Over the last year in the midst of the NFT boom, fashion has made continuous headlines within the gaming sector. Think Nike’s acquisition of RTFKT, a move signalling their interest and investment in the virtual sneaker space, and the rise of concerts and collections appearing in Fortnite. While this news gained traction last year, fashion endorsements in gaming are actually nothing new – the two go way back.
“I prefer to be in a video [game] than to play with it,” said Karl Lagerfeld in 2008, when it was announced that he was to be named a new character in Grand Theft Auto IV. Since then, he has also appeared as an avatar in Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood, a game which had 2014 in a chokehold. But fashion endorsements in gaming are nothing new.
In 2015, Moschino debuted a collection of ready-to-wear and accessories in partnership with Nintendo, adorned with the Super Mario characters on the 30th anniversary of the creation of Mario. Since then, Louis Vuitton entered the space by collaborating with League of Legends in 2019, when it created a physical collection and digital in-game skins. This sold out within an hour, and both LV and Prada have gone on to design outfits for characters in the Final Fantasy XIII video game.
There’s also been a movement of users taking styling into gaming too, with players recreating designer fits for their characters. From Tommy Hilfiger inspired fits popping up on Roblox (which the brand soon capitalised on) to the community of @nookstreetmarket, the desire for virtual fits that mirror the catwalks in gaming is more evident than ever. Fortnite and Balenciaga also partnered to produce a series of gamified fits this year, in what contributed to the fashion house becoming one of the most talked about brands of the last year.
Gaming has always been a method by which players can escape reality. But from fighting virtual enemies to purchasing food at Nook’s Cranny, players still want to look good. Earlier this year, The Sims tapped one of the most in-demand brands of this year, Stefan Cooke, to design a new, 23-piece wardrobe update in collaboration for the game. Highlights included the brand’s iconic wool varsity coat and skirt, a brown flower-print sweater with upper chest slit, and even the quilt-style sunny yellow slasher jumper for the colder virtual months. And, better yet, the pack cost just US $4.99.
For the fashion industry, the importance of gaming cannot be understated. People are spending more time online, and more money on looking good online.