Since the pandemic struck the world and flung us all into the rabbit hole of isolation, one would only wonder if the world still cares about fashion. Is fantasizing allowed in the pandemic? Are people even willing to buy new clothes? If not, what will happen to an industry worth 1.1tn euro that employs over 430 million people across the globe?
Just like the rest of the industries, the fashion industry has been forced to adopt new approaches to lift up the excitement in a year where massive physical launches are like a suicide invitation. They have experimented with a variety of measures to keep their income flowing and fashion institutions afloat without exposing themselves to the risk of catching covid. Some observed small-scale shows with a reduced number of audiences, while others turned to online platforms to launch their collection.
Obviously, blockbuster runway shows are out of the question, which have now been replaced by digital presentations and zoom calls.
But among all, Persian brand Balenciaga stood out with its unique and revolutionary approaches in times when mainstream online channels have failed to deliver.
After a successful launch of its Summer 21 pre-collection with a proficiently-produced video song “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night,” Balenciaga is all set to make its debut on a new medium: Video Games!
Set in the year 2031, Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow is an “allegorical adventure” in which a protagonist’s style/clothing advances throughout different zones, motivated by challenges and engagements. The idea to experiment with “pixels” was proposed by Creative Directive Demma Gvasalia, who seeks for innovative ways to display collection outside of conventional catwalk presentations.
Judging by the game’s description, it sounds like any other regular games from Super Mario to Wolfenstein. But, of course, the subject matter here is not actually a game but the brand’s fall collection 2021. The game Afterworld is set to launch on 6th December, 2020; it will be playable through web browsers.
Balenciaga’s upcoming collection focuses on the theme of “human destiny,” displayed through an interactive, gaming journey. It features the gradual return to a “healthier balance of nature and industry,” and on completing the game, consumers will be awarded with a “reality-based breathing maneuver set in a virtual utopia.”
In simple words, it won’t be a super hit digital game, incase that’s what you’re wondering.
In January 2021, Balenciaga was expected to resume its couture heritage after a 52-year break with the last collection displayed by the Mainson’s founder, Cristobal Balenciaga. But because of the pandemic, the show has been postponed until July 2021, with only one haute couture event per year.
While many fashion brands has been planning of cutting down global fashion events and altering the calendar into a more attainable season, Balenciaga has confidently paved its own path and continue to unveil its collections. The brand announced that it will display pre-collection during fashion weeks in September and March and launch its mainline collections in December and June.
Over the past few years, video games have been used as a new medium for numerous advertisements and promotional campaigns. In 2017, Porsche launched the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS at Microsoft’s
E3 conference, where the company announced that the latest model would be on the cover of Forza Motorsport 7. Guns n’ Roses launched its song “Shackler’s Revenge” in Rock Band 2. Weezer also jumped on the bandwagon when it launched some of the songs from Black Album in Fortnite.
And even Joe Biden and Kamala Harris brought their 2020 Presidential campaign to Animal Crossing: The New Horizon video game.
Recently, the relationship between fashion world and video games has grown stronger. Just last year, League of Legends developer Riot Games said that Luis Vuitton would be designing latest in-game and real-world items as per the game’s theme. Another high-profile collaborations between the two worlds included Travis Scott’s exclusive limited-edition PlayStation sneakers.
Inspired by Death Stranding, renowned fashion brand “Acronym” designed a jacket and sold it for $1,785.
Many fashion brands have now started considering video games as an effective medium to reach new consumers and generate potential revenue. Previously, fashion brands like Marc Jacobs and Valentino entered the world of online gaming by designing garments to dress characters of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing video game.
Last year in October, Gucci fashion company announced a partnership with Drest, an engaging fashion styling application that challenges users to produce ad hoc looks and earn credits by using the garment of famous brands. On the high street Uniqlo also revealed to have signed a deal with Pokémon Go.
It remains to be seen whether Balenciaga’s latest maneuver involving a video game turns out to be successful or falls flat on the face.