Brandon Maxwell Named Creative Director for Two Walmart Brands

Discussion in 'Designers and Collections' started by Benn98, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    Via Vogue:

    Brandon Maxwell Is Walmart’s New Creative Director for Its Elevated Fashion Brands


    BY NICOLE PHELPS
    March 16, 2021
    [​IMG]
    Brandon MaxwellPhoto: Courtesy of Walmart

    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.

    He said Walmart’s commitment to giving back was part of the new gig’s allure. Their first project as partners is a new line of face masks debuting today, the launch of which coincides with Walmart’s $100,000 donation to DonorsChoose.org, a charity Maxwell selected for its dedication to helping public school teachers get much-needed funding for supplies and experiences. “Education has been really important to my brand—and in my life personally, my sister’s an educator,” the designer said. “It’s certainly been a challenging year for everyone, and educators are no exception. Making clothes that help people to feel their best and also giving back is really the most fashionable thing that we can do.”

    Maxwell’s conversations with Walmart began a year and a half ago when a mutual friend set up a lunch between him and Denise Incandela, the company’s executive vice president for apparel and private brands. “We started talking and I expressed—as I had with my friends and family for years—how passionate I felt about what we’ll be doing,” Maxwell said. “By and large you can always get to a Walmart, and to be able to bring fashion to so many different people is what I’ve always wanted to do. I was excited to hear from Denise that passion is a big priority for Walmart, also.” Incandela, for her part, calls Maxwell a “powerhouse.”

    Spring 2022 will be Maxwell’s first full season at Walmart, though he said that he’s been able to “influence” the holiday offerings behind the scenes. He’ll design four seasonal collections a year for the trend-driven Scoop brand and the more essentials-oriented Free Assembly. As for his fall 2021 Brandon Maxwell collection, he says that’s coming soon: “My sister’s never missed a moment in my life. She has cheered for me for every single thing, and I wanted to be here for her, just as much as she’s been here for me.” Maxwell decorated her nursery for her while he was in town. What does his sister think of his new job? “It’s not just my sister,” he said. “My core group of friends and family all feel it was the natural choice for me.”
     
  2. YohjiAddict

    YohjiAddict Well-Known Member

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    Trash begets trash...but now in a massive scale!
     
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  3. Salvatore

    Salvatore Wanderlust

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    Get that money ... I guess ? :unsure:
     
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  4. fakeawake

    fakeawake Well-Known Member

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    great news now he can leave us alone. when walmart cans him he wont be able to get a job at usps.
     
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  5. perhydrol

    perhydrol Well-Known Member

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    The right man in the right place. I believe he just needs some cash, but let's be honest, he wouldn't get any serious job. He's not talented enough to be hired by a big brand or a heritage house.
     
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  6. GERGIN

    GERGIN Well-Known Member

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    This is hilarious news...couldn’t even get Target :lol:
     
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  7. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    “My core group of friends and family all feel it was the natural choice for me” - I'd seriously consider reassessing my 'core friends and family' if I were him.

    Also, love how he's trying to spin it as 'i want to make high fashion accessible to lower-income Walmart shoppers'......you're not high fashion to begin with. So....
     
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  8. Yasouss

    Yasouss Active Member

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    Walmart fashion is an oxymoron.

    I am also not sure who this is directed at? I really doubt the average Walmart shopper knows who he is, or cares enough to spend more money to be associated with his name.

    Good for him for getting money though.
     
  9. Kimihiro

    Kimihiro Member

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    Quite risky. Won’t this devalue his brand and affect his future prospects? To be fair though I never saw him in a European house.
     
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  10. JohannesL

    JohannesL Well-Known Member

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    NYFW designers cannot do good for mass market and Maxwell will be no exception. I don't understand the strategy behind those choices and I really doubt about Walmart customers would care about him. IMO, I think Americans should learn from the Japanese about how to do mass market fashion, which is good-quality and reasonable-price trendy items at its core!
     
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  11. Phuel

    Phuel Well-Known Member

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    ^^^ Middle-America just want the cheapest. The Japanese business-model of quality + affordability is not applicable to the American business-model with Walmart.

    It’s not only out of financial necessity but rather frugality that a huge population of middle-America shops at Walmart. There’s a whole, wide, middle-America where Walmart is just a part of life—and they’re not all low-incomer. The rest of the world only sees “people of Walmart”. But, this most profitable and most wealthy of corporate entity didn’t become this way by selling only to low-income shoppers. However, I can’t see them selling even a $300USD dress/coat/jacket since these people are extremely frugal even if they may have money. And on a more pragmatic note, even his signature brand isn’t exactly high-end in terms of branding, more along the lines of JC Penny’s version of “higher-end”. And a Walmart “higher-end” line ($200USD and under?), would be successful in attracting their more affluent customer that shops at Walmart for everything but clothing— alongside a budget-line in his aesthetic, for the typical “Walmart shopper”. It will be what +J is for Uniqlo.

    So more power to him cuz I'm sure his salary will be bank. Now hopefully Adidas/Nike hires Kerby; Target snatches up Christopher John; Victoria’s Secret/Party City offers LaQuan a deal he can’t refuse, and we’ll finally be spared from their reductive cheapness come every Season.
     
  12. fakeawake

    fakeawake Well-Known Member

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    i literally owned a walmart hoodie bc I was going to go fishing in the Louisiana bayou and baby that's literally the only thing that is acceptable. Everyone was in walmart bc what else are you going to wear getting swordfish blood on you? Even nike is too good. Then these guys went and got in their 100k Ford pickup.

