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Nicole McLaughlin SS21 Converse lookbook
Nicole McLaughlinCourtesy of Converse

Nicole McLaughlin on how to harness your creativity

Starring alongside Evan Mock in Converse’s SS21 lookbook, the sustainable designer shares her top tips on how to achieve your creative goals in 2021

While the hellscape that was 2020 drained many of us of inspiration, for others, the pandemic and its constraints didn’t get in the way of creativity. Adapting to the parameters of our ‘new normal’, DJs teamed up with dancers to create virtual club nights, artists reimagined their work for the digital sphere, countless personal newsletters found their feet, and teens flocked to TikTok to drop imaginative videos that started trend after trend after trend. 

While all that was happening, a huge number of creatives also took advantage of the extra time indoors to transform lifelong passions into small businesses. Last year might have been a shitshow, but it also marked a turning point in many peoples’ lives, as side hustles became promising creative careers. 

Now, in celebration of those pursuing their goals against all odds in these unusual times, comes Converse’s SS21 lookbook. Spotlighting a group of young creatives who share stories of the projects that shaped their life, those on the line-up include actor and skater Evan Mock – who’s set to appear in the highly anticipated Gossip Girl reboot – and sustainable designer Nicole McLaughlin – whose recycled avant-garde apparel goes viral on the regular on Instagram.

Elsewhere, Quil Lemons and Gabriella Karefa-Johnson also feature both in front of and behind the scenes – with stylist Karefa-Johnson directing the looks via Zoom, and Dazed 100 photographer Lemons capturing the images remotely, too. 

Now, in case you’re in need of some extra encouragement when it comes to your own ventures, Nicole McLaughlin reveals some of her tips for pursuing your goals in 2021. Check them out below.

REPLACE ‘I CAN’T’ WITH ‘WHAT IF’ 

According to McLaughlin, the moment that changed the course of her life was the creation of her viral volleyball shoes, which she posted on Instagram in September 2018. “It broke down a lot of barriers for me. It removed ‘I can't’ and replaced it with ‘what if’,” explains the designer. While the past year may feel limiting – whether that’s through time, space, money, or health – taking a moment to think beyond your boundaries might just trigger some new ideas. Who knows? Maybe it just might be the next viral fashion look. 

FIND YOUR PURPOSE

“For me, the most important thing is the ‘why’,” explains McLaughlin. “You need to figure out why you're doing something, who you're doing it for, and from there, you can strategise on finding solutions.” Okay, so admittedly this one might feel hard in 2021, but we promise it’s achievable. Is it opening a Depop shop to sell your custom crochet mini bags? Starting a new TikTok series to highlight your creative styling? Whatever the ‘why’ may mean to you, once you find it, it should inspire the kind of passion needed to achieve your goals.

HAVE PATIENCE

We can’t sugarcoat it: once you’ve figured out your project’s purpose, there may be a bit of a waiting game involved. Perhaps that’s the perfect time to start strategising or working on a master plan. “When it comes to goals and making sure I'm doing something for the right reason, I give myself time and plenty of space to figure it out,” McLaughlin says. If anything, this year we owe it to ourselves to step back and allow things to happen at their own pace. Striving for something is great: burnout less so.

ACCEPT THAT IT’S A WORK IN PROGRESS 

Most importantly, it’s essential to be okay with the ups and downs that happen along the way and to go easy on yourself – navigating life in a pandemic is hard enough as it is. “It's okay if you're not there yet because it will happen,” said the designer. “I should know. I'm a work in progress and change only makes me better.”