Ever since Nicole McLaughlin made her debut with a pair of custom L.L.Bean fleece slippers, the designer has cemented her identity through upcycled pieces imbued with a vintage flair. After leaving her position as a graphic designer at Reebok, Nicole refined her craft even further and turned it from a personal hobby into a business venture. The Mule Queen joins hosts Jian DeLeon and Noah Thomas on this week’s episode of The Dropcast to talk about life as a designer as well as her best style tricks and hacks.
First, the quick hits take us through the collections and collaborations dropping during Fashion Week. Highsnobiety got backstage access at Wales Bonner’s London Fashion Week show which included a look at the brand’s FW20 adidas collaboration (2:37). Noah pledges allegiance to adidas for their classic models, and the whole cast gives appreciation for the sneaker-dress-shoe hybrid. Still, since Noah isn’t feeling the adidas Ultraboost silhouette even with the new Ivy Park x adidas collab, he best be careful of the Beyhive’s sting (4:25).
The below interview is a written version of ‘The Dropcast’ Episode 94. It has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Jian DeLeon: Speaking of collabs, we’ve got of course the queen. The other queen, Beyonce, of course, the first queen, Nicole.
Noah Thomas: The other queen.
JD: Not the mule queen. Just the queen of the world.
NT: Exactly. Literally our queen, the American queen.
JD: Beyonce. Adidas. Ivy Park. The Ultra Boot is out. The Ultraboost is out. She had some campaign imagery also on her Instagram that we have covered as well. I mean, it’s an Ultraboost, whatever.
NT: I’m going to be honest, I hate the Ultraboost.
NT: I love adidas. I do not like the silhouette and they really… I understand the technology. It’s comfortable. It’s light.
JD: Don’t let the Beyhive hear you.
Nicole McLaughlin: I think it’s just played out like it’s just, as this point it hasn’t changed.
NT: It hasn’t changed, but for me the silhouette was never a vibe. I don’t like when shoes curl up too at the front and it looks just a little elfish.
JD: Oh, like the Commes des Garcons. Like the cowboy boots with the, you know.
NT: Exactly. Or the JW Anderson just flat out. Just flat out.
NM: That is literally an elf shoe.
NT: I mean, I don’t know if it’s elf shoes actually, I think that’s cultural appropriation actually.
JD: What? The pointed shoes?
NT: Yeah. Some people were not happy with that. But either way I just, I’m not into it.
JD: You know why? Because you’re short and so on you they look like elf shoes.
NT: Elves. Literally I then am Santa’s little helper.
JD: Yeah it’s like, “Oh my God, you know Santa?”
NM: I have to say though, from a female point of view, I’m not an Ultraboost person, but I think this would appeal definitely to their more female targeted audience. Because I think Ultraboost has kind of been adopted more by men, so they are definitely trying to expand on that. So I think that’s good. The colorway’s speaking.
Up next is BAPE x The Weeknd’s SS20 capsule, which is another miss for the hosts (9:12).
NT: Alright. So, to keep the collabs going, I don’t support this collab either, I’m sorry.
JD: The Weeknd and Bape?
NT: Yeah, dude, honestly, a lot of these Bape collabs recently I’m against.
JD: I mean, come on. Cool. Of course. Because they’re just not good. They just phone them in.
NT: I mean, just Nigo is gone and I just feel like they’re kind of doing whatever they want. I mean.
JD: It’s literally just logo and logo. But the thing is, who’s really checking for Weeknd clothing like that?
NT: Thank you.
JD: Since ever.
NT: Since ever. Since EVER.
JD: He did the Pumas, he did the H&M collab, it’s just like… yeah. If the Weeknd did some drugs, like branded Weeknd drugs…
NT: That would go crazy. Okay. But we can’t support that. We can’t promote that.
JD: Yeah, you know what? He needs to collab with Advil 100 percent. Or if The Weeknd did those opioid emergency kits. You know what I’m saying? Like that thing you see the subway ads for.
NT: Facts. Or like a NyQuil. Just put the XO on it. The WeQuil. That would go cray… That’s honestly $1 million idea and by the time this comes out that’s patented.
JD: GlaxoSmithKline x The Weeknd, that’s what we need, right?
NT: Bape is not cheap. So this jacket, we don’t know the prices yet, but. This jacket is probably going to be at least what? Six. $600 to $700.
JD: About as much as a prescription bottle of Prozac without benefits.
NT: Yeah. Wow.
JD: But we’re just saying a Weeknd pill collaboration. Just stick to the brand.
NT: That’s crazy. He needs to do like a Duane Reade something.
JD: 100%, Weeknd x Duane Reade pharmacy, that’s it. Just like when you open the prescription bottle it like plays a little Weeknd song. It could be tight. I think he did that with a vape pen before, which was mad funny.
The launches have also been continuing on Highsnobiety’s end, with Versace’s SS20 collection dropping most recently on the Highsnobiety Shop (11:18).
JD: Of course, it’s fashion month, and we dropped Versace SS20 on Highsnobiety Shop and you can still get a couple pieces. Get a little something something. The race car shirt hits and Shasta did the footwear. Salehe Bembury bodied it. Ooo, shout out to Salehe.
NM: He’s good.
JD: Oh for sure. Do you and Salehe chop it up about shoe design, Nicole?
NM Oh yeah, we DM a lot.
JD: Just like paragraphs about medial sides all day.
