Nicole McLaughlin is an upcycling whiz, transforming unwanted apparel, sneakers, and accessories into standalone works of conceptual art or unconventional wearables. McLaughlin’s most recent DIY creations include a sunglass case turned into a pair of sandals, an umbrella made from Nike windbreakers and shorts, and a sports bra crafted using Patagonia pouches. The creative whimsy and unique approach that she brings to each project is what continues to attract her 150,000+ followers on Instagram alongside collaborations with the likes of adidas, Ignored Prayers, Depop, among others.
McLaughlin’s first projects largely consisted of hybridized footwear with her pairing a vintage Columbia jacket with a discarded trail sole. After a couple of footwear variants, including slides made with tennis balls and packaged Haribo gummy candy, the multifaceted creative began tinkering with apparel. “The first thing I actually made was a shirt made of Dover Street Market tissue paper. It was obviously really conceptual and I couldn’t wear it. And I think once I did that, it kind of opened up the doors to what you can do with these things, these leftover scraps,” says McLaughlin of her first apparel design.
We recently connected with McLaughlin to discuss her creative process, aesthetics behind her design, and her essential, everyday items. Watch the full breakdown of McLaughlin’s Essentials in the video above.
For more video essentials, check out our session with Heron Preston where the designer explains how he evolved from NikeTalk to Nike collaborations.