From materials that are often considered mundane: Wilson tennis balls, Haribo gummies packages and even bread. Nicole McLaughlin explores her craft changing the perception of these objects and turning them into wearables.
Nicole McLaughlin is an American designer based in New York who flexes her design muscles upcycling banal materials. Her career started in 2018, always keeping an eye on the opportunities around sustainable fashion and upcycling. Coming from an artistic family, she has always been encouraged to draw and express her creativity as a child. But art lost its allure and got replaced by her passion for sign language.
Feeling motivated by a teenager relationship, she started learning sign language and then went on to study speech pathology, only to realize, that what she wanted was to explore more about an artistic language, and therefore decided to pursue design. Her projects started with graphics and photography manipulation until she got an apprenticeship at Reebok that allowed her to blend her design skills with her passion for sports.
But that wasn't enough. Nicole McLaughlin started experimenting in craft on footwear as a personal project and that’s why we are writing this article!! Her authenticity in design is what makes her noticeable. Some of her creations are iconic right now. They are a great success on Instagram. These include Adidas soccer ball slippers, shorts made from sachets and, more recently, a jacket made from goalkeeper gloves. They are impossible to pass unnoticed on social media these days.
Nicole McLaughlin's designs are not currently for sale. Staying closer to a piece of art rather than a piece of design, standing also for her ideal "not everything you see on Instagram you need to own" a quite interesting stand for a fashion point of view.
Her diverse background may explain her unusual approach for design pushing the boundaries of fashion. Undoubtedly, banal materials get a different meaning when they come from Nicole McLaughlin's hands.
The strange experimental nature of each piece comes from the fact that the collection is driven by the designer’s self-gratification of exploring her craft. Rather than upcycling for the sake of ‘sustainability’ alone, McLaughlin strives for authenticity while making use of these unexpected scrap materials.