Fashion designer Brandon Maxwell and filmmaker Jessy Price began working together in 2005 after meeting as classmates in the photography department at St. Edward’s University in Austin. The couple live together in New York City, where Maxwell is creative director of the luxury women’s ready-to-wear label that bears his name as well as a judge on the new season of Project Runway. Price, who works as a screenwriter and film director after a run as a photo editor and producer for fashion publishing houses, has produced a series of films that showcase Maxwell’s clothes and muses—from Brandon’s grandmother in Longview to Houston socialite and philanthropist Lynn Wyatt.
Three takeaways from their joint appearance on the National Podcast of Texas:
1. Maxwell believes his eponymous brand is about much more than the clothes.
“I love the dresses, obviously, and I love working with the customers and the fashion shows. But ultimately what I’m really drawn to is creating an environment that accepts women and creates a safe space for her to feel good and feel her best. Because I think that that’s kind of what life is about.”
2. The fashion industry could be doing better by women.
Says Maxwell, “There are a lot of young women, and women of all ages, who I think would be better than what we have at running the companies and designing the clothes. I am fully in this because I was really raised and lifted up by women, and so I feel that my life should be an exercise in giving back to that because I’m so grateful for that opportunity.”
3. Price was conscious about how his 2018 documentary film Back to Dust—which focused on Brandon and his design team’s retreat in Marfa—might be perceived by locals in a city that often seems unnerved by the outsized attention and traffic it gets.
Says Price, “The time we spent allowed us to sit down with the people who work there and talk to them in a way that you wouldn’t be able to if you’re just popping through the galleries and doing the Instagram tour of the places people go to [for] some [social media] likes. I grew up in an underserved community, so I understand how that is already difficult. But when you have people who just have a lot of attention, a lot of money, a lot of things at their disposal, and they come in and sort of take the filet and leave the rest, without really engaging with the community, it’s a problem.”