Brandon Maxwell launched his eponymous brand at New York Fashion Week four years ago. He is currently a judge on Project Runway.
Essentially, I started self isolating almost three weeks ago, just after the fall 2020 show, as the situation in the news looked like it was progressing. In our business, there are so many people traveling back and forth around the world, and the biggest thing that has stood out to me is being cautious that something you may have and not know you have can be spread to someone else with a less healthy immune system or is at an at-risk age. I went out one time at the beginning of last week for a photo shoot, and I did Watch What Happens Live with no studio audience.
About two weeks ago, we offered the office the option to work from home, and we fully transitioned to everyone working from home last week. What that meant for me was bringing everything to my house, every possible fabric, trim, button, zipper, and mood board. I’m very fortunate to have a second living room, so I’ve taken all the furniture out of that second living room and built my own studio in there with the body form and rolls of fabric. The silver lining, if there is one, is that I don’t get a ton of alone time and it has been a couple of seasons since I’ve really been able to work with my hands. The first couple of collections, I did everything, I draped every single piece by hand. As the collection has grown and the business has grown, I’ve been less able to do that, so it has been a little bit of a return to form for me, in a way. Obviously, it’s never good to get to do something positive in your life when other people are not doing well, but I’m trying to remain positive.
My main focus through all of this is going to be my team and keeping everyone employed, number one, and making sure everyone is feeling healthy, mentally and physically. We figured out ways for the seamstresses to have their sewing machines delivered to their homes. We bought new pattern tables for all of the patternmakers to work from home. We bought computers or technology for anyone that did not have it that needed to work from home, and we advised that everybody take their self-isolation very seriously. Right now, we’re in a transition period with production shipping the spring collection.
One thing we don’t talk about a lot is the community of fashion. I think so many people see the glamour of the fashion industry, but there are a lot of hard times—all the time! All of my friends in this industry rally together so often. I’ve just kept reiterating to my team, and they’ve reiterated to me, that there is nothing that we can’t get through together. “Stronger together” is really our motto right now.
I think that that is the only way that we’re going to get through this is if we are thinking about each other because at the end of the day, whatever happens with business, whatever happens with our industry, we’re still people. For some reason, I’m feeling very optimistic right now and hopeful more than anything that we’re going to find a way as an industry and a community to come together.