These days, designer collaborations are hardly surprising. That said, when it was announced on Tuesday that Walmart tapped New York-based designer Brandon Maxwell, the news was unexpected. According to a press release, Maxwell won’t just be partnering with the American conglomerate on a temporary basis, either. Rather, he’s now the creative director of two of the company’s in-house brands Free Assembly and Scoop.
Though we didn’t see it coming, a partnership between the high-fashion brand — known for dressing Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Meghan Markle, and more — and the affordable big-box store came about organically. A Longview, Texas native, Maxwell’s been a regular at Walmart since childhood. “Like many people across the country who live in a small town, Walmart was the destination for everything where I grew up, including clothing,” the designer said in the press release. Because of that “working with Walmart has long been a dream of [his].”
While speaking to Refinery29 in 2019, Maxwell said that he wasn’t surrounded by designer clothing growing up, which, in part, led to him not feeling “good enough or acceptable for people in this industry.” With this in mind, the collaboration with Walmart is meant for anyone who loves clothes but doesn’t necessarily feel included by the industry. “This partnership allows me to bring the experience and joy of fashion to countless people who live in small towns across the country,” he said. “That is, after all, the most fashionable thing we can do.”
The partnership will include four seasonal collections per year for both brands — Free Assembly being the more understated and simple of the two, while Scoop more trend-forward — starting with a holiday 2021 drop, the likes of which typically arrive in fall. But if you can’t imagine waiting that long, the designer also released a line of fashionable face masks for the company, which is available now. To mark the news, Walmart is also donating $100,000 to DonorsChoose.org, an organization that provides funds for public school teachers, which Maxwell selected as his charity of choice.
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