A delightful, glossy new book landed on my doorstep last week. I'd been keeping an eye out for the release of Rowing Blazers by Jack Carlson for quite some time - it originally came to my attention via the blog of the book's principal photographer, F.E. Castleberry. Rowing Blazers looks at the authentic striped, piped, trimmed and badged blazers that are still worn by oarsmen and -women around the world today, and at the elaborate rituals, elite athletes, prestigious clubs and legendary races associated with them. I've never rowed myself, but I've always had a bit of a thing for the clothes (no surprises there), and in particular those striking, colourful blazers. I love the history and the heritage, of course, but purely from an aesthetic point of view, I've always found them just so... stylish. Bold, mustard yellow or the palest of pinks, worn, torn, patched together, plastered with badges; it's a fascinating piece of classic menswear design and a beacon of Britishness. Rowing Blazers celebrates this special, jaunty number in all its sporty glory.
The book's design is elegant - all gold borders and smart, serif fonts. The photographs, naturally, are rich and beautifully evocative. I adore this quote from the introduction: 'Every single one of us - no matter the age or the gender or the sexual preference - owns a blue blazer.' - Lisa Birnbach, True Prep, 2010.
'A cultural history of the most important item of clothing a chap can own.' - Tatler.
Jack Carlson has represented the United States at the World Rowing Championships and raced for Oxford in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Races. He is currently a Clarendon Scholar at Oxford University. F.E. Castleberry is former director of concept design for Ralph Lauren Rugby. He runs the popular blog Unabashedly Prep.
Rowing Blazers by Jack Carlson, published by Thames & Hudson on 7th July at £34.95.