Nicole McLaughlin

Ambassador

Hometown

Verona, New Jersey

Hometown

Verona, New Jersey

Ambassador

DESIGN/ UPCYCLE

She’s been called the genius of Instagram, a reigning mashup maestro, and an expert in the reuse of unexpected materials. Maker and muse, Nicole McLaughlin is a New York-based designer who spun a side-interest in upcycling off-cast sample shoes and materials salvaged from the dumpsters from her office at Reebok, into a full-time independent design practice garnering a fan base with more than 500,000 instagram followers. Fuelled by curiosity and outrage at waste, McLaughlin’s genius is for hacking the potential of all things, even those things that seem spent. “I never give up on materials.” Her gift for seeing things differently gained steam when she taught herself sign language in high school. In sign language, a word is communicated through a gesture or a physical expression. In her practice, McLaughlin plays with the shape and substance of sustainability by reinterpreting used or salvaged materials and everyday household objects, from Sharpies to volleyballs to baguettes, into fashion items. This lighthearted way of approaching a serious conversation has delighted the editors at Vogue from China to Spain to the US, shown that sustainability doesn’t have to be beige, and injected a needed levity into pandemic-life-at-home for social media followers. For all its playful humour, McLaughlin’s work – which extends to workshops and a developing non-profit - is driven by a desire to keep deadstock and overstock out of landfill, and put it in the hands of people who can translate and transform it. She’s energized by the real fulfilment that workshop participants glean from making something –rediscovering the potential in waste, while also awakening the creative potential in us all.

Achievements

  • Dazed 100 New Gen Leaders (2020)
  • Degree in Digital media technology
  • Fluent in American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Raised $20,000 for various causes by auctioning off her handmade pieces in 2020
  • Donated $10,000 to Slow Factory to support the provision of free education and networking for those in need
  • Featured in Vogue China, Vogue Netherlands, Vogue Spain, Vogue Paris, an exclusive with British Vogue online and Vogue US