in her shoes

What Pharrell’s Chief Creative Officer Wears to Work

Mimi Valdés loves printed leggings and sneakers.

Photo: Gabriela Herman
Photo: Gabriela Herman

You know the Pharrell Williams song “Happy”? Imagine if that song was someone’s personal style, and you’ll basically be imagining the wardrobe of Mimi Valdés As the chief creative officer of Pharrell’s i am OTHER company, Valdés spends her days bouncing between film and TV sets and meetings with other high-profile creative people. So she dresses for comfort and fun in bright sneakers and even brighter leggings. We spoke with her about school uniforms, selling sneakers, and Uggs.

On sneakers: I love sneakers! I need comfort, crave it. I like feeling as if I’m walking on pillows. The world’s current obsession with sneakers is a bit surreal to me, though. Hip-hop embraced sneakers from day one, but they weren’t always acceptable in many places back in the day. I remember plenty of ’90s parties where there was a “no sneakers” rule. It’s funny to see something that was so ostracized — outside of the hip-hop community — dominate pop-culture now. The resale market for sneakers is a booming business. If I still had the boxes for all the coveted sneakers I own and kept them in pristine shape, I would be laughing all the way to the bank right now! But the truth is, I love my sneakers too much and would never sell them.

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On Uggs: If it’s cold out, I switch to Uggs. When they first debuted, I thought they were the ugliest things I’d ever seen in footwear. Then someone told me how warm they were, so I tried them on. In about 2 milliseconds they became the most beautiful boots in the world to me! They feel like I’m walking on pillows, too. I have lots of colors, and even own the Ugg collaborations with Comme des Garçons, Sacai, and Pendleton.

On her everyday look: My go-to Monday outfit is my everyday go-to outfit — colorful leggings. It makes getting dressed easy and they’re so comfortable. I went to Catholic school all my life so wearing a uniform is something I’m sort of used to. I don’t want to deal with making too many decisions when I get up since I’m not a morning person. My favorite leggings brand is Black Milk Clothing. They do all sorts of cool collaborations — Game of Thrones, Disney, Adventure Time, Sesame Street, etc. The crazier the pattern, the better!

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On her approach to dressing: I dress only for me, not clients or colleagues. If my outfit brings a smile to my husband’s face, that’s like icing on the cake. He has excellent taste! As far as who I see all day, I’m mostly around other creatives. If something I have on catches their attention, that’s always flattering because I respect the people I work with.

On the biggest challenge at her job: People who don’t embrace diversity. They’re like dinosaurs to me. I don’t understand how they think it’s okay to live in a bubble that doesn’t reflect the world we live in. Every individual and business should surround themselves with people who represent a multitude of colors, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, etc. When you don’t make diversity a priority, you simply miss out on the beauty of humanity.

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What Pharrell’s Chief Creative Officer Wears to Work