This is Rob Walker's most recent article from his NYT "Consumed" column.
It deals with the Mike brand of sportswear/streetwear that intentionally references both Michael Jordan and Nike. The brand is not trying to dupe consumers into thinking that it is affiliated with those marketing juggernauts, but instead questions the possibility of creating new brand content from someone else's intellectual property. Up until now the brand has evaded litigation.
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Bruce M. Tharp, PhD is a designer, professor, researcher, and entrepreneur, with degrees in mechanical engineering, industrial design, and anthropology. He and his wife, Stephanie Tharp run an award-winning, design studio, materious.
They have licensed a dozen new product ideas to companies, and currently manufacture several of their own. Materious also produces discursive products and concepts to engender reflection and debate on cultural topics. They are currently finishing a book project on the topic entitled, Discursive Design.
Bruce is a professor of design at the University of Michigan's Stamps School of Art & Design where he teaches a range of undergraduates as well as graduates in the new Master of Design program in Integrative Design.