Maxwell Osborne is anOnlyChild

On Maxwell Osborne’s first public runway of anOnlyChild SS23, an understanding of what it means to be an only child.

Kaja Andrić, Contributing Writer

Named by The New York Times as one of the “It” Boys of New York Fashion Week in 2014, designer Maxwell Osborne debuted the very first public runway of his fashion brand, anOnlyChild, at this year’s fall NYFW. Last year, the Spring/Summer 2022 show was exclusively for Osborne’s friends and family — cellphones were not permitted and only limited photographs were released.  

“It’s the first fashion week that’s been fully active since COVID and all that,” singer Brent Faiyaz commented, whose recent album “Wasteland” hit number one on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. “I’m just happy to be back outside.”

A portrait of Brent Faiyaz at anOnlyChild’s New York Fashion Week show. He is wearing sunglasses and is posing with his hand on his chin.
Brent Faiyaz sits front row at anOnlyChild’s SS23 NYFW show. (Manasa Gudavalli for WSN)

The show began with an extraterrestrial siren, upon which emerged a model in a gold, satin dress and trousers. Electronic beats mixed with horns led into the next two pieces, with black and green colors, which were, without doubt, a nod towards Osborne’s Jamaican heritage.

Some pieces were showstoppers: a short sleeve blazer and trouser set with a fantastic, yellow blouse jutting out. Some others were too lavish, an attempt to stray away from a familiar feel, like a silver, velvet, quarter-zip puffer and matching shorts set. Rapper and singer JID from J. Cole’s Dreamville Records begged to differ, mentioning that the metallic-silver combo was his favorite piece from the collection.

The vast majority of the entire runway show was filled with familiar elements for an only child. Small asides where models sat amid a set design included a book stack and a bike –– objects one could entertain themselves with when alone, sticking to anOnlyChild’s theme.  

“As an only child, you just make do with what you got,” Osborne said. “The fabrics we use are all deadstock fabrics, so it’s like the idea of an only child. If you don’t have siblings, you picked up two rocks or you had an invisible friend –– you entertained yourself. So here, we’re just entertaining ourselves with fabric and textiles.” 

Backstage, the models just hung out — standing, sitting or chatting among themselves. The makeup crew blew out a fabulous blonde mullet while brushing highlighter on long, outstretched limbs. 

“I’m actually very, very excited because this is a brand I’ve been wanting to walk for, for a minute,” Chris, a model with a cheeky smile said. “Max Osborne is a dear friend of mine. He’s mentored me in a lot of ways in fashion. Just for me to be in his second show, it’s almost like a fever dream.”

That’s the gist of it. You might be asking yourself, “Does it really matter if he’s an only child?” And it does. To recognize why it matters is to create lucidity and truth from one’s own experiences. What remained after the show was the feeling of being understood, of being the only ones who got it. It’s a communally understood love that I have since found only recreated on Osborne’s runway.

As Osborne writes in the show’s program, “Let’s lean into our longing. Let’s commit to this moment […] Let’s slow wine to the reason it means to be alive.”

Contact Kaja Andrić at [email protected]