But who is MSCHF, the troublemaker of the sneakers game?

Do you remember the "Satan Shoes" of Lil Nas X? This pair with the colors of the devil, with blood drop and pentagram, which had triggered the ire of politicians and forced Nike to react? Well, it was them. They are the guys from MSCHF, a name that comes up regularly in the small world of basketball. MSCHF, an acronym for "Mischief"literally meaning "mischief", can be described as a creative label, an artists' collective or a simple group. It is composed of about ten people, some of whom are indeed artists but also designers or product developers, and has been operating since 2016 from its base in Brooklyn. It was in 2019 that it began to make news, with the drop of anotherAir Max 97 in the same vein as the "Satan".

This first custom is indeed a "Jesus Shoes". Its Air unit contains holy water from the Jordan River, while the upper features the words "MT. 14:25" in reference to the verse where Christ walks on water, a crucifix on the tongue and winks to the Vatican. Sold for the modest sum of $ 1425, the pair is sold out in less than a minute, and causes controversy. The first of a long series.

Between his two Air Max 97, MSCHF does not fail to defray the chronicle with conceptual works and drops of products perfectly crazy. Sometimes he offers a bong in the shape of a chicken, sometimes he cuts the dots of a Damien Hirst painting to sell them for $480 each. He can also offer a t-shirt made of a patchwork of ten tees of hype brands for more than 1000 dollars, a perfume mixing Axe deodorant with Chanel n°5, ice creams with the effigy of billionaires declaiming "Eat the rich !"or "Birkinstock" sandals made of Birkin bags from Hermès, at prices ranging from 34 to 76K (!).

Anything at all? Yes, and that's the principle. "Our point is that everything is funny in a nihilistic way. We're not out to make the world a better place. We're making light of the fact that everything sucks", summarizes Gabriel Whaley, co-founder of MSCHF, to Business Insider. The goal of the artists is clear, to make fun of what they observe of our consumer society at the time of the all Internet and social networks. In this, the sneaker was, from the beginning, the ideal support in their eyes to deploy a humor tinged with cynicism. Because between the system of commercialization by drops and raffles, collabs to excess and a preponderant marketing, the sneakers game is full of inspirations. MSCHF went so far as to appropriate these different elements, sprinkling a zest of Supreme by setting specific appointments to release its products.

If it is part of a broader approach, the sneaker has remained at the center of the collective's work. Following his Air Max 97 "Jesus" and "Satan", MSCHF imagines with Tyga a "Wavy Baby", Vans Old Skool with waves that will also earn him a complaint from the brand. What to calm his creative ardor? Not at all! Perpetuating its subversive spirit, even though it had to face Nike for its diabolical pair, the collective is largely inspired by its Air Force 1 to sign sneakers TAP3 and Super Normal. This time, no charges are listed.

Since then, New York artists have become more conceptual, with a Gobstomper, an AC1 "Walking Boot" and finally, the Big Red Boot. Or the last creation of MSCHF to have shaken the networks and the Internet: a pair of red boots as voluminous as minimal, which is not without reminding the one of Astro Boy. Some shout genius, others show their disgust, nobody is insensitive. As always with MSCHF who, as always, succeeds in his mission. No doubt that the troublemaker still reserves us other surprises, for as many reactions.

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Alexandre Pauwels

Journaliste sneakers, mode, lifestyle. Auteur du livre "Sneakers Obsession".