A pair of boots have been going viral across social media lately, not because of who’s wearing them but, instead, because of who’s on them—namely, Dipsy, the green Teletubby. For only £2,073, a pair of the Christian Cowan X Teletubbies High Heel Boots can be yours, available in sizes EU 35 to 41.
The shoes are part of a larger capsule collection that promises “classic styles featuring screen prints of the characters themselves in a 90s-inspired fashion campaign.” The promotional images are surprisingly racy and thoroughly saturated with a nostalgic aesthetic. Each of the Teletubbies gets its own design. The Tinky Winky graphic tee, however, is sadly already sold out, so try not to get your hopes up too much.
Now, these colourful creatures are no strangers to the spotlight. The original series ran from 1997 to 2001 (followed by endless reruns throughout the noughties), so it was a prime show for gen Zers. By 2000, the franchise had generated over £1 billion of merchandise. A revival featured on the BBC from 2015 to 2018, with a US edition dropping on Netflix in November 2022, featuring Tituss Burgess.
In the past year alone, the Teletubbies characters have featured in collaborations with brands including IUTER and Y.R.U Shoes—as well as Goguy x Ellesse, for a special Pride collection. In January, the whole crew (Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po) even made an appearance on the main stage of RuPaul’s DragCon UK.
I highly recommend giving them a follow on both Instagram and TikTok, where they share spoof album covers of Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Dolly Parton, as well as posting horoscopes and other timely content. Seriously, what can’t they do?
The label behind the ‘Teleboots’, Cowan has also recently released a Doritos collaborative capsule collection, apparently inspired by the Doritos triangular form.” Pieces debuted on the runway and a select few are still available to buy online, namely, a hoodie bedecked in triangles, triangular earrings, and a pouch bag with a, you guessed it, triangle for a handle. Not as groundbreaking as the Teletubbies boots if you ask me.
But these aren’t the only boots to be going viral this year. Elsewhere, JW Anderson presented a collaboration with another British icon: Wellipets. Launched in 1983, they claim to be the “first rain boot ever to mix the traditional Wellington design with a playful element, namely the frog.”
View this post on Instagram
They gained icon status in the 1980s when Princess Diana dressed Princes William and Harry in them—they’re also still available in both child and adult sizes. Anderson has reimagined the boots as loafers in three colours: green, blue, and yellow. They debuted on the runway in January, alongside a matching frog clutch, which may or may not be a companion to the FW22 pigeon clutch bag.
MSCHF, an artist collective that engages with “art, fashion, tech, and capitalism,” also launched some big boots this Spring, specifically, Big Red Boots. Inspired by Astro Boy, the eponymous protagonist of the iconic, pioneering manga series, they promise “cartoon boots for a cool 3D world.”
“Cartoonishness is an abstraction that frees us from the constraints of reality,” MSCHF writes in the item’s description. “If you kick someone in these boots they go boing!”
The boots quickly sold out and can now be periodically spotted on celebrities. Lil Nas X shared a series of pics sporting them. This isn’t too surprising though, as the singer previously collaborated with MSCHF on the Satan Shoes, customised sneakers with blood in the sole, that led to outcry from Christians and a hefty lawsuit from Nike. Pairs now sell online for as much as $15,000.
Nostalgia has been all over runways recently. As a new wave of designers emerges to prominence or takes over existing labels, 90s references unsurprisingly come to light, both for the decade’s fashion and its pop culture.
GCDS, for example, has made collections inspired by Pokémon, specifically Pikachu and Jigglypuff, as well as Hello Kitty. A 2021 collaboration with Bratz saw two limited edition dolls, Yasmin and Sasha, dressed in specially designed GCDS outfits.
Founded in Milan in 2015, GCDS stands for Giuliano Calza Design Studio or, alternatively, “God Can’t Destroy Streetwear,” “Girls Can Desire Sex,” or “Giuliano Calza Does SpongeBob.” The SpongeBob designs were part of the SS23 runway and are available to buy or pre-order now.
A SpongeBob-inspired embroidered gown will set you back £2,995 but a bikini—available in both SpongeBob and Patrick variations—costs just £325. The leather jacket and matching yellow mini skirt was recently worn by Dua Lipa, the whole look costing just over £3,500. But, if bright yellow leather is your thing, you’ll struggle to find a better ensemble elsewhere.
