Project Runway: Why Brandon Maxwell is the perfect choice to be a judge on fashion reality show
As much as you'll miss seeing Michael Kors on the judge's seat in the new season of 'Project Runway', you can rejoice on Brandon Maxwell's addition to the panel.
Not only because he's definitely all about inclusive fashion and loving women's bodies in all shapes, but also because he's a designer who's made it to the top on his own, and clearly, the view is spectacular.
From Meghan Markle to former First Lady Michelle Obama, Maxwell's designs have made adorned the most famous of bodies - and it makes perfect sense to pick him to lead a bunch of upcoming designers to success.
Born in the quiet town of Longview, Texas, on September 18, 1984, Brandon knew from a very young age that he was different.
Growing up in the conservative part of town, it would have probably been hard for anyone to develop an interest in fashion.
However, Brandon's grandmother worked at a boutique in Longview, where a young Brandon spent much of his time. In an interview in 2016, he said, "My grandmother was a buyer at a store for 20 years, up until I was out of high school. I went there pretty much every day after school and I really learned, I think, to be a stylist there because in Texas it's very full on. You'd go into the dressing room and my grandmother would have the bags and the jewelry and the shoes and the outfit picked out and laid out for the women. I really got to see what made them feel great and what they were insecure about. It was just like a high for me."
And he followed it to see where it led.
After graduating from college in Longview, Brandon moved to the Big Apple. He started working with Deborah Afshani in 2009 as an intern. At the time Afshani was doing projects with brands like W Magazine and Georgio Armani. Impressed by his potential, she started referring him to other people she knew - and Brandon's fashion dreams found its ruffles.
Afshani, who is insanely successful in the industry, has worked with stars like Emma Watson, Freida Pinto, Christina Hendricks, Lucy Liu, Glenn Close, Emma Stone, Meg Ryan, Brad Pitt, Alec Baldwin, and Robert Downey Jr, to name a few.
Brandon's next opportunity that would catapult him to fame came when he landed a job as an assistant to Nicola Formichetti, who connected him to frequent collaborator Lady Gaga.
Brandon clicked so well with Gaga, he ended up becoming her fashion director in just two years since he started with Formichetti.
The rest really is history. Gaga's success was inseparable from her unique style, and everyone wanted a piece of the man behind the dresses.
Since then, he's styled for magazines like Harper's Bazaar, ELLE, V, Teen Vogue, and Porter and has done campaigns for Barneys New York and Uniqlo.
He has styled icons like Karlie Kloss, Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman, Jane Fonda, Viola Davis, Queen Rania of Jordan, and Kerry Washington to name a few. So when in 2015, he launched his label Brandon Maxwell, in New York, he was already a force to be reckoned with.
With his eye for simplistic cuts, coupled with bold structure yet elegant style, it isn't hard to see why you'd love Brandon Maxwell's look.
It's isn't complicated or unwearable. His pieces are special enough to make you feel like a star but are not too complex like a puzzle. The thought behind every outfit is clear and Maxwell's cuts are clean - making the Maxwell woman sleek and stylish yet with an edge you can't explain.
He was recently named the 2018 Woolmark New York Semifinal Prize winner. He's also been awarded the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear back in 2016.
Maxwell's journey flourished quickly and knew how to sustain itself. He was a fashion outsider, quite like this season's mentor Christian Siriano, but he found a way to hold his ground - exactly what these young designers need to learn at this stage in their careers.
You may think Maxwell may not be as big a name to appear as a judge this season, but we will tell you that you're wrong - he is the perfect example of how to ace it in the cutthroat world of fashion based on sheer talent.
'Project Runway' returns with season 17 on Thursday, March 14 at 8 pm ET/PT.