How One Designer Turned 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter' Into Luxury Fashion (Sort Of)
Ava Nirui is famously recognized for taking luxury brands and turning them into her own “bootleg” creations. We’ve seen her previous designs come to life, so it was no surprise that she's back with another Marc Jacobs collaboration. Nirui gave followers a sneak peak a few days ago with the tag labeled "Ava Nirui x Marc Jacobs," which was a clear giveaway that she had something in the works with this iconic brand. A few days ago, the finished hoodie was revealed, playing off the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter name with the text “I can’t believe it’s not Marc Jacobs."
Nirui turned a butter spread's logo into luxury fashion, and we weren’t quite prepared for it. In addition to the main graphic playing off the not-butter logo, the hoodie features daisies, flowers commonly used in campaigns for the Marc Jacobs brand, and the phrase "Unreal taste!" on the back.
If you haven’t heard of Ava Nirui up until now, she’s a digital editor at Helmut Lang and a writer, photographer and creative based in New York City, as mentioned on her website. Her Instagram, @avanope, showcases numerous pieces from her various creations, including an asthma inhaler decked out with Dior style, an NYU hoodie designed to look like Yves Saint Laurent and a Prada dust bag converted into a tube top. Nirui’s creations are abstract, and she definitely thinks outside the box.
As of this past week, the “I can’t believe it’s not Marc Jacobs” hoodie was the only apparel item Nirui and Marc Jacobs teased on their social media pages. While fans were only expecting this collection to consist of one hoodie, Nirui just announced that she, along with three friends, also took part in a Marc Jacobs capsule, totaling four new pieces. The good news is that if you aren’t a fan of neon yellow or fake butter spread, there’s a sick scratch and win hoodie also available for sale:
In an interview with Vogue, Nirui explained her ideas behind the new design and about the rise in bootleg culture:
It was a whole new concept—I didn’t want my new design to reference the previous one directly, so there was no need for the misspellings. However, they both play with the theme of fake versus real, in this instance, not a bootleg but an iconic package design instead. I grew up with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter ads constantly playing on TV and thought it would be fun to riff on them. If you think about it, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is a bootleg of real butter, so there’s a bit of a joke there, as well.
Last November, Nirui announced on her Instagram that she created a limited edition hoodie in collaboration with Marc Jacobs. She also stated, “Thank you Mark and team! I was making fake Marc Jacobs a year ago…life is crazy!” A year later and her second collab is already out. The first limited edition collaboration hoodie only took a few days to sell out completely, so we’re curious to see how fans react to these new designs.
More than anything, the hoodie (and Nirui's previous work) shows how designers are increasingly calling upon brands and logos not typically associated with fashion to create items with a sort of retro-modern "cool" factor. Kodak recently looked to do the same thing with its Forever 21 apparel collection.
Nirui is clearly on the rise, so this is likely just the beginning of her collaborations. Kendall Jenner and The Biebs are already fans of Nirui’s past collab, and we’re patiently waiting to hear about what’s coming next. Who knows? Maybe we can expect new Marc Jacobs apparel designed for Barbie?