From catwalks to Fortnite: how much fashion is there in the multiverse?

Fashion and gaming are becoming more and more intertwined. With an absolute dominator, Fortnite, where Balenciaga released a digital capsule collection during the last fashion week. It’s a precise strategy, which in the past has involved Nike and other brands.

While last week Milan Fashion Week was living its virtual transposition thanks to a parallel event on Animal Crossing New Horizons, Fortnite – battle royale video game developed by Epic Games using the Unreal Engine platform – announced its new collaboration with fashion house Balenciaga, releasing a collection of in-game and limited edition physical clothes. The digital clothes thus repurpose the fall-winter 2021 medieval collection, armour-style pieces, as well as shredded jeans with suit lining, and an animal-striped look from its spring 2020 collection. But fashion culture, and streetwear, in particular, is not new to the gaming universe, and it certainly doesn’t escape the allure of the metaverse. Just think of recent examples such as Gucci Virtual 25, the virtual sneakers that can be purchased for a tenner, and “worn” thanks to a smartphone filter.

According to a report by the consulting firm Accenture, the global video game industry is worth over 300 billion dollars. Not only, therefore, products in their own right, but also real estate that other brands can use to advertise their non-digital merchandise. There are many signs of contamination, from Moschino within the universe of The Sims, to the collaboration between Louis Vuitton and the League of Legends video game. Balenciaga itself had presented its fall-winter 2021 collection with Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, a game that accompanied a digital catwalk and made by the same Unreal Engine platform.

Fortnite x Travis Scott

Fortnite, specifically, began its ascent with the numerous virtual events offered to the metaverse community at the beginning of the pandemic. Travis Scott is a prime example of this. The Texan singer has achieved planetary success by performing with concert-event virtual Astronomical, breaking the record of viewers connected simultaneously on the platform with the participation of over 12 million users. On the occasion of the date, Scott had also launched a capsule collection ad hoc in collaboration with the video game, with a wide variety of dedicated products, from the action figure of 30 centimetres of the skin Cactus Jack of Fortnite, up to an assortment of t-shirts.

But within the video game, the fashion industry market doesn’t stop at concerts and runways. “Fashion has a long history in the Fortnite community, where players need to show up the way they want to in our world,” says Epic Games president Adam Sussman during the capsule collection presentation with Balenciaga. “Self-expression is one of the things that makes it unique.” And it is from this expressive urgency that the new virtual “boutiques” are dedicated to skins. These aesthetic additions personalize the look of video game characters around which a market of 40 billion a year revolves.

In addition to the Spanish fashion house, Fortnite also entertains a collaboration with Nike, which began in 2019 with the launch of Hang Time Bundle, two outfits equipped with Air Jordan. Also, with the participation of the multinational, last July appeared in the game the skins dedicated to NBA star LeBron James in two versions: a normal one with sports clothes and another modelled after his role in the upcoming film Space Jam: A New Legacy, but both sport the next shoe of the player, the Nike LeBron 19.

Fortnite x Puma

In collaboration with Puma, however, the Neymar Jr. x PUMA Crazy Playground project was born. In the video game last April, the special event Neymar Jr Cup, a tournament to be played solo, during which the best player in each country gets a pair of sneakers Puma x Fortnite Future Z as a gift. The model (limited edition and not for sale) is worn during the semi-final between PSG and Manchester City by Neymar Jr.

Further example is Havaianas Summer Island, a giant island in the shape of Havaianas flip-flops separated into three scenarios to reflect the characteristics of the countries where the new models would be launched. In fact, the Havaianas vs. Fortnite collection features different prints with the most iconic elements of the game such as the Unicorn Llama Pickaxe or the Battle Bus, a means of transport that each player must use at the beginning of the games. All that’s left to do is collect them all to reach the final goal.

Fortnite x Havaianas

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