In just a few years, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, the founders of New York-based brand Public School, have become two of the buzziest designers in fashion. Known for its cool, street-wise clothing for both men and women, the brand has garnered top industry praise, winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2013, the CFDA Award for Menswear Design in 2014 and the first-ever International Woolmark Prize for menswear in 2015.
Now, the duo has received its biggest honor yet: Donna Karan International announced on Wednesday that Chow and Osborne are the new creative directors of DKNY, and they will present their first collection for the label during New York Fashion Week in September. They will oversee both the men's and women's collections at the brand, and will split their time equally between DKNY and Public School.
DKNY and its new creative directors appear well suited, given that Chow and Osborne grew up in New York and that the Public School brand has a similar, if more elevated, urban sensibility in its DNA. DKNY could use some of that elevated sensibility. Despite attempts to remain relevant within the market — ad campaigns with the likes of Cara Delevingne and Rita Ora, for instance — the brand messaging is in need of a refresh, which led to one more appointment on Wednesday: Hector Muelas, the former creative director of worldwide marketing communications at Apple, who will hold the newly created role of chief image officer at Donna Karan International.
Rumors have been swirling for a while that DKNY has been looking for fresh design talent to head up the brand, and LVMH — which owns Donna Karan International — has its finger on the pulse of the industry's best young talents, often turning to them when one of its brands needs a creative change. A spokesperson for LVMH said that the conglomerate has not invested in the Public School brand, however.
This story was updated to clarify that a LVMH investment in Public School is not imminent.