Brandon Maxwell’s peers jockey for jobs in Paris and Milan. The Texas-born designer put Lady Gaga in five different outfits at the 2019 Met gala and our first lady-to-be Dr. Jill Biden in an emerald green shawl collar coatdress at the Democratic National Convention last August. He’s as eligible as any of his contemporaries for a plum posting in Europe, but to hear Maxwell tell it he’s always wanted a creative director gig closer to home—in Bentonville, Arkansas, to be exact, where Walmart is headquartered. Maxwell is the company’s new creative director for its elevated fashion brands Free Assembly and Scoop.
“This has been something I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” Maxwell said via a Zoom call from Austin, where he relocated in December to be close to his expecting sister. “You know, when I launched Brandon Maxwell the idea was to make beautiful clothing that made people feel good and this partnership really gives me the opportunity to do that on a larger scale. High-quality design that’s accessible to all is something that I feel really strongly about and I think everyone should be able to have access to how fashion can make you feel.”
Maxwell’s fashion makes people feel very good indeed. Few New York shows—back when there were shows—had a more vocal cheering section, and he’s famous for asking members of his team, and occasionally his mom or grandma, to take a victory lap with him. He spent his youth in his mother’s store, picking up people skills to match his exacting patternmaking, and purpose has been built into his brand since the start. One season he auctioned off show tickets to raise money for his home state, which had been hard hit by Hurricane Harvey; another he convinced his show sponsor to donate goods and funds to the school system in Marfa, Texas, where the gap between the locals and the art-loving out-of-towners is extreme.Vogue