The announcement, this Monday, September 20, of a partnership between the video game Fortnite and Balenciaga may surprise gaming enthusiasts. This is the first time in the history of this game with 350 million players worldwide that its publisher has agreed to work with a luxury brand. However, it will surprise regulars in the fashion industry a little less. Because it’s been a long time since its actors court gamers, who in a few years passed from the status of pimply teenagers to that of representatives of one of the most “hype” cultures of the moment:
“ Today, the player takes responsibility, asserts himself, and his practice becomes a status to be proclaimed in the playground as in the office. Basically, video games have become a lifestyle, a real art of living ” Boris Manenti summed up on “The Obs” in January 2021 to explain the emergence of this “subculture” to all strata of society, and especially in the world of fashion and luxury.
The day playing video games got cool
And to explain that in 2020, 36 million French people played video games at least occasionally, with an average age of 40 years, against 21 years in 2000 (according to the Syndicate of Leisure Software Publishers). What changes, it is true, gives it a lot, and largely explains the new attraction for these virtual worlds. Particularly in fashion, where the big brands regularly attempt noticeable forays. So in The Sims, Second Life, or quite recently, during confinement, in Animal Crossing.
Virtual … and real outfits
The Balenciaga house is also not at its first attempt. And she had chosen to unveil her fall 2021 collection through… an ephemeral video game: “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow”. The spectator-player was then invited to project himself into a world where avatars dressed in armor or patched jeans, carried the brand’s collection.
The metaverse, destination of the future?
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With Fortnite, the concept is a little different: the outfits from the house of Balenciaga will be accessible through the game store. Clothing, but also backpacks, sneakers, and iconic tools will also be available. These virtual products can be used in several game modes. And for those who wish to mix virtual and real worlds, the luxury brand has planned to put on sale in stores (physical this time, or on balenciaga.com), an edition limited products, such as hoodies, shirts, jackets, caps. Obviously with the Fortnite and Balenciaga logos.