Jack Carlson, the archaeologist and founder of the young menswear line Rowing Blazers, has been wearing rugby shirts since he was a kid. And while his label turns out no shortage of its namesake preppy jackets, rugby shirts have been a big part of his offering since day one.
“They’re really important to me, personally,” he said in an interview with Men’s Journal. “It’s always been part of my uniform. If you look through old photo albums of when I was a kid, chances are I’ll probably be wearing a rubgy shirt in one of them.”
So when J.Crew reached out to Carlson and asked him to make a limited-edition rugby shirt to coincide with the re-release of the retailer’s much-loved heritage model, originally released in 1983, he was immediately on board.
While you can find a steady supply of the heritage shirts on jcrew.com, the Rowing Blazers model is limited to just 100 of each of the three styles you’ll find online. Each of them is emblazoned with the words, “With a Fine Disregard for the Rules,” a line from a story that’s meant a great deal to Carlson since he started his line. As legend has it, a Rugby School student named William Webb Ellis invented the game of rugby when he caught a soccer ball in his hands and started running with it. The story has since been disproven, but the facts didn’t stop the school from installing a plaque in Ellis’s honor, that reads:
COMMEMORATES THE EXPLOIT OF
WILLIAM WEBB ELLIS
WHO WITH A FINE DISREGARD FOR THE RULES OF FOOTBALL
AS PLAYED IN HIS TIME
FIRST TOOK THE BALL IN HIS ARMS AND RAN WITH IT
THUS ORIGINATING THE DISTINCTIVE FEATURE OF
THE RUGBY GAME
“There’s an extent to which I think that fits with J.Crew’s vibe as well,” Carson said. “They wanted to do something very heritage oriented. What could be more heritage than going back to the origin?”
You can snap up one of the shirts below—but if you miss out, don’t worry. J.Crew’s Heritage rugby shirts aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
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