Have you ever looked at a crumpled bag of Walkers crisps and thought, ‘hey, with a little sparkle this could make an amazing crop top?’ Probably not.
Most of us lack the creativity, and ingenuity of Nicole McLaughlin, a talented fashion designer for Reebok.
Whether it’s a discarded bag of Haribo or a pack Dove Facewipes, McLaughlin, based in Boston, creates amazing wearable art made from, well… rubbish.
In a bid to promote sustainable fashion, the designer upcycles random materials to create extremely cool fashion pieces – including a bra made from cargo pants and very trendy summer sliders made from an old Capri Sun pouch.
And no material seems off limits for this creative, she’s also crafted sandals out of balloons and trainers from badminton shuttlecocks.
Clearly meant to be tongue-n-cheek, McLaughlin’s quirky designs have seen the designer rack up a huge Instagram following, with over 100,000 fans online.
Speaking to ID Magazine McLaughlin says her unusual creations started as a bit of a passion-project.
I think the best part is that I didn’t even know that I was being sustainable, I was just finding old clothes because they were cheaper and because then I felt less bad about cutting them up.
As people become more conscious about fashion and the harmful effects of mass consumption, Nicole’s designs are encouraging people to become more ethically-minded consumers.
She also hopes her ethical approach to design will influence her bosses at Reebok.
People may think that working for a corporation is a conflict of interest for someone who preaches sustainability. But actually, people with these mindsets are supposed to be in these types of places to try to help change things.
According to ID magazine, ‘most of her upcycled designs will then be taken apart and upcycled again into something completely different, in keeping with her newfound passion for sustainable fashion’.
Before you begin to plan your next upcycled outfit, McLaughlin’s designs aren’t available to buy.
In a small act of protest, she insists “not everything you see on Instagram you need to own.”
To be fair, not everyone could pull off shoes made from tennis balls…
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L’Oréal Blackett is a freelance journalist, broadcaster, and presenter with a lot of hair and a lot to say. A former digital magazine editor covering women’s issues and local news, she now works for a range of media publications including BBC Radio Manchester, Bumble and of course, UNILAD.