NM: Yeah. Well, ‘cause it’s like to create a sole unit like he did you have to have some balls just like straight up.
JD: For sure. On your feet. What do shoe designers talk about when they talk about design? Because I’ve seen fashion designers talk about collections and specific garment things. And I feel like most of the time to talk about similar inspirations but for footwear designers and shoe designers, I feel like it gets more technical because of how hard it is to design within the specific grame.
NM: No, for sure. I think we just kind of nerd out when you’re able to achieve something that otherwise people would be like, no, you can’t do that or factory limitations. So you’re always curious like how did you do that? What materials? What components? And I think that’s just the best part about forward design is because people are very… they want to like tell you about it. They want to be transparent.
NT: So there’s no kind of secrets?
NM: No, there’s no like… yeah, I think people are willing to kind of share like their processes and stuff and I just love that about it. It’s really nice. And someone that’s not from a sneaker background, I’ve learned so much because of that. So it’s been good.
NT: Sick. Yeah. That’s actually beautiful to know that they’re not on some like, “Nah, I’m not telling you anything” because you know, I feel like fashion can get like that. I remember being in fashion school and the menswear kids were like, “Please, can you help me with this? I really need help.” And we were all like crying trying to figure out how to sew this jacket.
JD: This is just like a room of Project Runway.
NT: Yeah, and then we talked to people that were in womenswear and they’d be like, “My garment was destroyed because Susan just burned it.” I was like, “Oh my God, what?” “She stole my, she stole all of my patterns.”
JD: “She stole my patterns then burned my studio. And then threw my cat out the window. Just stabbed me with my cat.”
This week saw no shortage of music drops, with 2 Chainz and Skooly’s “Virgil Discount” music video playing out like an Off-White commercial (14:17).
NT: Dude, Virgil is everywhere.
JD: I think that’s a perfect segue ‘cause Griselda, Scotty’s Hype Williams video. Tell Virgil put a brick on my brick.
NT: Dude. He just did the Crazy Patek for Drake.
JD: For Drake’s “Life is Good,” Future again. You know, back. That’s like three songs that are bangers that have Virgil mentioned in them. So he’s just on a wave. But shouts to Virgil for elevating one of the OG, not OG, but one of the new grimiest groups. Because I think Rayquan was the one that essentially passed the torch to Griselda at the show, right? They’re signed to Shady Records, it’s insane.
NT: Dude, everything about it is just… It’s right. Yeah, it’s right.
JD: It feels so right. And the timing just feels great. It’s so real. That’s the first time I… it broke my neck listening to it. It hasn’t happened in a long time. I was trying to listen to Futsal Shuffle and it’s like, it was just cool.
NT: Were you trying to do it? Is that video out? Because you know that there’re cameras in this office, and let’s be honest, I feel like when no one was here, you tried to do the Futsal Shuffle in the mirror.
JD: Yeah. There’s videos of it on my IG story. Probably gone by now, but yeah.
This episode’s Question of the Week (QOTW) asked, “What are your best style hacks and tips?” with Nicole, Noah, and Jian sharing a few pieces of tried and true advice (20:31).
NT: My style hack is definitely, I’ve double socked it a few times. We all know about that.
NM: That’s a good one. You got to do what you got to do. Same thing with shoes that don’t fit and you would take out the sock liners.
JD: That’s true. I’ve gotten shoes that were slightly too big and put in new foot beds, and it’s usually Super Feet. That’s probably my number one style hack. That’s probably my number two style hack next to measuring pant weights with my fist and elbow. So generally this trick usually works. I feel like you just stick your elbow into one side of the pants and then put your fist in.
NT: Oh, you do that all the time, yeah.
JD: Yeah, you can gauge whether it’ll fit and I just think it’s less embarrassing than putting it around your neck like most people do and see if the edges meet. Now Nicole, back to you. We haven’t gone to your favorite go-to DIY style hacks yet.
NM: I’m notorious for flipping sweatshirts inside out. I love doing that, especially if it has a nice French terry on the inside or a fleece and I stain in a lot of my clothing.
NT: Usually, I like socks with crazy designs and I like to turn them inside out because I like the way it looks, the texture.
NM: Okay, I can see that. It’s a different vibe.
JD: Oh yeah, some people do that with printed fabrics. They’ll use the reverse side and it looks like a bit faded.
NM: I would do that. I used to wear my socks, I would wear them inside out and then roll them down if I had a logo on it. The logo would be upside down and I always loved that, I would always style it that way.
Nicole takes a step back from the details to reflect on the bigger picture of how her personal interests and innate curiosity led her to customization (26:19). Nicole’s distinctions set her apart from other designers, and she talks about where they may lead her in the future.
Jian introduces a new segment called “Mule of the Week,” fittingly making its debut on this episode featuring the Mule Queen (39:40). The JW Anderson striped loafer mules are handed the crown for their elevated Birkenstock loafers look and Vincent van Gogh color palette.
While “Mule of the Week” has snagged the spot as the hosts’ favorite segment on the show, they make sure to end the episode with “What’d You Cop?” (40:33). Nicole copped an Arc’teryx thermal, which is now her everyday staple, as well as a Snow Peak fleece with the double pocket and a back runner pocket.
Stay tuned for the next QOTW which will be posted on Highsnobiety’s Instagram, and leave a voicemail on The Dropcast hotline at 833-HIGHSNOB (833-444-4766) for a chance to be featured in a future episode.