Singer Lola Young and MadeMe designer Erin Magee chat about youthful rebellion, connecting to your work and Erin’s new Dr. Martens collaboration.


Interview by Nicolaia Rips


 It took them long enough to call me!” Erin Magee tells me about her new collaboration with brand Dr. Martens. Erin, an OG HommeGirl who’s been on the pulse of streetwear since the 90s, is the former VP of design at Supreme and creator of iconic streetwear brand MadeMe. Since its launch in 2007 MadeMe has become a true New York powerhouse – streetwear for girls by girls consistently showcasing the coolest talent around. It makes sense that Erin tapped rising star Lola Young to model the campaign. Lola’s your favorite musican’s new favorite musician, known for her unreal vocals and give-no-fucks attitude. On the precipice of Lola dropping her debut album, we caught up with the designer and muse to talk rap beef, steel toe shoes, and the ups and downs of being an artist.    


Lola Young: I'm not going to do video today. I look a state, I’m sorry. Erin…you're always in that fucking office.

Erin Magee: I know, isn't it sad?

Lola Young: I really want to hang with you. I want to come to New York just to hang out with you. 

Erin Magee: I'd leave the office for you.

Nicolaia Rips: Tell me about the shoot! I hear you creative directed and co-styled with Mayan Toledano. 

EM: Yeah, I always do that. Me and Mayan have been working together for a decade, I mean, we do it all together. Lola was even helping, she was styling it with us. 

LM: I wouldn't go that far, I wouldn't say styled. I definitely said, no and yeah. 

NR: How did you come across Lola's music? How did this happen? 

EM: I saw her on my popular page or something. I rarely feel like I've discovered something that I like but…you do a lot of your own videos right? It just felt so real and authentic and new. I remember I sent it to my wife at the time... my wife at the time? My wife now! And she was like "oh my god, I saw the same thing, I love that girl, she's so fucking cool." It was your song Conceited. The quality of your voice, the authenticity of what you're doing. My wife and I were going back and forth a lot, digging through your Instagram. My wife was like, you should shoot her for something. Then Dr. Martens came up. I wrote them and said, “Can we try and get Lola?” When I showed the Dr. Martens people your work they just loved you. 

LY: I didn't know you were the one that put me forward. That's so nice. 

EM: Of course! I had you in my little pocket of "I want to work with this girl" for a few months before. And they thought you were perfect. You're British, you’re a musician. A lot of their roots are in music.

LY: Do you have the video of the interview we did? You were so fucking hilarious.

EM: Just to give you context, Dr. Martens had us do this video and the idea was cross cultural references between New York City and London, right. So they had us eat chips, like fries, in a cone. Anyway, Lola was trying to ask me about New York food and she was like, “Do you like bagels?” And I was like…“Sure.”

LY: You said, “I like the gym.”

EM: I don't really love bagels.

LY: It was just so funny the way you said it, like, bagels would be the cause of the fucking demise of your existence. 

EM: The demise of my abs. The video is so funny. Wait, you don't have it?

LY: I don't think my manager sent it to me. 

EM: How do I send it to you? They won’t let me talk to you. I'll send it to you on Instagram.

LY: What do you mean? 

“I'm not going to show my face but I'll literally show you my shoes.”

EM: I don't think they'll give me your actual email address or something. You're the star [your management] has to like protect you...  

LY: Fuck off, I'm not Beyoncé.

NR: Have you found a lot of people discovered your work through Instagram? 

LY: Well, yeah, that's something I wanted to brag about in this interview. I’ve had a lot of recent cosigns like Tyler, The Creator, Offset, Lil Yachty... it's been insane. Like in the last couple weeks. I've literally woken up to a new like, predominantly, rapper in my DMs. I don't know how they're finding me. I'm not sure if its explore page, or whether…I know SZA and she always shares my shit, so maybe it's something to do with that but I think there's always a bit of a ripple effect with Instagram. 

EM: Well, you know who was first? Me!

LY: Yeah, exactly.

NR: Would you ever do a song with a rapper?

LY: I would love to. I am very much into rap music, especially trap music. Offset was a big one for me. Tyler the Creator would be my go-to. I think he would fit so well, obviously he's kind of alternative rap. But that would be my ideal collab. In terms of rap music.

NR: Who's your number one?

LY: I probably would say... there's a lot of rap beef right now with Drake and Kendrick...have you seen this? I know it's different but I would love to collaborate with Kendrick but I feel like he'd be impossible to get. I’d also love to collaborate with Drake. In terms of rap music. 

EM: Maybe you're the one who can get them to make up? 

LY: Fuck off! (Laughs) That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

NR: Lola, what's on your playlist right now?

LY: Loads of shit...let me have a look. You know the band Pinegrove? 

NR: Yes from New Jersey!

LY: Skunk Anansie.

EM: Skin's my friend.

LY: Really? They're amazing. Willow, The Cure. 

NR: How would you describe your style visually?  

LY: It's definitely changed a lot across the years I've been making music. I think originally it was quite Gothic, like dark, but it’s changed to very casual. When I go on stage I wear a baggy top and a pair of jeans, I think that's really representative of who I am now as an artist, like obviously I can wear a lot of makeup and look glam but sometimes it's like, I don't give a fuck about styling something perfectly. It's a little bit willy-nilly, really thrown together. Quite vintage, very streetwear. I think I pull different things from different lifestyles. 

