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Nicole Daddona Is Instagram’s Maximalist Fashion Designer & Artist Extraordinaire

She spoke with NYLON about making art out of accessories.

Welcome to Favorite Follow, a series highlighting NYLON's favorite creators and the stories behind some of their most memorable content.

It’s hard to know what to ask Nicole Daddona, known on Instagram as @funwithfriday, first because she doesn’t limit herself. One of her many creative roles includes making films as one half of Magic Society Pictures, which has a penchant for the surreal and darkly comic. She’s also a visual artist who explores femininity through the medium of neon, a writer who edits FRIDAY, a bi-annual lowbrow art and comedy magazine, and a musician who’s about to drop her debut EP Make Believe. But what she’s best known for is Magic Society, the clothing and accessories company that houses her uncanny, playful maximalist fashion designs that take bizarre cultural artifacts and turns them into art pieces you can wear.

Take the Blow Me bag, for example, a purse made from a blow-up sex doll.

“Of course, I have all these weird props from video and film shoots,” Dadonna tells NYLON over Zoom. “I was looking at it like, ‘how can I make it fashion?’ So I cut off the face.”

Or take her Sexy Furbys, a collection of alien-looking toys that she created by cutting off the face of the Y2K childhood must-have and sewing it onto other plush toys. She describes her designs as a “little creepy and cute,” and they fall squarely into the valley of the uncanny — which is the through-line through all her work. Her maximalist approach to creation is addictive: The world of Dadonna is colorful and strange and playful.

“I like designing things that I want to wear and that I don’t see existing and then, hopefully, other people will want to wear it too,” she says. “It’s cool to be able to hang something you like on your wall and it makes you happy. But imagine wearing it and everyone you see is like, ‘oh my god, that’s so cool,’ and it makes you feel cool because you know this cool artist that you’re supporting and it’s really magical to have everything come together like that.”

Ahead, NYLON spoke with Dadonna about her whimsical designs, making art out of accessories, and her role as a creator and influencer.

On breaking into the fashion space without knowing how to sew

“I’ve always been into fashion and fashion design. When I was in high school, I’d make my own weird accessories and bags and paint my shoes and that kind of stuff. When I moved to L.A., I was like, ‘Oh it’d be so cool to make clothes, like make a brand.’ I remember being on the airplane moving to L.A. coming up with the name Magic Society and drawing these freaky ideas and being so broke I couldn’t manufacture anything and not knowing how to sew. Then, a couple years ago, everyone was into enamel pins, so I was like, this is an affordable way to get into this realm.”

On making a purse out of a sex doll & the playful fashion trend

Urban Outfitters started carrying some of my stuff, which was a big confidence boost, like, ‘oh this is something the world would like.’ In the pandemic was when I went all the way in and I was home. What else was I going to do? Everyone else was home with their stimulus checks, so I started going all in with my ideas. The first was the blow-up doll bag. I had a blow-up doll because of course I have all these weird props from video and film shoots. I was looking at it like, ‘how can I make it fashion?’ So I cut off the face. I make weird toys called Sexy Furby and I cut off Furby faces and put them on long Furbys, it’s so scary.

I think it’s exciting to see trends going in that way and people wearing colors and whatever they want. It’s really great to see that happening and I think a lot of it has to do with the pandemic and being stuck inside and nowhere to go. You have to express yourself somehow.”

On fashion as wearable art

“I had some friends turn their art into fashion and I was like, ‘this is such a cool idea.’ Maybe someone doesn’t want to buy an expensive painting but they want to buy a piece of art that I designed that’s $25 or $50 that they can wear around, so it was cool to see people supporting that.

It’s cool to be able to hang something you like on your wall and it makes you happy. But imagine wearing it and everyone you see is like, ‘oh my god, that’s so cool,’ and it makes you feel cool because you know this cool artist that you’re supporting and it’s really magical to have everything come together like that.”

On Sexy Furby

“Sexy Furby himself is a real entity. It’s like a Furby man that I made; the account was just him being sexy. I don’t know why. I just had an idea it would be so funny to put a Furby face on a muscular man’s body and sometimes I go with ideas just because they’re exciting to me and I just see what happens. Adam, my filmmaking partner, was like, ‘We should make a film about Sexy Furby’ and I was like, ‘Oh my god, you’re right.’ So we made a short film. In terms of making the really scary plush, that just organically started happening because it was so funny to me to see this Furby man and then I heard about Long Furby and I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s other people doing this as a joke?’ I put one up for adoption and had like 200 messages of people being like, ‘I want it, I want it,’ and I was like, ‘I guess this is a business or something?’ So I kept making them and putting them up for adoption and now it’s taken on a life of its own.”

On being a part of her brand

“I think I’m still trying to figure that out. I have a hard time being myself online. I always end up being a character or having a stupid accent or something. I’m not able to just talk like this on my Instagram Stories or TikTok. I’m really trying to get there, but are you really yourself when you talk online?

Instagram is hard to be authentic for me. I feel like TikTok is much more the place if I’m going to be myself, I should do it on there, because it feels supportive.

I have a lot of tarot readings. They all tell me something really awful or that I’m going to be famous. There’s no in-between. It’s like, okay what is it?!”

On where she gets her inspiration

“It’s kind of like, whatever idea comes to me, and that sounds boring. I feel like I have a very specific taste and I’m very inspired by the ‘60s, ‘70s... ‘80s and then ‘90s [laughs]. Color is a big thing, but really I like designing things that I want to wear and that I don’t see existing and then hopefully other people will want to wear it too.”

Follow Nicole Daddona on Instagram and TikTok.