Nicole McLaughlin talks about Reebok, inspiration and sustainable fashion – Footwear News

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Nicole McLaughlin’s journey through footwear is atypical to say the least. Without any shoe training, the 26-year-old artist landed an internship at Reebok during his college days. A year later, the company hired him as a graphic designer. While her efforts at the brand’s Boston headquarters, such as working on the famous Vetements Instapump Fury “Scribbled” have gained traction, it is her passion for recycling-driven design outside the office that has made her attractive. for a wider audience.

“I was working full time [at Reebok] and at night I would come home and practice sewing by hand, gluing things on, just to see what it would look like, ”McLaughlin said. “I started posting things on Instagram and I was consistent about it. I was posting stuff pretty much every day and it started to take off. My followers started to grow.

His notoriety has led to several opportunities outside of Reebok, including speaking at workshops and panels, sharing his approach to upcycling and sustainable fashion. But having essentially two careers has become too much to manage.

“I was still working at Reebok and I did it until I couldn’t physically take it anymore,” she said. “I wasn’t sleeping, so I had to make a choice and ended up quitting my full-time job to continue [my own business]. “

Today, McLaughlin is a mainstay on panels around the world and is hired by the biggest brands in the industry, including Puma and Adidas, to lead design workshops. Additionally, she collaborated with Foot Locker for their new Greenhouse incubator program in September. And although she is no longer employed by Reebok, she still works with the brand.

In early September, McLaughlin and Reebok collaborated on a recycled 17-piece collection that was available through an online raffle and at the brand’s Union Square NYC store.

Here, the artist breaks down her creative process and what inspires her, and she gives insight into her personal shoe collection.


A boot designed by Nicole McLaughlin.

CREDIT: Nicole McLaughlin

Education

University of Stroudsburg East. McLaughlin first studied speech therapy before finding a creative outlet in photography, followed by an internship at Reebok.

Current projects

In collaboration with Montreal store Ssense, she created branded design panels and magazine editorials.

Current role

“I’m just saying I’m an artist-designer. Technically I now have a brand, Nicole McLaughlin LLC – that’s my real trading title. But I don’t like to think of myself as a creative director or a brand owner. I’m just a creative who tries to figure things out.

Creative process

“It’s more of a sculpting process than creating traditional shoes. A big part is taking things apart and using them for different projects. I’m going to take a jacket and work it on my or someone else’s foot – I don’t use shapes – and sculpt as I go, making my pattern from there, by the pinning where I want. All the soles I use are second-hand. I take them off the existing shoes and use the uppers for other things.


Nicole mclaughlin

A tennis ball created by Nicole McLaughlin.

CREDIT: Nicole McLaughlin

Mentors

“I was the first person from Reebok to work at [Adidas] Brooklyn Farm, and I worked with John Khalife. He taught me the shoe from a more technical point of view, on materials and tools. This is when I first created a technical shoe pack. And I reach out to friends like [designer] Daniel Bailey and Jeff Staple. In addition, I am in the Jim’s Web mentoring program.

Revolutionary design

The “Scribbled” Reebok x Vetements Instapump Fury

Shoes i wear

“The Salomons that look more like a hiking silhouette, the Merrell Hydro Moc and those National Geographic shoes pretty much everyday. [Also] anything saved. I will wear Nike ACGs but from the 90s or 2000s, and if the sole starts to crumble, I re-sole them.

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