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Who is MSCHF?

Why is the art collective so conspicuous and mysterious?

Who is MSCHF?

I’m sure you’ve heard of MSCHF around the internet. The art collective based in Brooklyn, New York blew up the internet when they worked with Lil’ Nas X on the “Satan” shoes. Remember that wild debacle when Nike sued the hell out of them?

What have they done to flip the agency world on its head?

In recent years, stars have looked towards collabs to bolster brand affinity and to keep the audience in tune with the ever-fast moving attention spans. Nike and Kanye, Puma and Rihanna, and so on. The CEO of MSCHF, Gabriel Whaley, decided to flip this concept on its head.

MSCHF - pronounced “mischief” is an art collective of unique creators on a mission to release some of the most unique collectibles on the market. In an interview with the New York Times in 2020, Whaley said they’re asking themselves how the brand can make fun of what they’re observing.

You wouldn’t call MSCHF a sneaker company - what they do is curate drops that are mostly viral pranks. And they’ve been behind the internet’s most viral stunts, stories, and products that have spread through the internet community for years.

@NYT

The team has built a browser add-on that dubs your Netflix watching at the office as a conference call, a rubber chicken formed into a bong for smoking weed, a laptop called “The Persistence of Chaos” which contained the world’s most dangerous computer viruses, and so on.

WHY ARE THEY UNIQUE?

But where they really exploded on the scene was due to a pair of controversial sneaker releases. The customized “Jesus and “Satan” Air Max 97s released in 2019 and 2021 ignited media storms and blew up social media. The “Satan” shoes contained a drop of blood while the “Jesus” shoe was infused with holy water. And the two sneakers were incredibly successful marketing vehicles for driving hype around the MSCHF brand. It established a signature style of culture and publicity stunts. And most recently, they worked with The Weeknd with a vinyl edition of his album that’s on a saw blade. Seriously. And it actually works when you use a record player. No joke haha.

What this did for the brand was pushed it into the realm of the most sought-after collectibles out there today. Since they’re an unpredictable company, their drops are the same. The lack of restocks, exclusivity, and surprise drops from MSCHF are what continue to make the brand explode and drive the resale of the items.

The hilarity about MSCHF is the structured chaos they incorporate into their projects. MSCHF has had to shut down several controversial projects from companies that don’t share the same attitude. One that caught my attention was Slack. They opened a Slack workspace where anyone could compete in guessing the word of the day to win $1,000 dollars. And Slack shut It down immediately. To give a middle finger to the establishment, MSCHF created a fake restaurant called “The Blue Donkey,” where employees who pay for meals using company cards could pretend to order “food” using apps like Grubhub or DoorDash. The “food” orders were actually political donations to candidates with anti-corporate agendas. It only lasted a few hours before it was shut down.

I absolutely love the approach Whaley takes toward breaking the mold for creatives. He often talks a lot about what they are and that isn’t running ads on subways, trying to build a social media following, or even landing a spot on the Forbes “30 Under 30” list.

soiree story of the week
@NYT

MSCHF aims to make drops every 2 weeks, and you can only find out via text message. Despite limited publicity, they sell out in minutes. And they’re looking toward the future outside of their app while continuing to operate unlike any other business out there and expand into experiential IRL campaigns.

"We're in this weird place where we're not really thinking like a business," Daniel Greenberg, MSCHF’s head of commerce, said. "We just do shit, and people buy our stuff."

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April 26, 2022

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