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On this episode of ‘Vibe Check,’ host Jian DeLeon checks in with Dao-Yi Chow, co-founder of New York-based label Public School, who was named the creative director of heritage sportswear brand Sergio Tacchini last year. Dao-Yi reflects on recent changes in his life including the new role, sustainability in fashion, running for a cause, and pulling off a proper Asian household quarantine fit.
Dao-Yi has collaborated with Jordan Brand multiple times, and he’s now bringing his affinity for basketball and fashion into styling outfits on collectible ENTERBAY Jordan figures during quarantine. Dao-Yi’s been busy with work as well, steadily moving towards Sergio Tacchini’s target launch date in Fall 2020. To him, the important question is asking how the fashion industry is going to come out of the current Covid-19 situation (5:02).
The below interview is a transcribed version of ‘Vibe Check.’ It has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Dao-Yi Chow: Are we going to go right back into the same groove that we were in before or are we really going to walk away with some changed behaviors? And for us, just thinking about the process and how much waste is inherently built into the design and development process for clothing, a lot of that falls to the wayside. You know what I’m saying? Like you’re not sampling as much as you are now because you dealt with the hand that you have, and so I think that the whole mentality is like, make do with what you have and we’re trying to internalize that from a design philosophy of being less wasteful.
As a member of Old Man Run Club, one of NYC’s most popular social running groups, Dao-Yi is incorporating his routine into the time he spends with his eldest son. Dao-Yi’s appreciation for his family is allowing him to make the best of the quarantine, and that thankfulness extends to his running family as well. Although the group is now the One Man Run Club, Dao-Yi and the team’s members are connected through a unified message of staying responsible while getting their daily exercise, which they hold to be a valuable luxury (10:37).
Jian DeLeon: Right. Still about being mindful in this situation and raising awareness…
DYC: For sure, being mindful. There’s a saying in the running community where it’s like a few runners had started your mileage, say you ran seven miles a day, that you’d donate $7 to No Kid Goes Hungry. So really running for a purpose and not, again, it’s not about the enjoyment of running. I don’t think that it’s the time for that. But like you said, just being more mindful. So a lot of the initiatives where you’re running for a specific cause and I think that that’s super important.
Dao-Yi is all about comfort and versatility when it comes to clothing, and there’s no better time than the lockdown for modeling after such an aesthetic. This widespread preference has been reflected in the online sales for Sergio Tacchini, which is known for their classically stylish cozy gear (12:57).
JD: I feel like the two dominant aesthetics are like off-duty Tony Soprano or like that ‘90s chilling basketball look?
DYC: Word. Yeah, I wouldn’t be mad. I’ve always been about comfort and having the flexibility in what you wear to do anything, you know what I’m saying? To be able to play ball or play tennis or run around. That’s always been part of my mentality.
JD: You think the headbands are coming back too, though?
DYC: I don’t know bro. I think especially with people being locked down now and no access to the barbershop, I don’t know if you want to bring more attention to your wig piece currently.
Jian wraps up the episode by asking Dao-Yi his isolation kicks rotation, which leads to the duo connecting over the steadfast no-shoes-indoors rule for Asian households (15:55).
JD: Are you the type to have one pick? This is what I’ve been doing, obviously because I’ve still been getting some sneakers since I’ve been quarantined. But I live in an Asian household, obviously, so can’t be wearing them inside the house. So technically I got pairs that I wear inside that I treat like house shoes because I know once they cross that door there’s no going back. They got to come off as soon as I touch the floor. Are you the same with the Tacchinis, where you got a pair that you’re just keeping on ice within the house, for house use?
DYC: Well yeah, I got four brand new pairs in every colorway but we’re not allowed to wear kicks in the crib, even if they’re brand new. So that’s just some Asian shit, but —
JD: For sure. And no kicks on the bed ever, for sure.
DYC: Oh yeah. I mean, that’s a non-negotiable —
JD: That’s a crime against humanity, yeah.
DYC: Oh yeah. I was talking to my youngest son about that. He was weirded out because he saw some kid on TV had sneakers on his bed and he’s like, “Yo, why’s that kid have his sneakers on the bed?” I had to give him a quick lesson in the ways of the world outside the Asian household.
Stay tuned for new episodes of ‘Vibe Check’ dropping every Tuesday and Thursday.