What Lady Gaga Taught Designer Brandon Maxwell | Fast Company

What Lady Gaga Taught Designer Brandon Maxwell | Fast Company


(stylish music) – I struggle so much
now, running a business, and that’s the truth of the matter behind the smoke and the mirrors, is a lot of struggle
and hardship and pain, and also joy. But I learned so many things during that ten years of my life that I wasn’t public facing. I had so many heartbreaks, and I was fired on the spot, and you’re traveling very far, and you’re failing at your job, and then I had such
great joys and successes, and I really got to do that in a very quiet space where
nobody was watching me, and I think that that’s really important. One of the things I’m most
blessed to have in my life is the relationship with Gaga. After my second styling job, I’d gotten a job as Nicola
Formichetti’s assistant, who was her then-stylist, and obviously we’re all
part of a big family. I think that was probably in 2011. And that started an incredibly
beautiful journey in my life. Not only did we have a very longstanding and fruitful creative relationship, but more importantly, we had a very deep and
solid personal relationship, which I really think more than
anything I’ve done in my life has prepared me for where I’m
at today, for two reasons. One, because she is not
crafted by anyone but herself, and she makes her own decisions everyday. And whether people love
them or people hate them, she does them and makes
them with conviction. She wakes up every morning with a purpose, and I think that that is
so incredibly powerful. And under that pressure, with
that many people watching, she has always led with
grace and positivity, and more than anything, just pure talent. And so having that around
me was incredibly powerful and really prepared me
for where I am today. She really pushed me out to do
it and told me that I could. The only time I was ever
alone when I dressed somebody was Michelle Obama, and I was in another country
by myself in a hotel room, and I would ask so many people, like, do you guys have C-SPAN,
like, is there C-SPAN here? And I didn’t speak the
language, and nobody had C-SPAN. And finally, somebody
had a TV that I went, and I did sit in that room by myself, and I’m getting emotional
thinking about it now, just watching her walk
out of the White House and was thinking of my family, and like, just to be part of an
American moment in that way is more than I could have ever dreamed of, so I still get chills thinking about it, just thinking like, I wonder if my parents
are watching right now and like how they feel about that, so it was a great moment for me. Being on this television
show is so important for me, and I think I seem so
emotionally charged on the show and like, very serious, because I want it so bad
for the kids that are on it, you know? These people that want this opportunity, and I know what it’s like, and I get obviously very
emotionally worked up because I want to prepare them. I also am very in the thick of it, so I want to tell them really
truly what’s going to happen, because I think one
thing that I didn’t have going into this in a super naive way was somebody to say, this is kind of what it will be like. And so, at every turn, I was surprised. Nobody tells young people about business. That is crucial, because I was like, oh I’m gonna be in here
making dresses every day, it’s gonna be so inspiring. And it is sometimes, but sometimes before I
make the dress at 5:00, from like nine a.m. to 4:30, I’m in a meeting about how much
it cost to make that dress, and there are real sort
of results to your work. And that’s just the truth of
adulthood in any business, and so I’ve really tried to lean into that and learn more about that. I wouldn’t say I’m great at it, but I am definitely very
well versed in the business because I think you have to be, because it’s in the intersection
of art and commerce, and I don’t get to make the
dresses if I can’t pay for them. Leading is really about being inside, in the thick of it,
holding hands with everyone and making sure that the
people that you’re working with feel like your successes
are their successes, ’cause that’s the truth of the matter. I walk out with my entire team at the end of the runway show, and it’s not just me, because that would be a lie, because I’m filming a TV show, I’m flying here, there, and everywhere, and I’m in here a lot, but they’re in here every day. That is, I think, how most
businesses should run. That’s the truth of fashion. Everybody’s in there
just working every day just trying to make it happen. I guess I’m a leader by default, you know, ’cause my name is on the door. But I often times feel like
somebody who just works here.


One thought on “What Lady Gaga Taught Designer Brandon Maxwell | Fast Company

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *