I first met David Maxwell at Five Watt Coffee. Dressed in black from head to toe, he immediately caught my attention. I remarked his knee length windbreaker and long pendant necklaces. A wide brimmed fedora hid his face as he worked, and shameless curiosity kept my eyes glued in his direction. I imagined he was an artist—his look felt conscious, intentional.

Today, David and I meet for drinks at Common Roots in Uptown. With Surly Pentagram in hand, we move to the patio and claim seats in the corner, under creeping vines and a grey blue sky. David withstands the strange summer cold in a leather jacket decorated with prominent, gold embellishments. He holds onto his drink as if 50-some degrees doesn't bother him.

David was born in Togo, on the West coast of Africa, and spent his youth moving around France with his family. Although his roots lie overseas, David decided to settle down in Minnesota after he graduated from University of Northwestern in 2014. David explains that he appreciates the youthful, close-knit community he's found in Minneapolis. "People here are inherently nice, and I love the city's sneakerhead and hipster vibe."

David's style is unexpected—it often draws stares. I ask him if he thinks moving around has helped him to define his bold attire. His response: “I have always been a big fan of understanding aesthetics—the way I dress and others dress, interior design…. I’m meticulous about how things on and around me should look.” He runs his hand along the nape of his neck and laughs. He tells me a story of himself as a young boy, sneaking into his father’s closet to layer a silk tie over his white, cotton Hanes. “I knew I looked good.”

David admits that his childhood affinity for fashion has grown with each of his moves, and explains that he draws most of his inspiration from Paris streetwear and sophisticated London brands. After reaching into his pocket, David pulls out his phone and enthusiastically sharesseveral looks that he has bookmarked from Kooples and Art Comes First. If he likes a piece, it’s certainly not because it fits within a specific style. His guidelines are as mysterious as he first appeared to me in Five Watt. "If it works, it works."

This summer, David's ready to trade in his monochromatic, Zara-inspired looks for bright prints and training shoes. “My mom came to visit recently and brought fabric from Africa. With it, we designed a couple shirts together. I told her, 'I’ll try out more color.'"

“Daring,” I tease him. I tell David that I believe it’s easy to become attached to a single style of clothing. It seems many people tend to stick with what’s comfortable, with what feels easy and functional. I ask him for his advice for changing things up. His answer? Simplicity. Which fabrics and colors and cuts make you feel most confident?  Don't over think it.

I look forward to seeing David break out mustard yellow New Balance kicks and mom-made button ups this season. You might spot him around town, sipping a beer at LynLake Brewery or shopping at Martin Patrick 3. He's refreshingly unique and hard to miss.

Interview by Emy