When I was playing with AI image generation a few weeks ago, I tried out a Nike Airmax prompt to see how brands could potentially tap into this type of creative.
This is something people like me do. We do free spec work for fun. It’s a great way to test ideas and see if they fit the real world.
The problem arises when those brands nick the ideas for themselves, which happens. All. The. Time.
I’m thinking about this because I just found James Merry’s INCREDIBLE embroidery work that he juxtaposes onto streetwear brands. It’s utterly beautiful: delicate, feminine threadwork over these tough sports personalities.
But I’m scared. I feel like this work is vulnerable, something to be protected at all costs. Perhaps James will get an amazing contract with Nike; perhaps a new Airforce 1 with embroidered strawberries on it will simply appear as if by magic.
‘Steal with pride’ – a phrase my boss is fond of – doesn’t apply when you’re a multi-billion dollar corporation and you’re stealing from artists.
Now, James Merry is not some starving unknown. He’s Björk’s creative director, for God’s sake. He’s worked with Gucci, the V&A, Iris Van Herpen. He actually sells his embroidered t-shirts for around £650 a piece – comparable with Gucci.
It’s just…there’s something about these embroidery pieces. Perhaps it’s that it’s a traditionally female craft, and the work is so precious and magical. I want it to be OK out there.
Go have a look at James Merry’s portfolio of insane headpieces, as well as his embroidery.