    You're talking about the "Salt Life" millionaires which is a very non materialistic lifestyle and uniquely American. Most millionaires with Yachts want to show off, the ones in middle america just want to cruise with a beer and their family. It's a wholly different lifestyle that I think most fashion people have disdain for and don't understand fully. I mean what is more old money than being not materialistic. He is from Texas so he may know exactly how to appeal to this customer base. These people do have long money but they only spend it on trucks, land, boats and guns. They don't see value in jewelry and clothes. Ive seen ladies in multi million dollar beachfront Alabama homes with multi million dollar interiors (bc they will pay top dollar for comfort) wearing her Tevas flipflops and jean shorts with a tie dye walmart top. These people are all about discreet lifestyle which TBH I am all about too.

    Anyway I predict a flop unless Brandon manages something here.
     
    #12 fakeawake, Mar 21, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2021
  13. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    LOL, that won't happen though. It will only mean that they'll have more money on hand to invest into their brands directly without having to look for sponsors. So ultimately.....just more Brandon Maxwell. Maybe a perfume, maybe a beauty line, maybe some collabs. Purely speculation, but I'm sure Marc Jacobs is his standard, his ideal. All American indie brands want to be Marc Jacobs.
     
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  14. Joromana

    Joromana Active Member

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    Walmart is probably paying him an immense salary for this.

    We all laugh at it but.... pretty sure he’s pulling in bigger bucks than we are. There’s no way he would’ve made it to a European house and his brand wouldn’t have lasted very long in NY. It’s a smart choice for him.
     
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  15. Lola701

    Lola701 Well-Known Member

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    Good for him.
    The heritage of American Fashion is not rooted in HF or luxury and so it makes totally sense to me.

    What are the real luxury or HF major brands of American fashion today? Thom Browne, Tom Ford and Rick Owens. I want to add The Row but I think there’s a big gap with those 3 in terms of size...

    From Marc Jacobs to Ralph Lauren, most of the brands are really about that department store/ mall aesthetic.

    I even think it’s a pity department stores never did exclusive collections with those designers. It would have helped their relevance.

    This may not have the cachet of a Topshop, Uniqlo or even Monoprix but the check is good I guess.
     
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  16. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    ^True about the department store/mall aesthetic. See also Kors.
    I feel like Halston was the one who really set the standard by doing these collabs to court a more accessible, affordable audience. And that worked fine because he was established and sought-after at the time.
    I'm just wondering if this partnership will be a success because I wouldn't think Brandon Maxwell is established enough, high-fashion or otherwise. It's not like if Tom Ford would be doing Walmart. At least with Tom, his name is associated with uber-luxury, it conjures up an image. Glossy, luxe, faintly sexy etc etc. Even for non-fashion folk. What does the name 'Brandon Maxwell' mean? You can say 'Lady Gaga's designer' a thousand times over but I doubt it will mean anything to the Walmart shopper because they still wouldn't be able to picture his aesthetic. Salt Life millionaires or not.
     
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  17. Lola701

    Lola701 Well-Known Member

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    Tbh, I see him work more like a consultant than an actual designer...Given that his clothes aren’t really designed but styled, I think he will give that stamp of approval from « CFDA womenswear designer » to really basic clothes. He should hire Carlyne for the campaigns and the visual because we all know she is the one who actually make it all look presentable.

    Tbh, I’m actually surprised that they did not hired Christian Siriano. His brand of fashion is really about dressing everybody (even if it looks kinda cheap) and he is not afraid to indulge in that side of commercialism. Maybe it’s that glamorous touch in basic sportswear that made them choose Brandon.
     
  18. Sai

    Sai Member

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    his work belongs at Walmart
     
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  19. Phuel

    Phuel Well-Known Member

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    Yes. And Walmart will be better for it.

    The (multi-)millionaires in their Ford F-450 Supers aren't suddenly going to be cueing line for Brandon’s premiere drop at Walmart LOOL

    Wonder if his CD role will also cover the international banners as well— or is it just for the US…??? If it's just America, his sensibility— and he always gave the impression that he wants a Tommy Hilfiger empire more than he wishes to be the next Halston or designing for Chanel anyway, is a possible success for Walmart if their shopper that may have never bothered with the “clothing” section before will show interest now. Because that’s a lot of “shoppers” just in the US alone, if he can get them interested.

    Other than hyping him as the “designer” that dressed The First Lady and America’s new Barbra Streisand— Gaga, marketing doesn’t need to sell his namesake brand at all, because as you've mentioned, the targeted demographic is not going to be impressed by his NYFW history. And not shading anyone when I say that his design aesthetic that doesn’t work as a high fashion standard does work as a middle-America’s consumer ideal of “high fashion”. So I hope it works out for him. I honestly couldn’t care less about his signature brand nor find him unbearable in any way, so it does honestly seem like a good fit for who he will be designing for. It’s not a ridiculously stupid business blunder like when JC Penney hired Apple’s retail chief executive Ron Johnson to rebrand their company and in the process lost their entire old customer-base that felt insulted and rejected by the rebranding to the point where JC Penney had to issue a public apology to these customers.

    (Brandon will likely just let his own line quietly dissolve if his role at Walmart is an immediate financial success. Conglomerates won’t invest in nurturing anyone, so he’ll need to adapt to the Walmart business culture. He does seem like someone who will assimilate easily rather than say-- Hedi at Walmart…)
     
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  20. lucy92

    lucy92 Mod Squad Team Leader

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    I own a few Brandon Maxwell pieces. Both pieces have impeccable cutting and form and are made out of very good materials that few other brands replicate.

    I don't see the Walmart job as working well for him. Firstly, he's known for most of his pieces being solid color. His signature design skills - form and fabric can't really translate if working for a conglomerate that only values pinching pennies. How create can he get if the items average for under $20?

    He would have been much better off going to Macys and pushing for his own house brand there. Missed opportunity.
     
    GERGIN likes this.

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