Designer Brandon Maxwell Shares Sweet Sentiment Behind Dr. Jill Biden's People Cover Dress: 'Gratitude'

Fashion designer Brandon Maxwell shared a heartwarming note on social media after seeing First Lady Dr. Jill Biden wearing one of his designs on the cover of this week's issue of PEOPLE.

For President Joe Biden, 78, and his wife's first White House interview since being sworn into office on Jan. 20, Dr. Biden, 68, chose a fuchsia wool crepe midi dress from the American designer (a similar style has sold out on Net-a-Porter). When Maxwell saw the new first lady gracing the cover of PEOPLE in his design, he felt an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia and "gratitude."

"I think everyone has a publication that defined their childhood, and growing up in a small town, pre-internet and social media, PEOPLE was mine," Maxwell, 36, wrote on Instagram. "Because it was always available at the check out counter, I would slide a copy into my parent's grocery cart and pour over the pages when I got home, learning about who and what was happening in the world outside my county lines. They always ran great specials on what the stars in Hollywood were wearing, and they mixed those moments with human stories, too. I dreamed a lot about what my life could be like when reading those pages."

As Maxwell began working as a stylist and later a fashion designer in New York City, he said "people that I worked with would ask me what my biggest goals were." His answer was always the same: "Time and time again I have replied that to see my work in PEOPLE magazine would mean a great deal."

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He continued: "I'm home in Texas now, and as I left the grocery store last night with a new issue of PEOPLE, I couldn't have imagined that I would wake up this morning to see the First Lady of the United States wearing our dress on the new cover. Surprise, excitement and gratitude would be understatements."

Dr. Biden, who continues to highlight American labels like Markarian, Jonathan Cohen and Christian Siriano, wore Maxwell's elegant design on Jan. 21 for her first full day as first lady. She was photographed wearing the dress to a remote prayer service at the National Cathedral (complete with a matching face covering) and to hold an online conversation with 11,000 educators across the country.

Maxwell only launched his line in 2015, but his streamlined silhouettes quickly become favorites for many women in Hollywood and politics, including Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle and more. 

One of the Texas native's proudest moments was when he dressed former First Lady Michelle Obama for her appearance at the 2016 State Dinner. "To have her wearing that was not about the dress, it was about being a part of someone's life who has impacted my life and so many other young people's lives," he previously told PEOPLE.

Maxwell broke into the industry thanks to help from mentors like British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful, which led him to a gig assisting the stylist for Lady Gaga.

Eventually, he became her lead stylist and remained in the position for several years (even styling her infamous VMAs meat dress!). Now he's helping other aspiring designers get their start as a judge on Bravo's Project Runway.

"It's about trying to clear a path for other people to make it less difficult for them. I was someone who had no knowledge of this industry at all, no connections, nothing. I was just waking up every day being like, I will do anything to make it happen," Maxwell said.

"I'm learning every single day," he continued. "Sometimes you feel like you're in the struggle for so long. And you just have these moments that are euphoric that bring you back to it."

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