ROWING BLAZERS SUMMER ’22: DROP 1
The first installment of our Summer ’22 collection - including a lookbook featuring Euphoria’s Henry Eikenberry - launches today. The drop includes tailoring in madras, seersucker, navy wool, and, of course, boating stripes; reissues of some classic items from our very first collection, five years ago in 2017; and, for the first time, a collection of premium basics, inspired by the the old-school American sportswear found in Japanese vintage shops - including rugbies, polos, tees, and loopback cross-weave sweats.
“We’ve been relatively quiet so far this year, which feels very different from our usual breakneck cadence of new drops,” explains Rowing Blazers creative director and founder Jack Carlson. “I think it’s good to do that from time to time. It’s allowed us to do some really strong work. We have a lot of exciting projects coming out throughout this summer, including collaborations with K-Swiss, Murray’s Toggery, La Martina, and SEGA… and preparing to open a new flagship store in New York.
“WE’VE BEEN RELATIVELY QUIET SO FAR THIS YEAR, BUT IT’S ALLOWED US TO REFLECT - TO THINK ABOUT THE THINGS THAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT TO US AND GET BACK TO OUR ROOTS: QUALITY, AUTHENTICITY, MAKING THINGS THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY, AND PUTTING A THOUGHTFUL, INCLUSIVE, SLIGHTLY SUBVERSIVE SPIN ON THE CLASSICS.”
“But it’s also allowed us to reflect — to think about the things that are most important to us and get back to our roots: quality, authenticity, making things the old-fashioned way, and putting a thoughtful, inclusive, slightly subversive spin on the classics. The first drop of this collection features some old favorites - like the classic navy blazer with cream grosgrain trim, which we haven’t had since before COVID; wide-stripe blue and cream seersucker; and some of my favorite rugbies and hats from the last five years.”
In addition to the grosgrain-trimmed blazer (“‘Schoolboy’ Rowing Blazer”) and men’s and women’s “Milk-and-Sugar” seersucker jackets and trousers, new tailored offerings also include colorful guard- and boating-stripe blazers and trousers, as well as zip-up station jackets, in seersucker in madras. The eponymous blazers, in particular, remain an intrinsic part of the brand’s identity. Jack explains: "It’s almost ironic how hard it is to find something so simple and well-made, but the truth is, most ‘tailored’ suits and sport jackets on the market today are standardized. We’re not content to do that. Our products are based on an almost obsessive research and study of vintage clothing; our blazers are cut to the original, 1852 pattern. They’re ventless, with unlined backs, just like they’re supposed to be. The blazer was born in the sport of rowing - it’s essentially the world’s first piece of sportswear - and all of these simple details that made them so comfortable and easy to move in 50, 100, almost 200 years ago, are what make it so hard to replicate correctly today. Most factories can’t do soft shoulder wells, or 3-roll-2 stances, or have beautifully finished French seams in the back of an unlined jacket well. These are the details we obsess over. If you can work with a tailor who can do it well, the result is, in my opinion, the most flattering, the most elegant, the most true to what a blazer should be.”
The first Summer ’22 drop also includes a collection of elevated basics, inspired by Jack’s visits to Japanese vintage shops, and “the awesome quality sweats, tees, and polos you find there. I realized they feel fundamentally different from their equivalents that are being produced today. And not just because they’re old. It’s how they were made. So we worked with a group of amazing craftspeople in Portugal to recreate the hand, weight, and knit of our favorite vintage pieces in a range of colors. They’re true basics - no logo, no nonsense. An important part of the Rowing Blazers world is irreverence: bold colors, crazy collaborations, and a sense of humor - but another, equally important part of our identity is this focus on quality, on timeless pieces that are eminently wearable and will last forever. Sometimes it’s cool to not have a big logo or graphic, and just let the quality speak for itself.”
“SOMETIMES IT’S COOL TO NOT HAVE A BIG LOGO OR GRAPHIC, AND JUST LET THE QUALITY SPEAK FOR ITSELF.”
The collection of basics features rugby shirts knit in the traditional 12-gauge style on vintage looms in Portugal (“Dad Rugby”); cotton mesh pique polo jerseys made from organic cotton yarn ("Organic Cotton Mesh Polo”); luxurious heavyweight French terry loopback crewneck and hooded sweatshirts (“Ametora Crewneck” and “Ametora Hoodie”); and 100% cotton t-shirts (“Ametora Tee”), all of which are available in a range of rich, solid colors. The name “Ametora” refers to the “American traditional” styles adopted and perfected by Japanese designers and apparel makers - as well as the wonderful W. David Marx book of the same name.
In keeping with the collection’s back-to-basics theme, the accompanying lookbook also harkens back to the brand’s beginnings, “when we would shoot a bunch of our friends over two days: one at Princeton and one in Chinatown,” explains Jack. This time, the shoot - featuring an ensemble cast of friends, including Henry Eikenberry of HBO’s Euphoria - took place at both the historic Cooper Hewitt Museum on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and Rowing Blazers’ own studio in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood.
Says Jack: “The apparel industry is so much about hype, and I think this collection is a little bit of a reaction to that. It’s about getting back to our roots, which, for me, is about the quality of the clothing and how it’s made. About bringing back some of our favorite pieces, and some of our favorite iconography. But this is only the first drop. There’s a lot more coming.” The first installment of Rowing Blazers’ Summer ’22 collection is available now.