A staple in anyone's wardrobe, the blazer has long been a key element in fashion. However, few people know that the blazer originates from the rowing teams of Oxford and Cambridge in the 19th century. American champion rower Jack Carlson’s latest project, an unapologetically cool and crisp coffee table book entitled Rowing Blazers, delves into the history and tradition of this item.
The blazer has long since been synonymous with rowing; teams have their own custom blazers designed in preparation for tournaments. Traveling around the world, Carlson and principal contributing photographer F.E. Castleberry shot top oarsmen and members of elite rowing clubs in a variety of situations.
Carlson’s “fascination with the pageantry of rowing blazers” started at his first Regatta almost a decade ago. Since, he has rowed competitively for the Henley and Head of Charles teams and is in training for the 2016 Olympics. Currently rowing for Oxford, where he is completing a PhD in Anthropology, Carlson was in the perfect placed to explore the rise of the blazer. On his website, Carlson calls Oxford “the spiritual home of the boating jacket and one of the few places where rowing blazers are still a perfectly ordinary sight”.
Rowing Blazers has also caught the attention of some major players in the industry. Ralph Lauren himself is a huge fan of the book, and Polo Ralph Lauren will be hosting a launch party for the book in New York in conjunction with the opening of its flagship store on Fifth Avenue.
The book details the rich craftsmanship imbued with tradition of rowing blazers around the globe. Filled with dazzling images showcasing the dynamic nature of the piece on top rowers, it is a great introduction to the world of rowing and a celebration of boating culture. Purchase a copy at the official store today.