A couple of weeks ago I paid a visit to the “global headquarters” of Jack Carlson’s brand Rowing Blazers. As far as headquarters go, this Midtown Manhattan office is quite tiny. On the other hand, it is indeed global, as Carlson is forging connections and collaborations around the world. A world that he’s visited much of through his impressive rowing resumé (Oxford, the World Championships, et cetera). The collegiate, Anglophile and rowing-related memorabilia, trophies and collectibles he’s amassed fill the office from floor to ceiling in that charming way associated with storied sporting clubs.
RB’s newest collaboration, which just came out, is with Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Club, and includes graphics from the club’s archives. Meanwhile, today Carlson posted an interview and photo shoot with Miles Fisher. If the name isn’t familiar, perhaps his work is. In 2009, Fisher (who attended Harvard and was a member of Hasty Pudding) had a mini-viral hit with his music-video parody of “American Psycho,” which has been viewed over a million times.
By the standards of an apparel brand launched by a guy with a Ph.D. in history — actually by any standards — Rowing Blazers is growing quite nicely. When I visited, Carlson had me slip on an unconstructed cotton Black Watch blazer. I like Jack so much I’m posting the photo with the full expectation that it will be used forevermore to illustrate my inability to coordinate a jacket and tie:
Says Carlson, “We’re starting to produce traditional summer jackets (seersucker, madras, cotton twill) in the same construction and fit we’ve been using for our blazers. Like them, these jackets are unlined in the back and feature a 3-roll-2 cut. The latest collection also features pima cotton polo jerseys in a wide variety of colors, each emblazoned with an hand-sewn satin diagonal stripe; remakes of vintage rugby jerseys with intricate, oversized embroideries; American-made chinos in two fits, a regular and a slightly higher-rise, wider-leg fit; and officially-sanctioned tees from two of New York’s most famous pizza joints —Joe’s and John’s — which is a nod to my pizza obsession and our made-in-NYC philosophy.”
Below are some shots of the new stuff. You can check out Rowing Blazers’ full spring/summer collection here. — CC
Please, not another Rugby!
Aw, you should cheer. Might in a roundabout way contribute to the continuation of The Andover Shop.
Eric Twardzik and I attended a presentation by Abercrombie & Fitch a couple nights ago. The brand is returning to its shopping-mall trad roots with Fair Isle and tennis sweaters and a fun shirt. Good sign for our genre overall, I think.
Excited for these madras items…
I too have noticed Abercrombie & Fitch changing for the better. After years of shopping elsewhere, I visited their store in my local mall and actually bought something. A nice, wood-handled umbrella with a black watch canopy. I’m impressed by the quality and it even has the old A&F logo stamped on the wooden handle. Can’t remember what I paid but it wasn’t too expensive. Also, their site shows that they’ve slimmed down their offerings in a great way.
The A&F event was at The Explorer’s Club, so we jumped at the chance to go. Well catered, too, as you’d expect from a large corporation.
So he got a PhD in history and then started his own clothing company? Sounds like a good career path to me as I hurtle toward comps.
I’m surprised that they could afford such an event (or such a risky turnaround). The Explorer’s Club is fitting, harkens back to the days when Papa Hemingway shopped at A&F rather than douchebags looking for ‘muscle tee shirts’.
Three cheers for Rowing Blazers. It feels like a a semi-reivial of Rugby, albeit a bit more street smart, mature and world-weary. If Rugby were a person, I’d imagine he’d have moved from his Ivy League campus to New York, fallen in love, had his heart broken, suffered a quarter life crisis and then emerged on the other side as Rowing Blazers.
On a less abstract note, the madras and black watch blazers are marvelous.
Re: “American-made chinos in two fits, a regular and a slightly higher-rise, wider-leg fit.
Am I the only one who remembers when “regular” meant “high-rise, wide-leg”?
@ Dutch Uncle
I too, both fondly and sadly, remember those days….
I’d looked at the Rowing Blazers website previously and found it a bit too ‘street-style-meets-Fred-Castleberry’ for my taste.
*However*: a) that cream/red/blue madras jacket looks great; and b) I’m always on the lookout for my next pair of favorite old-fashioned (full rise) khakis. Rowing Blazers’ coxswain appears to be making an excellent course correction at the 500 meter mark!
Nice Black Watch. I am pleased that it does not appear to be in the shrunken proportions that I still see so often. Good job! I think Press recently had a nice one in their end-of-the-season sale line-up as well.
Paul – I’d love to hear how your Smithfield ham went on Easter. I left you a comment about it on the Easter post, but was I late to the party as usual and so you probably missed it.
@Charlottesville: it was excellent, thanks for asking. The kids, especially, loved it. It was a bit smokier than I remember from years ago (on biscuits at an HSC tailgate, of course); but it wasn’t as salty as my wife had feared. All in all, a home-run.
@Charlottesville: I should have gone back and read your Easter post before responding, above. We actually took Rte. 10 all the way to Richmond (64 was apparently “closed”?) and went right through Surrey, noting the old courthouse and of course Edwards’. I said to my family, “Next time!”
My wife, having spent her formative years in vulgar places like New York and Connecticut, looked around at that beautiful Surrey Co. and Prince George’s Co. countryside and wondered aloud, “I bet there are ghosts of slaves around here …”
Paul — Glad you liked the ham. Give Edwards a try next time and compare. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it, but fortunately a local grocery store in Charlottesville slices cooked Edwards ham to order for sale by the pound. They sell pretty good biscuits too, so my weekend breakfasts are now destined for greatness. Very best to you and your ham-blessed family.
While I commend the spirit of this venture the products unfortunately are vulgar beyond belief.
The madras coats look nice.
Could they make the red chicken a little bigger?