Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) has signed celebrity fashion designer Brandon Maxwell to become creative director for Free Assembly and Scoop, the retailer’s elevated fashion brands.
What Happened: Maxwell will oversee four seasonal collections annually for both brands, beginning with the Holiday 2021 collections before his full collections drop in spring 2022. Maxwell’s duties will encompass material selection, sourcing and production, as well as brand marketing initiatives and campaigns.
“Working with Walmart has long been a dream of mine,” said Maxwell in a press statement issued by the Bentonville, Arkansas-headquartered retailer. “Like many people across the country who live in a small town, Walmart was the destination for everything where I grew up in Texas, including clothing. This partnership allows me to bring the experience and joy of fashion to countless people who live in small towns across the country.”
Why It Happened: This collaboration is a first for Walmart’s private brand apparel business. Free Assembly, which Walmart described as “elevated style with a focus on thoughtful, simple design at an incredible value,” launched last fall, while Scoop, which launched in fall 2019, is defined as a brand to help “customers build their ‘Ultimate Closet’ at an affordable price.”
Maxwell also brings a high degree of Hollywood star power to Walmart. He is best known as Lady Gaga’s fashion director and his A-list clients include Academy Award-winners Viola Davis, Jane Fonda, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicole Kidman, plus former First Lady Michelle Obama, talk show icon Oprah Winfrey and Queen Rania of Jordan.
Interestingly, Maxwell’s initial input on behalf of Walmart is not red carpet-ready haute couture, but a line of face masks for maintaining coronavirus protection protocols, which goes on sale today. Walmart will also donate $100,000 to DonorsChoose.org, an education supply nonprofit selected by Maxwell.
(Photo of Brandon Maxwell courtesy of Walmart.)