Rowing Blazers founder Jack Carlson has introduced a new collection of vintage pieces to the market. The New York-based fashion company does make blazers, but they also produce outerwear, tees, bottoms, polos, and accessories. The clothing and accessories in the latest release reflect the label’s preppy fashion style and Carlson’s interest in archaeology, Oxbridge education, and more.
Jack Carlson selected sportswear items from Oakley, Fila, and Nike, as well as rugby and soccer jerseys, graphic tees, and nylon and corduroy caps for the collection. The vintage release goes beyond clothing, with the sale of out-of-print Japanese fashion magazines, iconic books, posters, and other accessories.
The diverse pieces that inspire and inform the world of Rowing Blazers are currently available on the Rowing Blazers website. Carlson is trained as an archaeologist. The clothes he makes are archaeological and anthropological. They start in one place and come to life somewhere else.
“Archaeology isn’t just digging in the dirt. It’s the study of material culture, which includes vintage clothes. And Rowing Blazers is as much about history as anything else. Much of what we do is the result of tireless research on esoteric sporting traditions, the anthropology of clothes, and vintage pieces we love,” says the vintage curator.
Rowing Blazers: The First Chapter
The Rowing Blazers brand was born from a book Carlson wrote on the history of blazers people sported at regattas. He titled it Rowing Blazers. Before his days designing fashion, Jack Carlson represented the United States in rowing as a coxswain for the U.S. team at the 2011, 2014, and 2015 World Championships.
He always saw competitors in blazers when they weren’t rowing. But they weren’t just any blazer: The blazers had certain colours and details that represented the club they rowed for.
“It’s about heraldry, about symbols, about the tradition and rituals and myths that make up the history of a club. I remember seeing the blazers at the Henley Royal Regatta in England and I thought, someone should write a book about this. I became that person and then I started making those blazers,” Carlson recalls.
The book Rowing Blazers was a side project for the Oxbridge graduate. He thought his passion would resonate with the niche community of competitive international rowing. He had no idea the interest in his looks would travel past the rowing set.
The Lauren Seal of Approval
“Ralph Lauren actually picked up the book and hosted a series of book and launch events,” says Carlson. “I worked very closely with the Ralph Lauren team. That was my first taste of the industry, not just writing about clothes, but actually working with a company, a major company in the industry. It gave me the idea of starting my own brand.”
Jack Carlson’s unique life was translated into a look that has caught the eye of some of the most relevant fashion brands, celebrities, and sports clubs in the world. Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson, the U.S. Rowing Team, the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams, the NBA, Sperry, and Babar the Elephant are all associated with the brand.
Jack Carlson puts his personal touch on everything he does, with authenticity and passion as his guide.
“Whatever it is we do, it all comes from a simple idea: Someone should do this. Actually, I think we should do this,” says Carlson.
Jack Carlson and Rowing Blazers: An Indy-pendent Inspiration
It’s no surprise an archaeology student would be influenced by Harrison Ford’s iconic role of Indiana Jones — and Carlson admits he’s no exception. “He’s got such great style. It’s how everyone, I think, of my generation who studied archaeology got into it. They just watched Indiana Jones when they were a kid,” Carlson adds.
Rowing Blazers is a collaborative company by design. And that allows Carlson opportunities to not only reinvent the looks he loved growing up but to work with some of those companies.
The new vintage collection puts forth a collection of threads that defies any conventional categorization.
“I think what I wanted to do was take those classics and combine that classic aesthetic with a sense of irreverence, with a sense of being a little bit subversive, being a little bit tongue in cheek,” he says.
As Rowing Blazers continue to lead in fashion, one can bet Carlson will continue to take the road less travelled.