‘Everything I do creatively is part of my own universe that I create in my head.’
Story and photos by Reid Neureiter
For the GPHN
The word “clothes” is inadequate to describe the creations of Maxwell Bresler.
Bresler, 19, grew up in Park Hill. When he was 15, the brother of a friend was making hoodies. Bresler was fascinated. He borrowed a sewing machine from a neighbor who happened to be a master seamstress. He taught himself to sew, and has been designing ever since.
Currently a sophomore at Columbia College in Chicago, Bresler’s colorful three-dimensional objects look like wearable sculptures – some sprout pointy protuberances, like the fins of a stegosaur, or have the sharp spikes of an insect. Others are straight from outer space.
On Saturday, Nov. 16, Bresler had his first runaway show. It was a coveted slot during Denver Fashion Week’s National & International Designers program at the McNichols Civic Center building downtown.
In advance of the debut, the Greater Park Hill News caught up with Bresler, to ask about his artistic vision and his creations. (And yes, in case you were wondering, Maxwell is part of the Bresler family that was honored in October for creating and building Park Hill’s annual 4th of July Parade.)
GPHN: Where do you get your ideas?
Bresler: When I design clothes, I try to pull everything from my imagination. I have always looked up to people that create their own fantasy and sci-fi universes. Everything I do creatively is part of my own universe that I create in my head. The clothes are the garments worn by different beings across the galaxy. I really like to experiment when I create. I don’t like to put limitations on myself, and approach every project with the mindset of “this can be whatever I want.” This outlook allows me to create in depth conceptual projects. Everything I do is a lot deeper than just fashion. My goal is to create my own genre of fine art that merges fashion, sculpture, costume, film, and much more. I really like to experiment when I create.
GPHN: Your work has been described as “a sculpture-based approach to fashion that uses volume, shape and unconventional construction.” Is that how you would describe it?
Bresler: When looking at my work from a fashion perspective, that would be an amazing way to describe it. I started making clothes at 15, and had no one to guide me. Having to teach myself everything gave me a unique approach to fashion, because I did not know the design basics. This allowed me to experiment, and create my own way of making clothes. As I progressed, and learned the actual design process from pattern to finished garment, I combined the industry methods with my own self-taught methods, resulting in an individualistic approach to design.
GPHN: How did you come to be awarded one of the coveted spots in the Denver Fashion Week show?
Bresler: Denver Fashion Week reached out to me and asked me to do the show. I immediately said yes. It was very important to me that my first official runway show was in Denver. I don’t let my age limit me. I have been designing for almost five years now, and even though I am 19, I just like to look at it as having a head start.
GPHN: Your collection is called “Electro-Pop Space Club.” How would you describe the collection to someone who wasn’t able to attend the show?
Bresler: “Electro-Pop Space Club” is a conceptual idea I came up with for the foundation of the collection. The Electro-Pop Space Club is an intergalactic club floating in the middle of space. Here, you can find princesses, war heroes from varying planets, space pilots, and every conceivable alien species. The club is known for the expressive, colorful, and eye-catching [designs] its attendees wear. The collection is the garments seen on some of the Electro-Pop Space Club goers.
GPHN: Your clothes have been worn by alternative singer-songwriter Billie Eilish. What is it like designing for a celebrity?
Bresler: Designing for her was an amazing business opportunity. However, I don’t like that people constantly relate me to her. I have so much more to offer than who wears my clothes. I wish people could look past the hype into the complexity of my art. It really bothers me that so much of success in the digital world revolves around what celebrities wear what clothes. None of that really matters to me. My work is so much deeper than just success. It’s really personal because it’s my imagination come to life. Every piece writhes with emotion.
GPHN: When one thinks of cutting-edge fashion, New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Milan come to mind, and usually not Park Hill. Is there anything about being from Colorado that allows you to think a little differently about fashion?
Bresler: Growing up, I used to hate Colorado. I felt stuck, and dreamed of living the fashion life in New York, or LA. However, as I have grown and matured, I have developed a strong love and appreciation for Denver. Growing up in Denver sculpted the person I am today. No other city could have done that. Denver is such a special and amazing city. I think it makes my story more unique, coming from a place that is not thought of as a “Fashion City.”
GPHN: One of the collections on your website is called “Sonic Teenagers,” which you describe as “the ostracized subculture of an alternate future” and wear unique, colorful clothing. Do you see yourself in the Sonic Teenagers?
Bresler: “Sonic Teenagers” was another conceptual idea I had. Although it doesn’t really directly reflect who I am, a big part of the idea behind this mini collection comes from my deeply rooted feeling of being ostracized. I’m always the outsider, no matter where I go. It used to bother me, but now I feel like it is a part of who I am. Not fitting in anywhere just means that you are anomalous.
GPHN: Do you have any advice for young people who might be interested in the fashion world as a career?
Bresler: I see too many kids these days trying to do fashion design just for the image that comes with it. I think that is stupid. My advice for anyone who is interested in fashion design for a career is: don’t do it unless you really, truly love it. It is impossible to create true art without a flaming passion. Along with that, if you really want to go into design, work every day at it to make sure your craft is perfect. Mediocrity is boring and unacceptable.
Check out more of Bresler’s work at his website, MaxwellBresler.com