Eleven years ago, Alec Maxwell quit his job at Issa — where he’d been working on lavish gowns for the likes of Kate Middleton and Beyoncé — to pursue his true passion; film-making.
Under the moniker Kloss Films, the Wirral native fused the worlds of fashion and film, working on video projects for mega brands including Dior and Louis Vuitton, taking in some fabulous friends along the way. His first book, Kloss The Community Album, is a document of the past five years and sees Maxwell collecting almost 250 selfies of huge celebrities, internet kids and fashion renegades, all bound together by one thing — the Kloss-branded phone pop socket. ‘I started handing them out to people I’d worked with, to friends and to people who reached out to me on Instagram,’ he says.
The first time Maxwell saw his pop socket in a selfie was when Angolan model Maria Borges shared a picture on social media. He was thrilled. ‘From that day I started screenshotting the images,’ he explains.
With 5,000 photos in his archive, Maxwell began planning a book (which he calls ‘a balance of voyeurism, curation and branding’) during lockdown, pulling together his favourite images featuring the Kloss name. The final product includes Maya Jama, Riccardo Tisci, Irina Shayk, writer Paris Lees and model, actress and founder of Black Disabled Creatives, Jillian Mercado. There’s also Maxwell’s long-time partner, Vogue editor Edward Enninful, as well as the couple’s Boston terrier, Ru. Maxwell’s muse, model Aweng Chuol, features more than once. ‘Every time she takes a picture, she’s a different character,’ he says. ‘I’m obsessed with her.’
With a refreshingly egalitarian vision of beauty in terms of gender, race, identity, shape and age, personalities leap off the pages of Kloss The Community Album. ‘It was always about people I felt a connection to, because of a certain something about them,’ enthuses Maxwell, who keeps a record of everyone he’s ever given a pop socket to (‘It’s not like I’m just giving them to anybody’).
However, fans of the Kloss vision will soon be able to join Maxwell’s world, when he launches his first Kloss merch drop with Browns on 23 July, which includes a special collaboration with Chuol. The pop sockets will never be for sale, but if you really want to be a part of the Kloss inner circle you could always reach out to Maxwell online and see if you make the cut. ‘They can just send me a message on Instagram,’ he says. ‘If there’s a connection, I’ll send them the Kloss for their phone.’