Who Is Brandon Maxwell? New Details About The New 'Project Runway' Judge

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Brandon Maxwell? New Details About The New 'Project Runway' Judge

Project Runway is back and other than Nina Garcia, there are a bunch of new faces (and one familiar face) wandering the workroom and lining the runway. Host Heidi Klum has moved on and been replaced by model Karlie Kloss. Tim Gunn has been replaced by Project Runway alum Christian Siriano as the designers' mentor. Michael Kors is also gone. He has been replaced by fashion designer Brandon Maxwell. Maxwell is a fave of the celeb set and has dressed everyone from Meghan Markle to Lady Gaga. Who is Brandon Maxwell?

1. His beginnings

Brandon Maxwell was born in Longview, Texas in 1984. His grandmother worked at a local boutique and Maxwell often spent time there. As a kid, he would put together outfits and take photos of his friends wearing them. He moved to New York City in 2002 to study painting at Marymount Manhattan College. He transferred to St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas and graduated with a BA in Photo Communications. He returned to New York City after graduation to begin his career in fashion.

2. Early career

Maxwell got his start in the fashion industry as a stylist. In 2009 he was an assistant to Deborah Afshani. In 2010 he started working with Nicola Formichetti, Lady Gaga's stylist. In 2012, Maxwell became Lady Gaga's fashion director. Maxwell has styled for magazines including Harper's Bazaar, Elle, V, Teen Vogue, and Porter. He has also worked on ad campaigns for Uniqlo and Barney's New York. He was named one of the top 25 stylists of 2015 by The Hollywood Reporter. 

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3. Who has he dressed?

Besides Lady Gaga, Maxwell's designs have been worn by Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lawrence, Blake Lively, Thandie Newton,  Jane Fonda, Nicole Kidman, Karlie Kloss, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and Queen Raina of Jordan, among others. In July 2018, Maxwell made a splash when Meghan Markle wore a sleeveless Brandon Maxwell dress. 

4. Lady Gaga

Maxwell considers Lady Gaga one of his dearest friends and credits her with helping him launch his career. In fact, he dressed her for the Oscars this year! In an interview with Vanity Fair he said,  “I think she’s one of the most authentic, original, hardworking people, and one of the most loyal friends I’ve ever had in my life. . . . It just wouldn’t be possible for me without her."

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5. He is an ally to women

Maxwell goes out of his way to make his clothes easier for women. In a March 2017 interview in W, he said,“For a girl to get a dress off at the end of a night, pulling that zipper down by herself can be like a Cirque du Soleil act. What can I do to make that easier?” Thank God someone gets it — we've all practically dislocated a shoulder tryin to zip up or down a back zip dress! He also spoke to about the importance of diversity: "The most important thing for me to know, as the protective older sibling of a bunch of sisters, is that when a young girl in the middle of nowhere comes across an image of my collection on social media, that she sees someone like herself. Not just African-American, but also Indian, Asian, Hispanic."

Welcome to Project Runway Brandon Maxwell, we think you're going to fit in just fine!

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.