Mimi Valdés went from magazines to multimedia success.
Valdés is creative director for Pharrell’s i am OTHER, a multimedia company that works in music, apparel, philanthropy, film, video, and whatever else Pharrell wants to explore. Hers is a simple title for a complicated position where she is responsible for an astounding number of things. “Album covers, music videos, live concert performances, I’m in charge of executing all of that,” says Valdés, adding that she is not as directly involved with the fashion side of Pharrell’s growing empire. She is working on so many projects simultaneously that she has taken to listing each on its own index card. The stack is more than an inch thick.
At a private dinner after Fast Company's Innovation Uncensored conference last night, Pharrell talked about how he got involved with Bionic Yarn, which turns waste plastic into material for clothing. A pair of jeans reuses seven water bottles worth of plastic. A hoodie uses 12. Pharrell said he was partly inspired by a rant from right-wing pundit Rush Limbaugh, who accused Pharrell of being a hypocrite for playing an Earth Day celebration while enjoying private flights and fast cars. “I’m like, ‘Why is he attacking me? What did I do?’ But if I look at what he was saying, if I look at the criticism, it’s like, well, yeah, okay, my carbon footprint is probably off the charts, so let me involve myself with something that will give me sort of like a balance.” With Bionic Yarn he subsequently landed deals with large corporate partners to make fabric from the recycled material. “That was so I could rest at night. I took a private flight, okay, but we just did this huge collaboration, and we did all of the denim for two weeks for Gap in Japan…. It was kind of like, alright, Rush.”