Should we expect Transformers and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to expect the same treatment? Will Peppa Pig and Dora the Explorer be strutting down the NYFW runway next? Only time will tell.
On Monday 29 March, the infamous internet collective MSCHF released 666 pairs of the ‘Satan Shoes’ made in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X in a PR stunt to promote the artist’s new song ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’, which debuted on YouTube the Friday before. The controversial shoes sold out in less than a minute. In fact, everything about Lil Nas X’s recent stunt was aimed to shock and divide, and it did. What most of us didn’t expect is that Nike would go after Satan, but not Jesus.
The $1,018 (£740) trainers, which feature an inverted cross, a pentagram, the words ‘Luke 10:18’, and “1 drop human blood,” were made using modified Nike Air Max 97s. Shortly after the drop was announced, Nike denied its involvement in the project, and has now claimed trademark infringement. “It has asked the court to stop MSCHF from selling the shoes and prevent them from using its famous Swoosh design mark,” reports the BBC.
What the brand didn’t seem to mind was MSCHF’s drop #7 of the ‘Jesus Shoes’—customised white Air Max 97s with soles containing water from the Jordan River that the Brooklyn collective had blessed by a priest. Nike didn’t bother to disavow the shoes then, to the disappointment of at least one designer on MSCHF’s team who spoke to The New York Times last year. “That would’ve been rad,” he said.
Nike stated in its filing that “there is already evidence of significant confusion and dilution occurring in the marketplace, including calls to boycott Nike in response to the launch of MSCHF’s Satan Shoes based on the mistaken belief that Nike has authorized or approved this product.” It included screenshots of comments from social media users expressing their outrage or vowing to never wear Nike again.
It further noted, “In the short time since the announcement of the Satan Shoes, Nike has suffered significant harm to its goodwill, including among consumers who believe that Nike is endorsing satanism.”
MSCHF is known for its viral stunts, from MasterWiki, its own WikiHow-style rip-off of MasterClass and its live recreation of all 201 episodes of the American version of The Office series over Slack to its latest ‘Birkinstocks’—Birkenstock sandals made from Hermès Birkin bags. According to Quartz, MSCHF “originally conceived of the Jesus Shoes as a way to troll sneaker makers and their fans about the proliferating number of sneaker collaborations.”
The Satan Shoes with Lil Nas X were nothing less than a logical follow-up. However, they could prove costly; in addition to asking the court to make MSCHF cease fulfilling orders for its Satan Shoes, Nike is also seeking damages. Was it worth it? If you ask Lil Nas X fans, they’ll probably answer positively.
“Since publicly coming out as gay in June 2019, Lil Nas X has unapologetically embraced his queerness in the face of his crossover fanbases of country and rap, two communities who—he remarked in a BBC interview the same year—were not overly accepting of homosexuality,” reports gal-dem in a love letter dedicated to the artist’s latest music video.
In an Instagram post accompanying the release of his new song, Lil Nas X wrote to his teenage self, recalling the fear of rejection that is still a sad reality for many LGBTQI+ people: “Dear 14-year-old Montero, I wrote a song with our name in it. It’s about a guy I met last summer. I know we promised to never come out publicly, I know we promised to never be ‘that’ type of gay person, I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist. You see this is very scary for me, people will be angry. They will say I’m pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the fuck out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be.”
It would be an understatement to say that not everyone is thrilled with the directorial choices in the video, especially as it relates to Lil Nas X’s sexuality, but that’s not stopping him from taking the criticism in stride. The musician has been all over social media, from Twitter to TikTok, with some top clapbacks. Here’s one, for example, where he rightly points out that religious diehards always warn queer people that they’re going to hell—only to be pissed when people embrace the idea of damnation.
Although Lil Nas X’s mastery of memes is nothing new, he admitted himself to being affected by the hateful comments he received following the launch of both his new song and the Satan Shoes. “I’ll be honest all this backlash is putting an emotional toll on me,” he wrote in a tweet. “I try to cover it with humour but it’s getting hard. My anxiety is higher than ever and stream ‘Call Me By Your Name’ on all platforms now!”