At 35 years vintage, luxury designer Brandon Maxwell already has many prestigious accolades underneath his belt, such as the 2016 CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear and the 2016 Fashion Group International Rising Star Award for the identical class. But when we met in New York City in early spring, it became clear that Maxwell — who is sporting an elegant, all-black healthy with ambitious, colorful footwear — thinks of himself as an everyday guy.
Before this shoot, the fashion designer straight away greets me with a warm hug and a massive smile instead of the standard handshake. Then, he courteously introduces himself to me and asks how my day goes earlier than I had the chance to ask him something at all. As we sit down to start our verbal exchange, Maxwell’s laid-lower back vibe, type nature, and humility nearly make me overlook that the character sitting earlier than I had dressed a number of the most influential women of all time, specifically Oprah, Meghan Markle, and Michelle Obama. But he’s not wrapped up in their fame. “I’m in reality drawn to girls who’re looking to make a difference,” he tells Bustle, at the same time as sipping a Diet Coke. “Whether it’s in a small way, inside the way that they could, or in a large way.”
Maxwell himself is making quite a difference within the world as properly. Beyond just growing certainly inclusive runway indicates and having curvy, ladies of color — a collection it really is long shunned from the mainstream style global — like Octavia Spencer, Maxwell has long used his platform as his muses to inspire empathy, honesty, and kindness. While they will seem easy to embrace, these tendencies have arguably turn out to be a rarity in an international in which compassion has regularly been replaced with reduce-throat cancel culture, specifically in an industry as harsh as fashion. However, the craftsman hasn’t felt the want to be cruel with the intention to make his way to the pinnacle — and it is possibly because he is the type of designer who’s now not worried about centering his work around himself or his ego. Instead, his precedence has always been to make women feel they’re excellent.
Born in Longview, Texas, inside the mid-’80s, several Maxwell’s earliest recollections are of perusing his grandmother’s garb boutique as a young infant. “I actually grew up under an apparel rack,” he remembers. But while a child, these precious moments have been now not ones the then destiny designer took as a right. When his grandmother would put together clothes to get dressed her clients, Maxwell might carefully examine her every move — noting what objects she might fit with a selected pair of shoes or a particular kind of accent. “I genuinely learned how to be a stylist in that surroundings,” the fashion designer says.
As he grew older, he started to place these learnings to practice, using one of his sisters as his first muse. “I could strip my determine’s mattress in their sheets and feature her stand there and drape attire on her,” he remembers, including that he, in the end, might move directly to assist all of his sisters to get geared up for college in the morning. “I cherished that moment of making anyone’s sense visible and unique.”
Maxwell identified that he had an innate preference to work in fashion, which led him to transport to New York City for college in 2003; however, he quickly needed to go back to Texas. “I didn’t do very well in school, so my mother and father made me go back home,” he says, giggling. But after graduating at the dean’s list the second one time around — while he completed the photography program at St. Edward’s University in Austin — Maxwell returned to New York in 2009, eager to chase his lifelong dream.
Maxwell quickly dove into editorial styling paintings once he arrived, landing his first gigs with enterprise veterans Deborah Afshani, Edward Enninful, and Nicola Formichetti. But although the Texas native did not advantage of any formal layout training during this time, it became Formichetti who might encourage Maxwell to start his personal women’s luxury line, which would take his career to new heights.
When the eponymous logo got here to fruition in 2015, Maxwell’s perennial designs, which debuted at the spring 2016 New York Fashion Week, right away captivated the fashion international; with Vogue writing that his first collection “sincerely nailed it.” But the inflow of reward, at the same time as well-deserved, changed into still surreal to Maxwell. “I actually suffered from imposter syndrome,” he admits. “It all [happened] very rapidly.” But notwithstanding his rapid upward push to achievement, he additionally wants to make it fully clear that he is not without imperfections. “I am extremely mistaken,” he admits. “I even have days which might be a success, and I have days that are huge screw-ups — and those are each pleasant.”