Arc’teryx Equipment has tapped New York-based designer Nicole McLaughlin as its first design ambassador in part of a multiyear partnership.
McLaughlin, who has been at the forefront of sustainable design since her time as a graphic designer at Reebok, joins the Vancouver-based company’s growing roster of ambassadors that include athletes, climbers and thought leaders such as surfer Peter De Vries, author Florence Williams, runner and author Brendan Leonard, mountain biker Katie Holden and climber Shelma Jun.
Through the partnership, Arc’teryx will provide McLaughlin resources and development opportunities, and in turn, the designer will lead design and upcycling workshops in New York City for Arc’teryx Academy this fall. McLaughlin confirmed that information on sign ups for the workshops will be available this summer.
The partners are celebrating the ambassadorship with two designs, a cruiser cart purchased on eBay and remade with two Bora 62 backpacks and a mini tent made from Arc’teryx Gore-Tex scraps. Designs are not for sale and will be auctioned to a cause of Nicole’s choice.
“It was a serendipitous turn of events,” McLaughlin said. “I posted an Arc’teryx piece on my page, and someone shared it with someone within the brand who reached out to me. [Arc’teryx brand partnerships manager] Marshall Talbot sent me some scrap materials to play with. That was the start, and from there, it opened up conversations about doing something bigger, which turned into this partnership.”
McLaughin’s first experience with Arc’teryx was as a consumer five years ago, when she visited the brand’s Boston store.
“I knew the name and hadn’t experienced their products firsthand, but was immediately impressed with everything I saw,” she said. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford anything in the store back then, but not long afterward, I found a jacket at a local thrift store — a proper grail moment — and ever since then, my appreciation and love have grown in leaps and bounds.”
The new partnership will focus on finding solutions in circularity through upcycling and sustainable methods, and though product is part of their plans, the main focus is sustainability.
Arc’teryx has made commitments to sustainable production methods and its carbon footprint in recent years. The brand said it is committed to achieving the reduction of absolute Scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions, or direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, by 65 percent by 2030 at its headquarters and its Canadian production facility and global retail stores. It will also reduce Scope 3 GHG, or greenhouse gases from outside partners by 65 percent by 2030 across materials, products, factories, mills, shipping and distribution centers.
In December 2020, Arc’teryx announced the conversion of its three manufacturing facilities in Vietnam to be Fair Trade Certified by 2021, and in January 2021 launched Outer Peace, a platform and multiyear global initiative with a $1 million commitment to support partners working to protect nature.
“Nicole was a great fit from the first conversation we had,” an Arc’teryx spokesperson said. “In searching for an ambassador we’re looking for partners who are eager to work with us and contribute strong direction to the partnership they want to create. Immediately Nicole had great ideas for how we can work together, a knowledge of our product and history, and was excited to learn from and with our designers. That was all perfect, and to know that she’s been a climber and has used not only our lifestyle product but also our sport gear made it a really easy decision.”