NR: Erin, what do you wear when you're working?

EM: Oh my God, nobody cares what I'm wearing...

NR: I care so much.

EM: Right now, in my very boring office, I'm wearing a Vaquera top. 

LY: What's that?

EM: Vaquera is this New York City brand, they're so cool. They're like young, they're kind of these punk designers. They're really doing it. They're financially backed by the COMME/DSM umbrella. So they get this kind of great credibility and distribution and they're just fucking sick. I wear a lot of Martine Rose. 

LY: I love Martine Rose.

EM: She's one of my favorite designers. 

LY: Do you know her?

EM:  Yeah, she's one of my good old friends. When I was there in London with you, I went out to dinner with her the next day. I like a lot of vintage, I'm a Gaultier collector. And I wear Supreme.

“I always told myself, I'm going to be the girl who does the steel toe. I've never really seen a girl brand or a female brand kind of go there with it.”

NR: Do you remember the first pair of docs you owned? 

EM: I do.

LY: I'm not going to show my face but I'll literally show you my shoes. (She shows a wall of neatly organized shoes.)

EM: Wow.

LY: Yeah, I have all of these and then... I think it was these I had, these like platform ones.

EM: That's a major moment. Rihanna loved those.

NR: What about you, Erin? 

EY: We're from a different era. So we didn't have these platform eight hole guys when I was young, but I do remember very specifically, I had a forest green pair of eight hole docs and I changed the laces to be the rainbow laces. It's very clear in my mind.

LY: I had the super high ones, like the ones that went up sharp to the knee when I was a kid. 

EM: Those are sick. 

LY: They’re kind of coming back as well. It's funny because Dr. Martens always comes back around. It's like the one shoe brand that does. 

EM: Because they have such a good history, you know, and it's like a real past.

NR: Erin, are the shoes actually a steel toe? 

EM: Mmm hmm. It took them long enough to call me first of all, I mean… hello. I always told myself, I'm going to be the girl who does the steel toe. It's a tough wear, and I've never really seen a girl brand or a female brand kind of go there with it. I don't think a lot of brands in general go there with it. It really reduces the amount of people who can wear it, that's for sure, because it kind of does that bubbly tone. It's a really specific look, I just had to do it. It's so MadeMe. I wanted to do a cut-out. [Dr. Martens] never done a shape cut-out. They've done kind of organic looking cutouts, but like I wanted to do a shape. I felt like it really spoke to the brand to do something that 's really tough and really hard and then like a soft feeling heart on top. That's really where it came from.

NR: I love the color too... 

EM: Yeah, that's like my club kid nod.

NR: Lola, what are you working on right now?

LY: My debut album is coming out very soon. It's quite exciting, but it’s also very weird, and obviously I’ll talk more when it comes out, but I've always been very open about mental health. I wrote it in a very big manic episode, the majority of that album. So it's kind of uncomfortable listening, but like, not all of it, because a lot of it is still relevant, but that's the very confusing thing, like, writing music and then kind of like, having to relearn how to relate to it. But honestly, it's the best body of work I've ever made. It's everything that I am in that moment. The genre I'm in is not necessarily current, but it's also not unfamiliar. There's like this imbalance, like this weird kind of contrast, with my lyrics, and then the beat and the sounds of jazz I put together with Conor and Will, my producers. Basically, I'm trying to say that it's the best body of work and it's coming out really soon. 

NR: Erin, do you feel that way when you're looking back at old work, that you're like, oh, I've changed...

EM: Yeah! I'm working on my Rizzoli book right now and I've been spending so much time looking back at my old work. I've been so emotional about the whole thing thinking, oh, my God, things have changed so much.

LY: Do you look back at it and go, I don't really relate to that part of my life anymore because I've changed, or do you look at it in an emotional way?

EM: I look at it, very simply like this. "Wow, that was really good." And now I find it hard to make things that good. It was so easy before. But it was so easy for me because I was closer to it: I was broke, I was closer to the age of the girls I was working with. I was closer to things. It wasn't so hard for me. 

LY: How do you mean when you say closer?

“The beauty of life is that if you were to stay in that same position, it would just get mundane.”

EM: I'm not as close to the feeling anymore. Like the whole feeling of my brand is based on this kind of teen rebellion or this youthful female rebellion, and I'm kind of, like, a mom now, that looks at her 401k. So it's harder for me to get back into that feeling. But the common denominator has always been this really great connection with the girl I'm working with, and I feel that same way with Lola, that we'll just go on and on. That's what actually inspires me. That's never changed.

LY: Also, the beauty of life is that if you were to stay in that same position, it would just get mundane. To change and then look back is the whole point. You know, to look back at your life and go, that was so beautiful, I was in such a different space, I was so connected in a different way but now I’m connected, it’s just morphed into a different type of connection. 

EM: Yeah, you're right. So wise. 23, Teaching me things about life. The first time I met Lola she told me the wildest story, and I knew right away, right after five minutes I was like, This is gonna be fun.

NR: Well, I really feel your connection.

EM: (Erin’s phone buzzes) You just sent me your phone number. I was like who's DMing me... and it's... you.


MadeMe X Dr. Martens, now available at


May 2024