How is Fashion Connected to Virtual Reality?
Our increasingly online world has become the ultimate tool for self-expression. New subcultures and trends are only a click away, and different industries must keep up with the times. The fashion industry has recognized the potential in appealing to a young audience through mediums they are most familiar with – gaming and social media.
Who would have guessed that someday video games would become an essential showcase for the fashion world? Designers and luxury brands have made the gaming industry their new playground for presenting their collections and shaking up the public’s buying habits. It seems that the idea is paying off, given the impact of these new technologies on a target group that is nevertheless difficult to win over.
According to the latest research, the gaming industry is altering the consumer landscape and challenging norms around marketing, entertainment, and community-building. But, how does it relate to fashion? Well, many gaming brands are capitalizing on this growing appetite for fashion by delivering exclusive virtual outfits made in collaboration with designers or celebrities.
A Phenomenon Impossible to Miss
It is beginning hard not to notice this implementation. We are used to seeing the collections of top fashion houses presented on catwalks. Now, some of them are being unveiled within video games. Some have even taken it a step further and started collaborating directly with industry giants to allow gamers to dress their avatars in looks from the latest collections. And judging by the success of these operations that trend will continue to spread at high speed.
One of the first platforms to experiment with high-fashion and gaming is Fortnite. It partnered up with superstar Ariana Grande to release the Rift Tour. As a result, gamers had the opportunity of playing as Ariana herself, and dressing her up in holographic mini dresses and her signature high ponytail.
Other fashion brands followed soon after. Balenciaga also seized the opportunity to collaborate with Fortnite. The game offers the option of dressing characters in the brand’s signature Triple-S sneakers and backpacks. However, this is not Balenciaga’s first step into the gaming world. Their fall 2021 collection last year debuted through their own video game titled Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, in which the characters modelled their new pieces.
Even before such fashion and video game crossovers took place at this level, luxury retailers attempted to lure gamers by casting avatars in real-life campaigns. These collaborations show a desire for both the fashion and gaming industries to piggyback off one another as a means to acquire new customers.
When we talk about the gaming industry, high fashion is not limited only to video games. It even stretched out into the world of online casinos. Dress code in casinos motivated world-leading designers like Givenchy and Michael Kors to organize casino-inspired fashion walks. For instance, Moschino delivered a Las Vegas-themed show in 2017, which saw famous models such as Miranda Kerr and Hailey Baldwin presenting the outfits. The models showcased some latest trends inspired by slot games that can be found on Best Casinos, the internet portal for online gaming. The looks included neon outfits, pastels, sequins, and more casino-themed clothes. This further proves the connection between fashion and all types of gaming.
Another trend not to be overlooked when it comes to combining fashion with all-things-virtual is the spectacular success enjoyed by virtual models and influencers. They might be just avatars, but nonetheless, they have managed to draw crowds and accumulate up to several million followers on social media networks. Some might say that this phenomenon was started by Forever 21. In 2011 the brand experimented with hologram models, while Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, presented a campaign worn by virtual models Margot, Zhi, and Shudu Gram in 2018.
The rise in popularity of virtual influencer models opened people’s eyes to the possibilities of what they could bring to the industry, especially with fashion brands in mind. It is impossible to avoid virtual influencers dressed in fashionable garb while scrolling through social media. The fashion landscape is rapidly expanding its virtual horizon to prepare for a future in lockstep with virtual influencers, the new key players in fashion marketing.
In a way, it is easy to understand the growing trend of virtual clothes and virtual models – both for the designers making them, and the fans buying them. Even for a moment gaming and social media offer an escape from reality, which is also something good fashion does. Witnessing all these upcoming trends only shows how there is a thin line between science fiction and reality. In the end, we can all agree that the virtual world of gaming and social media will continue to influence fashion trends, and vice versa.