Interview: Behind The Collection With Maxwell Osborne of Public School

We talk inspiration and the evolution of New York style with one half of the design team.

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Designers Dao-Yi Chowand Maxwell Osbornedebuted Public School’s first collection last fall, to much buzz. Last week they unveiled the Spring/Summer 2013 collection at New York Fashion Week and it's just as exciting. Leather vests, tuxedo jackets, and perfectly tailored denim pants—the line had plenty to want.

For more insight into the inspiration behind the clothing, we caught up with one half of the design team, Maxwell Osborne. He talks about the people that inspire the brand, and the state of New York style. 

You guys were part of the first class of the CFDA incubator program, designed to help emerging designers get their feet on the ground.  How has that helped you guys step up your game?   

Maxwell: The CFDA incubator has been really great for our business.  I think one, in terms of the mentoring they helped us from growing up the business, making everything here in New York, helping us find factories, introducing us to people to help us find factories, to understanding the business in and outs that, you know, we were just not built for as a start up brand. You can learn from people that have been in the game for like 30, 40 years. So that’s been so influential with us going forward.

How important is it for you guys to make your stuff in NYC?

Maxwell: I think it really is like the core of the business for us. We are all from New York. Me and my partner are from New York, raised in new York; the brand itself really has a New York aesthetic and that’s what we try to keep through and through. It’s actually a necessity for us. You know, people ask, ”Oh you guys should do a show overseas,” and it just wouldn’t make sense. New York has been our home, and that’s not gonna change.

Speaking of the "New York aesthetic," Public School mixes streetwear and tailored menswear with items like tuxedo jackets and denim jackets. What other influences make the collection so well-rounded?

Maxwell: You know I think it's funny—now a lot of other designers who we’d even look toward like Neil Barrett or Alexander Plokhov—who are great designers—they have somewhat of an inner-city vibe. We definitely appreciate them for that aesthetic.

What's the theme for this collection?

Maxwell: This is like a continuation of our last season. We were inspired by Twin Shadow  and other people that influence the brand. People’s auras and energies in the city—all of that comes down into this. Spring is a really easy season to go forward with because it's like a continuation of where we felt like leaving last season, and what we still wanted to finish up.

Twin Shadow, starred in last season's campaign video and scored the show. Is it safe to assume that he's still connected to this season? 

Maxwell: Twin Shadow scored the music you’re listening to right now. He once again came on board, saw the collection, realized that he felt the last collection was so very "New York" so he used a lot of saxophone this season. He felt like it needed more strings, so if you listen closely, he took a more worldly view on composing the music for this collection. 

How would you explain the current state of New York style?

Maxwell: It's fun man. New York is fun right now. It’s enjoyable.

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