The fashion world is filled with dynamic, creative forces, and few duos have made as substantial an impact as Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne. Together, they founded the award-winning Public School brand. Despite their undeniable success, there is still much that people do not know about these innovative designers. Here are ten things you might not have known about Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne.

1. Maxwell Osborne’s Mother Raised Him to be a Designer

Maxwell Osborne’s burgeoning interest in fashion can be traced back to his childhood. His mother, a seamstress by trade, was a big influence and nurtured his passion for fashion. Fascinated by the art of creating clothes, it was unsurprising that he would later follow in his mother’s footsteps.

He once shared that his mother taught him, “If you can’t afford it, make it”. This introduced him to the exacting work that goes into creating a garment—work that would ultimately lay the groundwork for his future in fashion.

2. Dao-Yi Chow Initially Pursued Music

Before making a name in the fashion industry, Dao-Yi Chow was focused on a wholly different art form: music. He was part of the A&R team for renowned musician Sean ‘Puff Daddy’ Combs, where he worked on marketing campaigns for artists like J.Lo and Biggie Smalls. This was a different creative field, yes, but it helped Chow understand the power of branding and image building, both of which would later come in handy in his fashion career.

It is not uncommon for creative artists to explore different mediums, and Dao-Yi Chow’s transition from music to fashion is a perfect example. Despite the different industries, Chow managed to use his skills and background in music to make a mark in fashion.

3. They Won the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund in 2013

In 2013, Chow and Osborne’s brand, Public School, was awarded the prestigious CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund—an honor granted to emerging American designers. The award not only came with a cash prize, but it also offered mentorship from industry veterans and access to business resources.

This recognition validated their vision and potential, allowing them to grow the business and reach a wider audience. The prestigious award undeniably played a huge role in propelling Public School to new heights.

4. Public School Evolved from a Wholesale Business

Public School started as a wholesale business, focusing on creating men’s clothes that blended streetwear and high fashion. However, given the shifting retail landscape, they decided to turn the brand into a direct-to-consumer business. This allowed them to have more control over their products and reach their customers more effectively.

The move to a direct-to-consumer model was challenging, but it demonstrated their adaptability and foresight. By focusing on e-commerce, they were able to sustain the brand amid the changes happening in the fashion industry.

5. They Were the Creative Directors of DKNY

In 2015, Danish retailer DKNY appointed Chow and Osborne as the brand’s creative directors. It was a significant career move as it was the first time that they would lead a global fashion house. Their appointment marked a new era for DKNY, with the duo bringing their distinct aesthetic to the brand’s collections.

However, their tenure at DKNY was short-lived. In 2016, after a year and a half, they left the brand. Despite this, their stint at DKNY allowed them to flex their creative muscles and interact with a broader audience.

6. Sustainability is Key for Public School

Chow and Osborne are not only talented designers; they are also advocates for sustainability. They have made it a point to use recycled and sustainable materials for their collections, making Public School a label that not only pushes fashion boundaries but also promotes responsible production.

The duo’s dedication to sustainability is a testament to their vision of a better fashion industry. They hope to inspire other brands to prioritize ethical and responsible practices, proving that it is possible to be fashionable and sustainable at the same time.

7. They Have a Unique Design Process

Every designer has their unique way of creating, and Chow and Osborne are no exceptions. They have shared that their design process often starts with a single idea or concept, which they then build around. This approach allows them to create cohesive collections that reflect their vision clearly.

Their design process is a blend of intuition and meticulous planning, striking a balance between creativity and business. It is this unique process that makes each Public School collection distinctive and instantly recognizable.

8. Both Designers are New York Natives

Both Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne were born and raised in New York City. The two have credited the city as a big influence on their design aesthetic. From its street culture to its multicultural vibe, New York City’s energy permeates their designs.

Even their brand name, Public School, is a nod to their upbringing in New York City. It speaks to their connection with the city and how it has shaped them as individuals and designers.

9. They Have Collaborated with Various Brands

Public School’s ethos and aesthetic have attracted various collaborations with brands across different industries. These collaborations allow them to experiment with their designs and reach new audiences. From Nike to Fitbit, these collaborations further expand Public School’s reach while maintaining its edgy and refined aesthetic.

Each collaboration is a testament to their creativity and adaptability, demonstrating their ability to translate their design aesthetic into different products and mediums.

10. They were Named Menswear Designers of the Year Twice

In 2014 and 2016, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) recognized Chow and Osborne as Menswear Designers of the Year for their work on Public School. This recognition is another testament to their talent and contributions to the global fashion scene.

The CFDA recognition is one of the highest honors in American fashion, affirming their status as influential figures in the fashion industry. The award garnered them international acclaim and established Public School as a force to be reckoned with in fashion.

Visit Public School’s Official Site here
CFDA Profile of Public School
Vogue’s Article on Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne