes on the heels of their 2013 Swarovski Award for Menswear, along with their top honors for the 2013 Fashion Fund, a decade-old initiative that provides financial support and mentorship to up-and-coming designers.
And though we’re unsurprised by this fact (full disclosure: the SlamXHype team reps Public School disproportionately hard), their win got us thinking: Why? Why is Public School winning the game right now? Why is the CFDA pulling for them? What does their second straight CFDA win tell us about what makes for a successful new label?
We came up with five answers and they’re all below. Read them.
They Take On-Trend Fashion And Take It One More Step Original
For those who are in-the-know when it comes to fashion trends, Public School offers pieces that take what’s hot and add one more twist to it: one more layer of originality that keeps their clothing a step ahead of other labels. Their new Black Zip Back Leather Biker Jacket is a perfect example. Every label offers a leather jacket now, but most designs are based on either the classic Schott lapeled design OR the collarless Balmain biker. Public School’s new biker draws from both, using an overlapping chest piece, on-point shoulder padding, and innovative back-zip.
Accessible But Intriguing
For those who don’t live deep in the world of high-fashion trends (for the everyman so-to-speak), Public School offers designs that are accessible. The colorways and materials that Maxwell and Dao use are familiar to the average guy and the clothes that they make are based on menswear staples that the average guy knows, just flipped with detailing that intrigues and excites. Public School’s offerings can be dressed up or dressed down and can last beyond just a single season.
They Can Do Womenswear Too
Yes, they won for their work in menswear, but with the launch of their first womenswear line earlier this year and their recent capsule for J. Crew, the duo has proven that they can also create clothing that women want to buy and this just increases their visibility in the broader realm of fashion. Winning over the women’s market means that Public School has a whole new group of fans pulling for their success.
Made In New York
Maxwell and Dao have always strayed true to their original muse: New York City. You see it in their masculine-yet-elegant silhouettes, their streetwear-inspired designs and their monochrome color schemes. Like their brother company Black Apple which recently partnered with The Knicks for a co-branded capsule collection, Public School is as ‘New York’ as fashion comes, and since New York is the home of high-end fashion and the CFDA, being the kings of NYC certainly isn’t a bad thing.
Even Fashion Needs Heroes
Every industry has its heroes: Hollywood has its blockbuster celebrities. Political parties have their poster men and women. The art world has its bankable artists. Fashion is no different and Maxwell and Dao are the new heroes of the fashion world. Saying this doesn’t detract from the hard work, and endless string of successful designs, that have put them in this position. Simply put: they’ve earned it and the 2014 CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year award cements them as the leaders in menswear. Congratulations to both of them.