From Burberry to Balenciaga — these brands are maintaining relevancy by creating their own video games.
By ALEXANDRA AHLQVIST
February 02, 2021
During the last couple of years, we have seen countless examples of fashion brands collaborating with video games. Designers like Anna Sui, Valentino and Marc Jacobs created looks for Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and the North Face x Gucci collaboration was released on Pokemon GO before its physical release. Digital appearance is just as important as physical appearance for gamers, that make up one-third of the global population and spend an equal amount of time online as offline.
— Gaming is what people do today — it’s revolutionized the entertainment industry, and we wanted to be part of it, Cédric Charbit, CEO of Balenciaga, tells Vogue.
— When you start a game and select your character, it’s like getting dressed in the morning. You put on your clothes and become the character you want to be that day, Charbit adds, pointing out one of the main similarities between the industries.
We have reported on various examples of fashion’s affection for gaming, but several fashion brands are now further pushing the limit for digital exposure by launching their own video games, thereby skipping the collaboration step and eradicating the border of fashion and gaming. From major fashion houses like Burberry to contemporary brands such as Sunnei — here are the best games distributed and created by fashion brands.
Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow — Balenciaga
The fashion giant Balenciaga, run by creative director Demna Gvasalia, presented the brands fall 2021 ready-to-wear collection through the video game Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow.
The futuristic game is set in 2031 and allows the player to choose an avatar that during the game travel through different zones — passing by a Balenciaga store, models and pieces from the fall 2021 collection.
The game is a perfect combination of the real and the virtual, and with Balenciaga being one of the most influential fashion brands today, it is not surprising that Vogue described this project as a quantum leap for the fashion industry.
Burberry has during the last couple of years launched three different online games, the latest one being B-Surf — an online game showcasing their TB Summer Monogram collection.
In the game players are able to choose between four different avatars with surfboards, wearing pieces from the TB Summer Monogram collection. The goal is to race against the clock alongside other characters, and the multiplayer feature allows players to compete with friends.
We can look forward to more games from the brand since they announced a partnership with Tencent Games and it’s online game Honour of Kings in November.
Alongside 14 other up-and-coming labels, the New York-based brand Collina Strada launched a game featuring their pre-fall 2021 collection during GucciFest — the virtual film festival hosted by Gucci’s Alessandro Michele.
In collaboration with multimedia artist Freeka Tet, Collina Strada created a game in which characters help to battle the climate crisis— I like to keep the conversation going while still having an element of lighthearted fun — explains Hillary Taymur, founder and designer of Collina Strada to Dazed Magazine.
Real models were digitally scanned into the five different worlds of the game, where they can complete missions like picking up trash and watering plants. By merging the worlds of fashion and gaming, as well as raising awareness on climate change Collina Land is truly innovative.
Milan-based designers Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo, founders of SUNNEI, presented their latest collection through a mobile phone game. SUNNEI canvas, the brands VR platform was first introduced in the brands SS21 collection. Human-like characters presented the designs in an all-white version, allowing selected retailers to digitally customize the pieces.
The brands latest collection has further combined reality with the virtual world by showcasing the pieces in a video game accessible to anyone. The mobile game features ten avatars each customizable with different looks from the FW21 collection.
Though the game seems rather pointless in the sense that there are no winners or losers, it allows the consumer to experience the collection firsthand. Check it out yourself here.
Gaming is proving itself to be a useful tool for fashion communication, as well as ”a new frontier of storytelling” according to Harper’s Bazaar. During the last year, it has been an innovative way for brands to interact with their audiences due to the absence of physical shows, and as the gaming market continues to grow it is likely that fashion brands will continue using the gaming sphere for marketing and developing brand loyalty.