Jack Carlson





Find out little-known yet interesting facts about clothing through the words of discerning designers who have been creating
essential masterpieces for BEAMS PLUS collections.
The crucial new philosophy of BEAMS PLUS,
“Updating timeless classics for the future,” cannot be achieved without their wealth of knowledge.


Jack Carlson (Founder of ROWING BLAZERS)Born in Boston in 1987, Carlson graduated high school in his hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts, before going on to Georgetown University. He then enrolled in Oxford University in England and received the Ph.D. degree in archaeology. Besides studying, he won several gold medals at England’s renowned rowing races such as Henley Royal Regatta, while having been selected as a member of the U.S. national team for three times. After publishing ROWING BLAZERS, his book on the history of rowing blazers and clubs in various countries, in 2014, Carlson launched his own apparel brand, ROWING BLAZERS in 2017. So far, the brand has made blazers for prestigious rowing clubs, including over 200-year-old legendary Leander Club in England, along with some rugby clubs and the U.S. national regatta team.

A blazer used to be considered
so casual
that people treated
it as a symbol of rebellion.

“Although people now wear blazers regardless of region, age and gender, not many of them know that the origin of the garment traces back to rowing races. It was initially worn by members of university rowing teams, such as Oxford and Cambridge, during exercises and warm-ups. So, people reckoned the garment as a piece of casual clothes like a sweat hoodie or nylon jacket.”

“Because high-tech materials had not yet been invented, rowing blazers at that time had some characteristic features such as a three-button front and three patch pockets. They didn’t have shoulder pads, a lining and side vents. Vents were originally designed for riding. Blazers made around that time looked very simple but highly functional. For example, the wearers can prevent cold by standing the collars and lapels.”

“The colors of the original rowing blazers were varied, because each rowing club had its own color palette. Some jackets were designed more colorful with piping decoration. In that sense, it can be called as one of the first sports uniforms. The colors of the blazers also helped the audience distinguish teams by the colors of the crews’ jackets during a race. The Cambridge University squad, one of the most famous teams, was called the Lady Margaret Boat Club and the members used to sport crimson jackets. Looked like a raging blaze in it, they were later nicknamed ‘the Blazer’. And the name of the garment itself, blazer, is said to be derived from the byword.”

“While researching, I found that the word blazer was used in an 1852 newspaper article on the Lady Margaret Boat Club. It was actually the first recorded use of the word. I mean, it was initially used to particularly describe the Lady Margaret Boat Club in St. John’s College although the University of Cambridge had some other rowing clubs in each college. As the nickname had become widely known in the university, some members of Oxford University’s rowing clubs began to call their jackets as blazers.”

“At around the same time, those oarsmen started wearing their blazers not just for warm-ups, but also for various other occasions such as lunch-outs and parties. Although we now regard the garment as slightly formal outerwear, it was at first considered not just casual, but a symbol of rebellion. University professors of the time therefore took a dim view of their students wearing it on and outside campus. In the 1900s, Americans also began wearing blazers, and the garment became universally prevalent even among people who were not familiar with rowing, including classy gentlemen. Blazers were thus no longer only for oarsmen.”

“My brand ROWING BLAZERS puts a high value on the history and origin of the garment. We have been updating it for modern use with respect for the fundamental ideas and identity. Though some of our blazers are made from sweat fabric, the idea is not that outrageous because we designed it with inspiration from the fact that the garment was originally recognized as a casual piece of clothes. The cut and details of those blazers are authentic, preserving the original design.”

Item Info.
Sweat Blazer

Sweat Blazer
Size : 36 , 38 , 40 /
Price : ¥58,000 (+tax)

Shop Info.

The products shown in this article are
available at BEAMS PLUS stores.