One thing that was clear this year was the continuing blurring of the gaming and fashion worlds. It didn’t matter if it was the announcement of Meta or the group of individuals who were turning to the comforts of the digital realm, it seemed like many were shifting their focus to online self, something that high-end fashion brands clearly saw a market for.
Brands specifically looked at established gaming platforms that allow players to navigate fully-constructed worlds using customisable avatars. Major fashion houses have explored this market by launching virtual collections and brand content.
FashionUnited has collected some of the most noteworthy gaming collaborations that took place between 2021 and now. These collaborations saw fashion break through traditional boundaries and enter the virtual realm.
March: Burberry and Honor Of Kings
Burberry has released new designs for Honor of Kings, a continuation of the previous partnership. Yao, the game’s heroine was given two new skins. They were inspired by outfits from Burberry’s spring/summer 2021 collections. The classic Burberry trench was included in one of the skins. It comes with a beige color scheme and the check lining. The looks were available for purchase online, in-game and in shops in mainland China.
April: H&M and Animal Crossing
H&.M created an island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons to promote its Looop garment recycling machine. It was designed with sustainability in mind. Players can explore the island and then recycle their outfits at a virtual clothing station. The Looop Island noticeboard allowed players to interact with it and learn more about recycling.
May: Gucci & Roblox
Roblox saw Gucci, a luxury house, make an unexpected appearance as a virtual garden in the game’s digital realm. Inspired by the creative vision of Gucci, the activation was created as an exhibition that allows users to explore different rooms. At the entrance, avatars of players were transformed into neutral mannequins, which adjusted to their room, creating a completely unique experience for each user.
In-game purchases of virtual Gucci products were also possible. The collaboration was hugely popular, with one digital bag selling on the platform for 4,115 dollars, nearly 1,000 dollars more than its physical counterpart.
August: Ralph Lauren and Zepeto
Zepeto, a social networking site, became the home to several digital Ralph Lauren collections. The lines are reminiscent of Ralph Lauren’s physical clothing. There were 50 items that users could choose from to dress up their avatars in the game, including exclusive accessories and skateboards. The brand’s digital elements, including its Madison Avenue Flagship, were also created. Users could also visit it and explore.
Ralph Lauren hosted a virtual event to celebrate the launch of the experience. The avatars from Tomorrow X Together were there alongside visitors.
September: Fortnite and Balenciaga
Balenciaga, a high-end fashion brand, took Fortnite to digitalise its luxury fashion. The game featured items based on real collections. Players had the option to visit an ingame Balenciaga store, or to use a specially-created dance by the brand.
The brand also offered physical merchandise. However, the in-game experience was very popular. However, the brand was criticised for selling 700-dollar physical t-shirts that were targeted at Fortnite’s younger demographic.
October: Animal Crossing and Pandora
The jewellery brand has launched an Animal Crossing island in continuation of its Pandora Me collection launch. It was inspired by the star-studded campaign. In addition to virtual brand locations, players were able to visit virtual homes that mirrored the celebrity ambassadors of the brand, such as CharliXCX or Beabadoobee. Each avatar was also available in the form a player’s avatar. Players could also recreate Pandora’s Chiang Mai factory and use similar materials to make the Pandora Me collection.
November: Roblox in Nikeland
The Roblox platform was used by Nike to create a brand experience called Nikeland. The virtual world was inspired by real-life locations. It also featured a digital showroom with Nike products that can be worn by avatars. With the introduction of an “accelerometer”, the virtual space was made physical by transferring offline movements into online play. This allowed for rewards and encouragement to encourage kids to move.
November: Fashion Awards and Roblox
Roblox was popular throughout the year, and attracted the British Fashion Council to its platform with over 43 million users. The Fashion Awards presented Metaverse Design as the new award category. A replica avatar of Gucci’s creative chief, Alessandro Michele, received the award.
Visitors to the virtual ceremony could also visit a virtual Royal Albert Hall to view a virtual collection of items and try them on. A variety of digital Gucci products were also available for sale, with all proceeds going to the BFC Foundation.
November: Stefan Cooke & The Sims 4
Stefan Cooke, a London-based designer, brought his forward-thinking message and a 23-piece menswear collection of Simified versions of his real-world designs to The Sims 4. The creations included a varsity jacket, a men’s skirt, and suits. Cooke’s values of individuality, inclusive acceptance, and creativity were the inspiration behind them.
July Special Mentions: Off-White, Virgil Abloh and Katsu
Off-White has released a mobile app featuring its former creative director, Virgil Abloh, in collaboration with Katsu, a New York City graffiti artist. The game was launched before the duo’s collaboration collection. It was part of the Offkat project that included a range menswear and ladieswear inspired by the artist.
The game required players to navigate Abloh and Katsu through a virtual town, which was built on the collaboration. They had to avoid police as they attempted to spray graffiti onto buildings.
August: Louis Vuitton’s anniversary game for 200
Louis Vuitton launched an interactive game inspired by the life and times of its founder as part of their 200th anniversary. The house’s mascot, who was able to travel through six imagined worlds, took the player on a journey through a forest, metropolis, island, and finally reached a special birthday destination. To unlock new levels and collect monogram candles, the character had to collect them all.
In addition to 30 non-fungible tokens, the game featured an integration of blockchain technology. 10 tokens were created by Beeple, a digital artist.
October: Selfridges and Charli Cohen for Pokemon’s silver anniversaries
Although it is not considered a game by Charli Cohen, the virtual world she created with Selfridges offered a unique experience that changed how people shop. Electric/City’s shopping platform allowed users to “walk” through a virtual world to explore various elements of the campaign.
Virtual performances are featured in the world, as well as opportunities to purchase the Cohen’s Pokemon collection via augmented reality merchandise vans. The’streets’ featured clickable symbols that provided additional information about the line. It included both digital pieces and physical pieces, so you can choose from multiple wear options.