Drum up the most wild combination you can think of. Was it Birkenstock sandals made of real Hèrmes Birkin bags? Perhaps a pair of shoes containing holy water or human blood in the soles? Or maybe a bath bomb shaped like a toaster? Believe it or not, these items not only exist… they sell out. Enter MSCHF, the shocking Brooklyn-based collective that will create just about any product under one condition: it’s absolutely crazy.
While MSCHF does not confine itself by industry or sector, the collective has been drawn to fashion—and not usually welcomed. Most fashion collaborations occur with a conscious back and forth between brands, celebrities, influencers, etc. However, MSCHF prefers to surprise everyone when they drop an item, a prime example being their clever “Birkinstocks.”
Haters simply do not affect the unusual startup of only thirteen employees, especially considering that the Hèrmes saboteur-shoes sold out at a whopping k each, with owners including Kylie Jenner and Future. Only using a total of four Birkin bags to construct the sandals, the drop was limited to say the least.
Besides the easy connection between Birkin bags and Birkenstocks phonetically, there is absolutely nothing else in common between them. So how did MSCHF think to design this pairing? Fittingly enough, the collective’s co-founder Daniel Greenberg came up with the idea by chance (how very “on brand”). One day, his cousin accidentally stepped on his aunt’s Birkin bag with his Birkenstocks, and just like any normal person, Greenberg decided the two would make a wonderful fusion.
Although the Hèrmes x Birkenstock union was the most recent fashion project of MSCHF’s, it was certainly not the first. Other wild ideas (created without the original brand’s consent) broke the internet as well, the most notable being “Jesus Shoes” and their recently released antonym, “Satan Shoes.”
Perhaps sacrilegious, the “Jesus Shoes” consisted of Nike Air Max sneakers’ clear soles being filled with holy water from the Jordan River. To complete the biblical theme, a verse describing Jesus’ walk on water and a singular blood drop graphic are included on the design. Greenberg came up with this idea while pondering what a “collab with Jesus” would look like. They’re even blessed by a priest. And scented with frankincense. Depending on whom you ask, it looks like their goal of a Jesus-collab succeeded.
However, everyone’s talking about the rogue collective’s latest drop in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X, “Satan Shoes.” Unlike their holy equivalent, this pair of devil sneakers contains a drop of human blood (sourced from MSCHF team members) in the soles. You read that correctly, human blood. To top it off, a total of 666 shoes were created for the drop, all selling out in under a minute. Nike Air Max’s acted as vessel for the ungodly design, which the “Just Do It” brand was unhappy about it, to put it lightly.
Nike is suing MSCHF for lack of authorization and subsequent brand confusion. Lil Nas X, a queer rapper, is the face of the “Satan Shoes,” partially for the purpose of promoting his new song and music video, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” Both the music video and sneakers have received significant social media backlash due to the strong hellish imagery and fervent displays. One thing’s for sure: this drop was crafted in curation of backlash and the response was in no way unanticipated. How very mischievous.
And what about “MSCHF X“? Ten different streetwear brands, one T-shirt. If you think Soho is the place with the most streetwear logos in one area, think again. MSCHF combined the likes of Kith, Supreme, Off-White, The North Face, and many more for an “impossible collaboration” of patchwork to the extreme in a limited collection of one thousand shirts. Literally slicing up already-made T-shirts for each brand, MSCHF upped the stakes on your average collaboration. Why? To make a statement on the melding of ideas between fashion brands. MSCHF explained this concept with the following graphic on their site.
Basically, MSCHF categorizes fashion collaborations into two categories: willing and unwilling. Guess which side they fall into? Willing combinations result in perceptions of clout or relevance chasing, depending on whether the brands are old or new. On the other hand, unwilling can be considered knockoffs, theft, and more. Through their own unwilling collaboration of sorts, MSCHF aims to “remove these [brands] from their pedestals,” essentially taking their relative social power away.
But a prank is not simply a prank when it comes to MSCHF. It is not only a successful business, it is a statement. Each “drop” is carefully cultivated for effective social commentary. Deconstructing status and value seems to be the main goal for most of their projects, as manifested through one of their most recent releases. Art collectors around the world experienced panic attacks while MSCHF purchased a Damien Hirst painting and cut out each individual spot, selling them for 0 each. Then auctioned the hole-less painting for over 0,000.
Amazingly, MSCHF may be the first tech-utilizing company that has absolutely no reliance on algorithms or advertisement. Organic growth is not so challenging for the creative group, as their projects are wild enough that social media and news outlets automatically spread the word for them. In the world of 2020, their non-algorithmic business model has quite the price tag. But MSCHF has no interest in being sold to a large company or in changing their now or never prank-like system anytime soon.
Even the Financial District wasn’t safe from MSCHF’s powerful hand. Bull and Moon, a stock-advice app created by the collective, allows people to choose investments based on their astrology signs. Needless to say, the “finance bros” weren’t so happy about this one. So what does MSCHF get out of alienating just about every industry? Power and change.
While their work does not seem all that admirable, in some ways it is. By shattering societal rules in a somewhat legal manner, MSCHF breaks down inaccessibility and useless status. For the fashion industry, this means removing the connotations surrounding labels and clout, then using it against the creators of such prestige. MSCHF de-valued the Birkin bag, otherwise known as the most esteemed accessory in the luxury setting, by pairing it with its complete opposite—a shoe with no renown, the Birkenstock. Ignoring how the “Birkinstock” was incredibly expensive and available only to the elite, this project did succeed in humbling Hèrmes, if only just a bit.
Fashion is in desperate need of disruption. Innovation worth noticing exists not through re-writing the past, but re-defining it. While we all love a fun ’90s comeback, MSCHF’s impact on fashion is a direct product of the 21st century. So we say, bring it on.END
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createdAt:Mon, 22 Feb 2021 21:25:40 +0000
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