According to Designer Brandon Maxwell, Spring's Top Fashion Trends Are All Available at Walmart
Brandon Maxwell's résumé is a long one. He's a talented fashion designer with a namesake label, has dressed everyone from Lady Gaga to Michelle Obama, and even serves as a judge on Project Runway. But somewhere on his vision board was another, perhaps slightly unexpected, goal he'd always hoped to achieve: working with Walmart.
"I had written down a bucket list for myself and being able to speak to someone at Walmart was on that list," he tells InStyle over the phone. "It's somewhere I shopped growing up, and it was always a dream of mine to be able to take what I've learned and give that back to communities like mine."
A year ago, he succeeded in making that dream come true, signing on as creative director for two of the company's elevated fashion brands, Free Assembly and Scoop. Now, just in time for Spring 2022, his first collections since taking on the role have arrived and are ready to shop in-store and online.
"My biggest job is really bringing unity and cohesion across all categories," he explains, adding that he works closely with Denise Incandela, who oversees Walmart's apparel brands as its executive vice president. "When I'm sitting down with the teams at the beginning of the collection, we may talk about a word, or a theme, or a general feeling that we want the customer to have in their experience with the clothing. Then, while design teams are sourcing the fabrics and sketching, I'm thinking about 'OK, how will all of this live together, ultimately? The story that we tell, the videos that we create, the images that we create — how can we carry that through to the finish line?' It's a multilayered job, and I enjoy all parts of it."
Like most of fashion design, Maxwell says this job is a true "team sport" and one of the biggest perks has been expanding his knowledge, discovering more about each brand's aesthetic and how he can add to it.
"Anything that I'm looking to do in my life is about learning and about growth, so the challenge of it was really exciting for me," he says.
When it comes to Free Assembly — a brand that caters to men, women, and children and focuses on mixing, matching, and layering — Spring 2022's offerings revolve around themes of joy and optimism.
"You'll see a lot what I describe as essential colors, patterns like stripe play or gingham, eyelet, these really comfy-cozy spring fleeces, colorblocking, and printed denim," he tells us. "There are things in there that, I feel, you will want to wear years from now."
Should you be perusing the Free Assembly racks, Maxwell recommends hitting up the jeans section, which will allow you to shop premium denim at a more affordable price.
"The denim and the knits are some of my favorites," he shares, noting that he wears the pieces himself. "I could go on and on, but there are these printed overalls for women, and a little short overall for girls that has these beautiful little printed flowers on it that I'm just obsessed with."
Prints, he says, are also a big factor for Scoop, which is described as more trend-focused and offers pieces that will enhance your wardrobe.
"I'm sure if you look at my brand, you know that I love leopard as well, which I think is a neutral," he tell us when talking about what to shop for Spring 2022. "There's a leopard print in there that is bright orange and pink, that I just fell in love with when we were coloring up prints."
Maxwell says Scoop's denim is a must-try, too. This time around, the collection includes everything from jumpsuits to dresses, which are alongside another seasonal essential, knit colorblocked dresses — a trend the designer says he's a huge fan of.
"I came in, and I remember the first week someone said to me, 'Wow, you really love colorblocking.' I do. I don't think there's any color that can't go together, why not? Dressing for me has always been a way to say to the world who you are. It's about making those bold choices. I hope that we've accomplished that in the design, and made something that everyone can feel good in."
As for what's to come in the future, Maxwell says it's all about expanding the brands and possibly bringing more accessories to the mix. "The total look is always really important," he explains — which is good news, since the extra-large bags from his Brandon Maxwell Fall 2022 collection happened to be a huge hit.
"The big bags were really exciting for me this season," he tells us about his latest collection, for which his grandparents were the source of inspiration. "When we got the first bag, I'm like, 'It needs to be five times bigger — it needs to be as big as their love. It needs to be really big.'"