PUBLIC SCHOOL – THE AJ 12 REIMAGINED
The latest installment of the PSNY X Jordan partnership spans three cities, three colors, one moment.
Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School have built an aesthetic around a close connection to their city.
In the next chapter of their partnership with Jordan Brand, PSNY applies its approach to two other cities, Milan and Paris. The concept developed, as always, from the footwear up, working its way through select apparel pieces.
PSNY founders Maxwell and Dao-Yi give us some background below.
Art: JOHANNA BEAR
You’re a label that has close ties to New York. What is it about Paris and Milan that you gravitated toward for this collaboration?
“Milan and Paris both feel like street-based cities. You can walk around, hop on the train – it feels like New York in a way. We get the street vibe from it. All the energy is in the people. Like any great city, that’s really what they sell. The city is the people.
Whether you take the metro, or the train, or I think just being in different parts of the city and seeing how they were a reflection of the city from a design standpoint.
The energy from the people I think is really what we’re attracted to. Those cities are really street-based cities where you can move around on foot, and when you get into different neighborhoods, the vibe changes, and the people change. Or it’s very continuous. It feels like it all flows into each other.”
What was the genesis for this set of city-specific color ways?
“For the New York AJ 12, we started with the wheat color way. It felt heavy, like a boot, but still had the performance of a basketball sneaker. Naturally when you talk about boots and you talk about New York, you think about wheat construction boots.
When you see the [AJ] 12 it’s such a distinctive silhouette and the tooling is so unique that’s it’s very performance driven. You think about it as a basketball sneaker on-court, but we were able to make it a little bit more structurally imposing, so it almost feels like a boot.”
What is it about the work boot that has your attention?
“You think about a boot for urban cities, it feels really substantial. The molding, picking out the stitch work, and having the upper in nubuck, and having the colors flooded from the bottom to the upper, make this feel like this one a really substantial hybrid, like a sneaker-sized boot.
Those colors really lent to the spirit of what that sneaker became, what that sneaker turned into.”
“We like being able to turn these design archetypes into something that feels more functional. The small changes we made [to the AJ 12] made it feel a little bit more utilitarian, and I think that that’s what drew people to it. That’s what we tried to do with our collection – take these fashion ideas and break them down and make them feel a little bit more utilitarian.
All these cities – Milan, New York, Paris, and all the cities that inspire us go through seasons. The work boot has been able to transcend the season. You might think of a work boot, and you might think winter, but in New York you wear that work boot all year round. They’re sort of season-less. I think hopefully that that’s the feel that you have from these new 12’s.”
Did you think about cities first and then colors?
“No, we thought about the colors and cities simultaneously. Because it started with the wheat and wheat was in New York and so we’re like ‘Oh let’s pick some other colors that are like indicative of some other favorite cities of ours’. So we’re doing Bordeaux for Paris, France and Olive for Milan, Italy.
When thinking about these other cities, we were like ‘what other colors make sense and what other colors can represent the same way that wheat represents New York?’ So we picked Bordeaux, which is a wine color. France is known for their vineyards and s*** like that. Olive is a color we’ve been playing around with a lot. It’s another earth tone, and kind of an obvious choice; it made us think of Italy and Milan which is our favorite city in Italy.”
Photographer: Akihiro Sakai
Stylist: Megumi Emoto
Post Production: Digital Evolution