The fashion industry and the digital world have begun to intertwine in recent years, with more advertising taking place over the internet than ever before, brands have looked to influencers and other means to push their clothes and brands.
Last Thursday Lone Design Club’s pop up store hosted a night with fashion tech company INTERLACED discussing the fashion industries relationship with the gaming industry, a billion-dollar industry that is rarely ever entered from the outside. Speakers included representatives from Bossa studios, Holition, Virtue and Sabinna, with the founder of INTERLACED Kristina Dimitrova moderating the talk, giving us a range of opinions from the digital, gaming and fashion worlds.
In recent years we have seen brands dabble with the gaming industry, earlier this year Moschino launched a collaborative collection with ‘The Sims’, a game played by over 80 million people worldwide. The collection was available both physically and digitally, with gamers being able to dress their characters in Moschino items. There was also a Louis Vuitton collection in 2016 that featured the lead character from ‘Final Fantasy’ called ‘Lightning’ at the front of their advertising campaign. A game that has over 100 million people playing it is sure to pull in customers from a different landscape, so why aren’t there more brands entering this world that clearly brings in a huge audience.
A key topic discussed was the rise of digital clothing, something that I wasn’t aware of its huge popularity. Carlings In collaboration with ‘Virtue’ last year produced a fully digital collection, with prices starting at £10 customers could send in a picture of themselves and would be sent the image back with them wearing the item of their choosing. Personally, I think that’s a far reach from becoming the norm however it was hugely popular and has even bagged itself the Grand Prix in Digital Craft at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity back in June. Due to the Instagram culture of never wearing an item twice, it provided a different means of users displaying their style and receiving the chemical hit of likes and approval from the app. The panel argued that digital clothing is the future of making clothing sustainable. Gone are the mass-producing factories and the carbon footprint that comes from deliveries and in its place is this alternate reality that people appear to be buying into.
The cult of Fortnite, a free to play game that has in the region of 2.4 billion people playing it, was a key point. On the game, players can buy skins to dress their characters in, like what Moschino did with Sims just on a whole different level. They argued that people bought into the idea of skins so heavily for a character then why wouldn’t they buy into digital clothes for themselves. Perhaps there’s a younger generation that connects with this world more so than myself, I just find the moment your buying clothes to photoshop onto yourself, that don’t exist in real life, treads a little too far into alternate reality territory for my liking. However, isn’t Instagram a sphere of alternate reality in itself? People only showcase what they want people to think of them so maybe there’s a huge market for it. The idea is certainly a sustainable one but perhaps you lose the normality of everyday life for it.
The event opened my eyes to several things in the digital world and just how closely the fashion world has grown towards it. It showed me that the gaming industry is clearly an open market for fashion to advertise in, after all, gaming is just another digital outlet, we use Instagram to push clothes so why don’t we use the gaming industry as well. Is it because the gaming industry has a reputation of being too male and full of ‘nerds’, or is it the fear of entering a territory they don’t quite understand? With the gaming world now more gender neutral than ever before, perhaps now is the time for the fashion and gaming industry to collaborate with one another more…