Lil Nas X released his new video, MONTERO (Call me by your name) that quickly gained, shall we say, ATTENTION. The video tells the story of the singer’s coming out through religious allegory, ending with a lap dance on Satan.
The visuals are stunning, and the fashion is deserving of its own blog article (maybe several).
Controversy bloomed with the typical conservative backlash, and Lil Nas X responding, "I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the shit y'all preached would happen to me because i was gay. So i hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”
To go along with the video, Lil Nas X partnered with the company MSCHF to create “Satan Shoes” – 666 pairs of customized Nike Air Max 97s that included one gimmicky drop of blood in the soles (provided by MSCHF staff, a sacrifice of gargantuan proportions). The sneakers cost $1,018, a reference to Luke 10:18 in the bible about Satan falling from heaven. It’s like they put all the things that would set off evangelicals into a Yahtzee shaker and rolled out a shoe. Too bad they don’t yell this loudly at Nike’s well documented history of human rights abuse of garment workers that they’ve only recently begun to even bother to greenwash.
Nike is now suing MSCHF (not Lil Nas X) over the shoes, arguing that it’s copyright infringement that hurts their brand. It should be noted that Nike did not take the same action over MSCHF’s “Jesus Shoes”, a stunt that brought MSCHF to prominence. Youth pastors paid $1,425 for the shoes that had 60 ccs of water from the River Jordan that had been blessed by a priest in the soles. While one might assume that the attention brought from both sets would be welcome viral marketing for Nike, they appear to only appreciate the one that doesn’t annoy conservatives. And, of course, we’re sure racism and homophobia play absolutely NO part in their response.
Trademark attorneys have weighed in saying that Nike has a case regarding “dilution by tarnishment.” Let’s be real, though. Nike, a company that brings in nearly $40 BILLION annually, will be fine. MSCHF, which has millions of venture capital behind it, will also most likely be fine.
Should we let Nike decide what can be done with apparel after it’s purchased? As part of our sustainability strategy, dom + bomb are looking at re-designing existing clothes to fit + size bodies and add our own perspective to the silhouette. Not a new idea by any means - it’s a fast-growing segment of the fashion industry.
There is a whole conversation and analysis to be had about upcycling and privilege – who gets to do it and be successful, who can afford it, and if it really contributes to healing the planet. And far be it for us to defend the dude-bro-ness that is MSCHF, but if Nike gets their way, isn’t it a slippery slope to any huge brand with limitless cash to shut down re-imagining, well, anything?
We’ll wrap with the immortal words of the Beastie Boys, “For the record, and I’m fine If someone wants to take what I’ve done and chop it up, and so it’s their own new thing. That’s interesting to me.”
d+b rating: Gimme More to Lil Nas X for using a religious allegory to tell his coming-out story. And Fuck This to Nike for their ridiculous hypocrisy and dangerous clamp-down on creativity.
Also, check out the Clean Clothes Campaign, a global network dedicated to improving working conditions and empowering workers in the global garment and sportswear industries.
If you're interested in fashion history and big corporations going after marginalized creators, read Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem.
More about the d+b rating: Everything we review on the blog will either receive a "Fuck This" or "Gimme More." We'll take a look at pop culture or industry happenings with an intersectional feminist eye to settle on a rating.