Shy Eyes and Stark Lines
With a myriad of colorful retro tattoos and shy eyes that remain demurely downcast, most of time, Hogan McLaughlin isn’t your average in-demand-by-every-celebrity fashion designer. In fact, he can barely believe the hype and press that is surrounding his inaugural collection. Inspired by medieval fantasy and baroque architecture, McLaughlin has come a long way from his training as a professional dancer.
McLaughlin, who had been dancing from the age two, joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at sixteen. That career though, was short-lived. Only four years later, he left Chicago and moved to New York to pursue visual arts. Unfortunately (fortunately), it quickly became apparent that large-scale ink drawings weren’t in high demand. So McLaughlin turned his attention to his other great love: fashion.
McLaughlin explains, “When I was little I was always drawing shoes. I wore big chunky platforms when I was in fourth grade. I loved height. I had an odd style, a really odd style. But now I’m a big fashion collector myself. I appreciate it. There’s always a fashion element in my drawings, so it just kind of evolved naturally.”
With the innate confidence of a seasoned performer, McLaughlin then tweeted at fashion maven Daphne Guinness, sharing a few of his sketches. Weeks went by without a response. But McLaughlin, underterred by his forgotten Twitter introduction, continued to sketch and design. Then, months later, seemingly out of the blue, she responded. And his life changed.
Guinness chose two of his pieces for her movie The Legend of Lady White Snake, a tribute to Alexander McQueen. Additionally, three pieces went into her window display at Barney’s. “My first pieces were next to McQueen,” McLaughlin said. “I saw my name right under Rick Owens and was like, ‘Oh my God. All of this still blows my mind.’
Then the press followed.
By this point McLaughlin had already amassed an assortment of sketches. Once the whirlwind began, he thought, “Why not make a collection?” Thus, Hogan McLaughlin, wunderkind couturier, was born.
Why couture, you ask? In an industry that has become commercialized and mechanized, where quality demands a high price and individuality is almost nonexistent, McLaughlin remains a dreamer. “I just want to move someone. I hope people are drawn to my clothing; they can interpret it however they want. That’s why I don’t get into the ready-to-wear business. I’d rather finely craft clothing than just do some filler t-shirts and jeans. I want to create a love for clothing, for people to see it as more than just something to wear.”
This passion to move people, to instill a sense of individuality and a lust for self-expression is the crux of Hogan McLaughlin. With a childhood defined by performance art and an affinity for period pieces, McLaughlin’s designs marry modern simplicity with the inherent elegance of historical dress. His ability to transcend current trends and draw inspiration from the stark lines of a medieval cathedral, the emotional undercurrent of a truly inspiring performance, or the intricate seams of a Victorian corset are what make McLaughlin’s work brilliantly varied and pleasingly unique.
When asked why such powerful, iconic women choose to order custom garments, McLaughlin is both charmingly flustered and genuinely appreciative. “The people I’ve dressed possess such power and individuality. A number of celebrities have taken some of my pieces on tour, and I’m extremely flattered that their stylists would even take them into consideration. Women like Lady Gaga and Michelle Harper are fantastically individual with an undeniable point of view.”
With a love of fine craftsmanship, a penchant for risk taking, and a carefree, cutting edge design aesthetic, Hogan McLaughlin is undoubtedly one to watch. His pieces waver between universally appealing and shockingly indecent. His personality embodies both careful shyness and frank vulnerability. An undercurrent of true passion, that rare, soulful need for self-expression, hovers around him like a cloud. It’s as if McLaughlin himself can’t believe his good fortune—he repeatedly interrupts himself to say, “I’m just so fortunate in everything that life has given me.”
With the eternal gratitude and ceaseless vigor of a man who knows he is chasing his dreams, Hogan McLaughlin is just getting started. He is in the process of solidifying his place in the fashion world, on the prowl for more funding and like-minded people to help with his line’s expansion. He has dreams of future shows and future plans. But don’t get too upset, McLaughlin’s not going mainstream quite yet. “There’s still the performer in me,” he stresses. “I want to implement that into my shows. And of course it’d be nice to make money. Eventually. But to be honest, I’m really enjoying what I’m doing now. I’d just like to up the ante a little. I want to make clothes that people really want to wear.”
Photographer : Marek Berry
Art Director : Guillaume Boulez
Stylist : Jennifer Eve Eisner
Hair stylist : Yoko Sato
Make Up artist : Junko Kioka
Models: Ona @ Fusion; Kristy @ IMG;
Britt B. @ Next; Kat @ One; Ana S. and Wu Ting Ting @ Wilhelmina.
Photographer’s assistant: Helen Levi
CLOTHING CREDITS :
All clothes by HOGAN MCLAUGHLIN.
All jewelry by BEN AMUN.
All shoes by GIO DIEV.