Maxwell Murray wants you to dress for success, but also look and feel good while doing it
By: Sasha Wayman
While most 22-year-olds are just settling into adulthood (you know, renting their first apartment, navigating treacherous dating waters, nearing the precipice of an inevitable quarter life crisis- that sort of thing) Maxwell Murray is already well-situated into his third business. Upon meeting me on a sunny morning in the East Village, the Baltimore-native came adorned in his very own Practice Shirt, a modern and culturally rich rendition of the time-honored dress shirt. Retailing for $128 dollars, the Practice Shirt is comfortable, classic, and above all youthful.
While Murray describes his approach to business as “childlike,” there’s nothing immature about this ambitious Gen Zer. Taking notes from his early days as a student athlete, Murray approaches fashion just as he approaches business: head first.
The fashion industry is saturated with flamboyant designs made for virality, so… why dress shirts?
I really like dress shirts, and I saw a problem with them. I felt like dress shirts were stiff, uncomfortable, and a little too overly formal. So I wanted to make something business casual, yet versatile that you could wear under a suit, with some jeans, to work, or on a date. I'm not really trying to build a streetwear brand, but I am trying to build a workwear brand. So for me it's just about doing something that is very me, and putting it out like that more so than thinking about where fashion is or where fashion is going.
Tell me how your identity was utilized to shape The Practice Shirt into a modern rendition of the basic dress shirt.
Whether that's my dad being Black and my mom being from the Philippines, or me growing up as an athlete, or identifying as an entrepreneur, I feel like every part of my being is in this collection. I was very inspired by kimonos, and I wanted my dress shirts to resemble a piece of that. I felt like removing the normal fold-over collar was a big change that catapulted everything else. I wanted that to play a role in everything I'm creating.
So, who is The Practice Shirt for?
Honestly, I made it for me. The white dress shirt is a staple for every business wardrobe, man or woman, and I wanted to do the white dress shirt to the best of my ability. My fundamental belief is that if you have an idea, you can make it happen. So this is for anyone just making things happen and breathing life into the world.
What’s it like navigating the business world as a twenty-something?
I have this childlike wonder when it comes to business. One of the hardest parts of creating anything, whether that's a business or a brand, is just starting — you have to almost be delusional. If I knew how challenging it was to navigate the fashion industry before we started, if I had been in the fashion industry for ten years, I probably would have never done it. When you have that innocence towards the fact that you don't really care if you fail, then you don't care if you move fast and break things.
You’re just starting out, but do you have any tips on being a successful entrepreneur?
Your habits make a difference. All these little habits end up being what you do. You don't have to be a super straight arrow all the time. But there's something about the person who has built the right habits and can keep the vices to a low minimum. The more skills I build, the more I bring to the table. And, in a business sense, the more value I add to the marketplace. Business is a team sport. It's my job to gain as many skills as possible so that I can help the team win. You just have to practice.