This article was published on November 28, 2022, and updated on December 7, 2022
Nicole McLaughlin is more than a designer, she’s an artist.
While taking everyday inanimate objects and turning them into functional garments might not necessarily be everyone’s idea of artistry, the way in which McLaughlin approaches and nails the world of upcycling leaves no other suitable descriptor.
It's unique, creative, and totally bizarre in equal measure. Which is a good thing, of course.
Almost five years has passed since McLaughlin left her full-time position at Reebok to pursue a career in upcycling (a bold move in itself), in which time she's gained over 800,000 Instagram followers and been a part of a multitude of high-profile collaborations with the likes of Crocs and Arc’teryx.
For Fall/Winter 2022 though, McLaughlin is ready to present something she describes as a “full circle moment,” as she reunites with the Boston-based sportswear label she left in 2018, to create a unique take on their Club C Double Geo that launched in 2021.
"The main inspiration was the Reebok Etna Mid from 1996," she tells Highsnobiety. "The idea was to upgrade it to more modern materials and details such as ripstop nylon and reflective binding.
“I began my career at Reebok and the brand has meant so much to me ever since. I learned so much about the footwear industry and the history of it while I was there. I’m so honored to now be a part of the brand’s history as a collaborator,” she added.
McLaughlin — who has used everything from chipotle napkins, croissants, Haribo packaging, and shuttlecocks to create wearable fashion — has kept things a little lower key this time around, albeit still in-keeping with the outdoorsy aesthetic we’ve come to expect.
Renowned for her love for climbing and hiking, McLaughlin adds a pocket around the sneaker’s upper (a nod to the styles found on hiking backpacks), as well as a lace garage to tuck the shoelaces into to keep them out of the way on the tongue.
To-date, the Nicole McLaughlin x Reebok Club C Geo Mid — which lands at StockX on December 5 and Reebok December 9 — is the designer’s first full sneaker release, although she's confirmed that there’s plenty more to come.
“This is just my beginning in the collaborative footwear space,” she added. “I have some exciting things coming up for 2023 and beyond that I’m really looking forward to sharing. Stay tuned!”