2020 saw the rise of virtual runways, which put the global fashion industry into a dilemma- Is the trend going to stay even in the post-pandemic era? To some extent, we got the answer that virtual shows cannot replace physical ones if restrictions would be eased. For instance, Paris Fashion Week Sring22 men shows are going for a physical runup in June. Even the biggest awards shows namely the 93rd Academy Awards and the 78th Annual Golden Globes were held in physical format accompanied by limited audiences. However, virtual runways are still going to hang in there for some time as they have evoked digital innovation with the fusion of gaming with fashion. Many fashion brands have collaborated with online streaming services and gaming platforms to create unique and immersive content for the viewers which is glueing us all to our screens!
Virtual runways are still going to hang in there for some time as they have evoked digital innovation with the fusion of gaming with fashion.
For one, British luxury fashion house, Burberry has joined forces with American video live streaming service Twitch for its SS21 show set in British venues. The show gave viewers a chance to see it live from various dimensions and even hold conversations through Twitch chat functions. Burberry has embraced the full potential of Twitch in this collaboration to create a truly live, interactive, never to be repeated experience. There is great overlap between the Twitch and Burberry superfans, creating a hugely impactful synergy between the two brands, said Rod Manley, Chief Marketing Officer at Burberry as mentioned on the brand news site. Besides greater visibility and buzz, many brands and e-commerce giants tap on gaming to drive e-commerce traffic. For instance, Net-a-Porter took us on a flight to fantasy fashion with its collab with the popular game, Nintendo Animal Crossing: New Horizons, launched in March 2020. Here joinees could explore their own digital avatars and see them dressing up in capsule collections, revelling into yoga, meditation or enjoying a cup of frothy coffee in a fantasy-fashion and gaming realm.
Italian luxury brand Gucci too collaborated with a quirky app named Zepeto, which transforms selfies into animated avatars.
Italian luxury brand Gucci too collaborated with a quirky app named Zepeto, which transforms selfies into animated avatars. The collab enables users to don their customised digital avatars with Gucci latest collections via in-app purchases. This is a more interesting way to showcase the latest collections in the virtual arena but reviews on Twitter suggest that Gucci could have brought in more cutting edge innovation.
While some fashion houses are collaborating with gaming companies, others took a quantum leap with in house fashion shows cum video games. For instance, Spanish brand Balenciaga dived us in an immersive videogame-like runway for its Fall 21 show titled, Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow that caused a furore in the fashion world. The show facilitated by VR headsets showed a futuristic world of 2031 where each player can choose an avatar donning Balenciaga latest collection pieces. It received path-breaking success in exhibiting the amalgamation of gaming and volumetric capture.
Spanish brand Balenciaga dived us in an immersive videogame-like runway for its Fall 21 show titled, Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow that caused a furore in the fashion world.
Besides fashion label marketability, gaming platforms are seeing an increase in revenue and popularity due to such collabs. Animal Crossing which provided succour and wonderful escape in lockdown has sold a whopping 32 million-plus copies till date as mentioned on its website. The game has been tapped on by leaimading fashion brands like Valentino, Marc Jacobs and many more which are available on the game’s digital store. On the other front, Zepeto Studio raked in 800 million in sales within one month of opening, as reported in its March 2020 release. This marks a win-win situation for both fashion and gaming giants.
While such innovation fetches a brand and gaming company greater visibility and economic returns, it is worth a watch if esports and gaming is going to stay as the fertile ground for fashion for long. This is particularly a tickling question when the world reopens after the Covid-19 era and physical runways purportedly takeover the digital ones. So if fashion and gaming integration is just a lucrative necessity for the present time, or will it become a force to reckon with, is keeping us all awake! Till then we all can revel in dressing our digital avatar with luxe collections and iconic makeup tricks.
Besides fashion label marketability, gaming platforms are seeing an increase in revenue and popularity due to such collabs.