As a longtime admirer of Jack Carlson’s “cryptic menswear brand” Rowing Blazers, I felt a pang of injustice when his New York pop-up emerged in October. When would Boston, the seat of the Head of the Charles itself, receive its turn?
Turns out I didn’t have to wait too long. At the start of the month the brand announced via Instagram that a pop-up, er, “Boston Clubhouse & Ping-Pong Studio,” would exist at 220 Newbury Street from December 12-17th. In addition, the brand would also exhibit wares from NYC brands Paterson, Wooden Sleepers and FE Castleberry. I happened to be running errands in the area around noon yesterday and couldn’t resist the chance to step inside.
I was first struck by the size — it occupies two full rooms — and the scope of the merchandise, which included just about everything I’ve seen on the Rowing Blazers website (note: the streetwear threads from Paterson and vintage-inspired tees of Wooden Sleepers may be of less interest to the Ivy-minded). Also on display was an enormous range of on-brand knickknackery, from vintage flags to signed rowing oars, that came straight from the now-closed New York shop.
As for Mr. Castleberry, I discovered him in the back room, which served as both his temporary office and the promised ping-pong studio. This is where Castleberry sees clients for his eponymous made-to-measure suiting program, and will perhaps also challenge them to pick up a racquet. While I didn’t leave with a commission for a new soft-shouldered, black-and-white houndstooth sportcoat, I did come away with a valuable lesson on the backhand serve. — ERIC TWARDZIK