Competing – be it as an athlete or a gamer – requires kit. So collaborations between sportswear brands and Esports has always felt like a natural fit. But what about high fashion. Seems like a stretch right? Actually, no.
Luxury labels are already involved – connecting with Esports’ highly engaged audiences and fans. So how do brands, not native to the space, authentically interact with its audience and leverage that fandom? Just like they’ve done for decades, by connecting with the youth culture zeitgeist through clever partnerships and influencer collaborations. Here’s some of our favourite gaming collabs to date:
“Gucci hasn’t just dipped its loafered toes in the gaming world. They’ve dived straight in.”
Gucci x 100 Thieves & Fnatic
Gucci hasn’t just dipped its loafered toes in the gaming world. They’ve dived straight in. This week saw its latest collab launch with Esports organisation and lifestyle brand 100 Thieves. The collection, which Gucci describes as “drawing on the shared values of freedom and self-expression” launches exclusively for users with a registered MY GUCCI account – clever – on July 19.
Elevating gamers to the status of tier one fashion influencers, Esports organisation Fnatic were also invited to Gucci’s AW20 menswear fashion show in Milan, bringing their followers along (virtually, of course) to experience it too. And just as luxury brands work with talent to create limited edition collections – so has Gucci with top gamers. Pro-gamer Martin Larsson and his team Fnatic designed their very own “Gucci Dive” watch – aimed at their young, super-engaged +15 million fans; talk about a captive audience.
Louis Vuitton ‘League of Legends’ Trophy Case
The iconic French house began their relationship with Riot Games’ League of Legends by designing Prestige skins for Qiyana and Senna – dressing the game’s characters as if collaborating with IRL influencers. Since then, LV has teamed up with the WORLDS tournament to design its trophy case, a project that took over 900 hours of work and then release an IRL Louis Vuitton x League of Legends capsule collection.
Adidas x Ninja
Joining Adidas’ roll call of superstar brand ambassadors is 29-year-old American gamer Tyler Blevins, AKA Ninja. Proving gamers’ commercial power as fashion and sportswear influencers – his bespoke Nite Jogger sneakers sold out in under one hour. Not its first rodeo – Adidas also partnered with French Esports organisation Team Vitality back in 2017 on an exclusive sneaker collaboration, bringing together highly engaged Esports fans with hype enthusiasts and lovers of all things rare and collectable – sneakerheads.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Refreshingly democratic, this was fashion week – if Gen Z were asked to design the entire experience from scratch. Firstly, it lived within Animal Crossing. That means no air miles, no waiting six months for the clothes to be available and everyone’s invited. Designers Marc Jacobs, Valentino & Sandy Liang virtually showcased collections in the form of downloadable outfits designed within the game – so 11 million people worldwide could dress their characters in RTW for free.
Musicians – not just brands – are using gaming platforms to reach millions more (especially during a time when IRL experiences are on pause or scaled down) to do in-game appearances and even live performances. Fortnite is leading the charge here – hosting an exclusive Easy Life concert at the (virtual) O2 Arena, playing six songs from their debut album, each accompanied by a unique world the player will be transported to. US rapper Travis Scott recently made his virtual debut on Fortnite last month bringing in a record-breaking 12.3m live viewers. Still convinced gaming is a niche crowd?
Brands like Gucci are leading the charge, inviting anyone and everyone into their virtual world and giving an unusually inclusive feel to luxury, proving the opportunities are endless. Developers and app owners have the power – and resources – to create platforms and opportunities for bigger, better, bespoke branded partnerships. Gaming – a visual endeavour with language and cultural nuances less front of mind – gives brands the opportunity to reach new global audiences, and the chance to test those markets before making any huge investments or commitments.
Interested in the big, bad world of gaming, but not sure how to tie it into your next influencer marketing campaign? If you’d like to know more or want to bring an idea to life in the gaming space, drop us a line at email@example.com.