Last month, on March 28, the MSCHF fashion brand made headlines after releasing a shoe made in collaboration with Lil Nas X. The sneaker was a recreated version of the Nike Air Max 97 style, and it had biblical imagery such as bronze pentagram and the Bible verse Luke 10:18 engraved on it. Similarly, it also had one drop of human blood in its sole. The sneakers, which went for $1,018, quickly sold out, even drawing more controversies.
According to sources, immediately MSCHF launched the sneakers, social media was buzzing with uproar. Some criticized the theme of the shoe, while some expressed eagerness on wanting to purchase it. Some even went to the extent of condemning Nike, despite not being involved in the controversial “Satan Shoe.”
Nike Sues MSCHF
There have been previous incidences where MSCHF redesigned Nike sneakers, including the “Jesus Shoe” style. The latter also had Biblical imagery, though it did not spark much criticism. Nike, which had no involvement in the Lil Nas X-inspired shoe, non hesitantly filed a lawsuit on MSCHF.
It accused the brand of predatory pricing, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, common law trademark infringement, and unfair competition over the sneaker on March 29.
MSCHF Responds to Nike’s Lawsuit
“We believe it is easier to create art that participates explicitly in its subject matter,” MSCHF said in response to Nike’s lawsuit on April 2.
It also stated that it is more powerful to do anything than to speak about it. Therefore, rather than hide behind white-walled galleries, MSCHF creates artwork explicitly in the structures they criticize.
The statement further explained that from the Renaissance Hellmouths to Milton, Satan is a part of the historical canon as Jesus. As such, Satan exists as the challenger to the supreme authority.
On Thursday, David H. Bernstein, one of MSCHF’s lawyers, released a statement defending his client brand. According to the statement, MSCHF wanted to comment on the absurdity of some brands’ partnership culture and the perniciousness of bigotry, with the ‘Satan Shoes,’ which sold out in less than a minute.
“The 666 shoes (665 of which had already been sold and delivered to collectors before the temporary restraining order hearing last week) were individually numbered works of art. Wherever they are shown, they will continue to embody the principles of equality and inclusion. The creative messages MSCHF hoped to convey through these shoes were also powerfully conveyed through Lil Nas X’s music video “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” and were significantly exacerbated by the Nike lawsuit, which gave MSCHF and its works of art unprecedented attention,” said David.
Meanwhile, the giant sports brand reached an agreement with MSCHF on Thursday after the label agreed to buy back all the “Satan Shoe and Jesus Shoe” from its customers to stop them from circulating.
Although MSCHF wanted to present its defense in court, the fashion label believes the shoes “already accomplished their creative intent” and that the settlement with Nike was the best way to allow it to put this litigation behind it so that it could devote its attention to new artistic and expressive ventures.