McKell Maddox Fashion Design – SLUG Magazine

Utah is home to a community of talented fashion designers who span the gamut of forms, from minimalist contemporary pieces to avant-garde suits. On March 25, SLUG magazine celebrates its 28th birthday at The deposit with a fashion show. Each designer will show a look that coincides with a year from SLUGbetween 1989 and 2017. In SLUGIn the March issue of , we see four different local designers—Davis HongMcKell Maddox (McKell Maddox Fashion Design), Danny Nappi (Nappi Clothing) and Andrea Hansen (Pretty Macabre) – and their work, a taste of what’s to come at the show and what’s woven into the fabric of the Utah fashion community.


When we think of consistency, we don’t always think of diversity, color and excitement. But when asked about his designs, local designer McKell Maddox says that since a stint on Project track many years ago his style remained constant, but this “likeness” contains many influences. “I always like to dress the body,” Maddox says of her designs. “I love accentuating women’s curves with this 50s element. I like sexier stuff – deep cuts, things like that. It’s definitely loud. I use really bright colors and big prints bold or floral prints, and I’ve always had those elements, but she’s also picked up other elements besides those that you wouldn’t always associate with a 50s-inspired fitted waist. “I have a kind of bohemian element, where I like embroidery and painting. I’m really inspired by folk art…I love that artisanal touch to things like seams and buttons on a garment.

Ever since Maddox’s mother told her that people made clothes, she said, she wanted to design clothes. She spent her childhood painting her clothes, then learned to sew while studying at the Academy of Arts in San Francisco then on an internship at Jeremy Scott for a few seasons. Now Maddox says she mostly designs individual pieces for people (like the dresses that abound on her Instagram), a practice she says works for her “crazy method.” However, she says she prefers to make clothes that women can wear all the time, that will hang in their closets.

Maddox’s “method of madness” is fueled by unconventional design inspirations and processes. She says her inspirations don’t just come from the people she sees on the street but also from the songs or things she reads. “I know a lot of designers build a mood board and then they start drawing,” she says, “but I’ll get inspired by something, start doing it, then I’ll draw at the end. I feel like there’s so much more going on when you drape it. I think you get a much more cohesive look. Sometimes I throw something on the floor so I don’t forget. And this process, these inspirations, result in wild pieces: a red dress inspired by a song by pusciferous; an all-white leather fringe dress made for a rodeo queen; a motorcycle jacket painted with flowers.

Maddox isn’t currently in any local stores in town, but you can find his work on Instagram (@mckellmaddox) or at mckellmaddox.comand if you like what you see, you can contact her at [email protected] to start talking about what her crazy method can do for your wardrobe.

Joseph E. Golightly