During the 20 years that Jack Carlson was a competitive rower, he amassed an unusual number of blazers. “There’s an intricate social system with these blazers,” he says. “Every new boat you make, you get a new blazer, so I accumulated a large collection that I’d earned being on these various teams and crews.”
By 2014, he had put out the coffee-table book Rowing Blazers detailing the garments and their history. His research added even more to his personal collection, by way of vintage blazers he dug out of shops in London and Tokyo.
In 2017, he opened the Rowing Blazers store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, combining classic styling with a streetwear sensibility that caught the attention of everyone, including Vogue and GQ. Today, customers range from rowing clubs at Princeton and Cambridge universities to members of the New York Yacht Club to trendsetters heading out to local eateries.
Carlson says custom orders can be as small as 15 jackets—perfect for a superyacht crew or group of charter guests. And soon, a program will allow orders of one-off designs that Rowing Blazers can create, or that yacht owners can base, for instance, on a favorite hull color.
“At the moment, we do club or team orders, so it’s not like one person can come in and get a fully bespoke jacket,” he says. “But certainly, some of the New York Yacht Club members have chatted with us about that idea.”
One client is the classic 12-meter Courageous, Carlson says. He can’t reveal details, but did say its custom blazers would have been on the water this past summer if there had been time to make them.
“They were going to be so, so cool,” Carlson says. “Hopefully, you’ll see next year.”