Fashion brands have always been given plenty of bang for their buck when partnering with celebrities. Film stars, musicians, sports stars and artists help these brands extend into new markets, whilst reaching newly engaged audiences. However, times are a changing. And the global explosion of online and mobile gaming - which boasts millions of dedicated fans - has given fashion brands a new way to talk to people.
YPulse’s research on gaming found that 38% of 13-36-year-olds play video games on a computer, and 63% play mobile games weekly. With the global video game industry predicted to grow to $300bn by 2025, there is a massive opportunity for fashion brands to get involved - especially on mobile.
Mobile games fit perfectly into our quick, ‘grab and go’ society, where our experiences are sectioned into smaller and smaller gaps, like waiting for your latte or sitting in an Uber.
As is evident from the massive variation in gaming collaborations that are out there, the world of gaming is not as simple as sponsoring a kit, gifting a musician or licensing from a film. This space is much more open. It’s a constantly evolving canvas for innovative ways to reach new audiences.
This is driven by the ability to build products, stories and influencers into an existing game, as well as the popularity of live-streaming games allowing synergy between IRL and in-game experiences.
To engage effectively in this space, brands must think differently. W&K Tokyo’s Strategy Director, Thijs van de Wouw, said, “I think the problem is that brands are treating it almost like traditional sport, which means most of the efforts look traditional.”
With this trend exploding all round us, it’s a really exciting time, here’s three best-in-class examples of brands bridging the gap between fashion and gaming.
B-Bounce by Burberry
Burberry, forever at the forefront of digital in fashion, were one of the first to kick off gaming and luxury fashion’s love affair with arcade-style mini-games on WeChat in China.
B-Bounce, Burberry’s first game for a global audience, was released after finding a “huge appetite” for gaming among younger shoppers. Players select a monogram puffer (their signature raincoat for the season) and then jump from platform to platform avoiding ‘British weather’ and collecting Burberry logos.
For players that reach 1500 metres, there’s the opportunity to win a puffer jacket. Senior vice president of digital commerce at Burberry said, “We know that our customers are living in an increasingly gamified environment, both online and offline.”
Unlike PC and console games, the male/female ratio is a near 50/50 split on mobile, which makes it a perfect ground for fashion brands like Burberry who skew towards a female audience.
Louis Vuitton X League of Legends
Louis Vuitton are collaborating with cult, fantasy game, League of Legends on a World Championship Trophy Travel Case and collection of in-game skins - designed by Nicolas Ghesquiére, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton Women.
Louis Vuitton are dressing a new hip-hop supergroup created by League of Legends, ‘True Damage’, which is made up of real artists from the US and South Korea. The group will be transported into the game for players to play as, as well as playing IRL at events and competitions. The supergroup are already the fifth female act to top Billboard’s World Digital sales charts. Billboard commented that e-sports and games are going to be big indicators of hit songs.
The League of Legend’s World Championship has one of the biggest viewerships in the world, with 99.6 million viewers tuning in for last years competition in South Korea. For context, that’s more people than watched the Super Bowl in 2019 (98.2million), so it’s no surprise Louis Vuitton has chosen to engage this massive, predominantly Asian, audience.
The outfits will be available for purchase in-game by players, there’s also an IRL capsule collection in the works.
‘Gears 5’ & AAPE by *A Bathing Ape Collaboration
Gears 5 is an Xbox third-person shooter game, they have collaborated with Japanese streetwear brand AAPE by *A Bathing Ape.
The cult-like connection fans have with both streetwear and gaming means this is a rich space for gaining new fans and cross pollinating different audience groups.
Just like in League of Legends, Gears has great cultural crossovers. Members of the rap group Run The Jewels are all playable characters, and the game also features many anime characters from Japanese shows.
The AAPE x Gears partnership includes an all-new clothing line and in-game cosmetics, something that’s new for streetwear, an industry that has previously only worked on IRL collections. Most of the in-game guns, masks, skins and accessories can only be purchased by people who’ve purchased the IRL collection.
Using the immense fan base of Gears, as well as the crossovers with music and Japanese culture, makes perfect sense for AAPE, as it attempts to extend into North America.
SEEN. has been compiled by our Junior Strategist, Alex. Want to say hello, ask questions or question his cultural knowledge? Throw an email over to email@example.com. Or you can find LOVE in all the usual places: