NIntendo Animal Crossing, the the best-selling pandemic coronavirus game, has become an outlet that is impossible for fashion fans in lockdowns. Avatar has used bootleg creations inspired by the Prada, Gucci, Chanel and Thierry Mugler catwalks or created specifically for cyberspace by designers including Marc Jacobs, who have created collection of six strong for games, and Valentino.
There are various ways to get new clothes in this soothing cyber society where players can pick fruit and make friends with anthropomorphic animals. Capable Sisters, tailor shop in the game run by two hedgehogs, it has become as discussed in several places such as Harvey Nichols. Here, players can “buy” anything from pleather masks to neon tights using game bells.
But the players aren’t limited to Nintendo’s predetermined designs – the ability to create custom designs has caused many riffs on high fashion and streetwear look. There are hoodies from the cult streetwear brands Bathing Ape and Virgil Abloh’s Off-White; nodding clothes to names that are well-loved in the fashion industry such as Sacai and Jacquemus; and even wet tops that are inspired by sexy male fashion designers, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, and now it’s famous “Fuck Boris” design Tottenham Sports Banger-based pirated label.
A number of experienced makers trigger high game mode credentials. Richmond Young is a web developer who has given players the opportunity to wear the latest performances from Bottega Veneta, Dries Van Noten, Louis Vuitton and Gucci via Cross the Runway, Instagram account dedicated to Animal Crossing mode. “People put serial numbers in their games, the clothes arrive in their closets, and they can wear them right away,” he explained
This is not the first time fashion has switched to video games – Jeremy Scott of Moschino designs clothes for the EA simulation game, The Sims, temporary Nike has collaborated with Fortnite on the digital version of the iconic Air Jordan trainer of the brand. But it plays a unique role in Animal Crossing because, says Guardian video game editor Keza MacDonald, “it’s a game about self-expression”,
“A lot of games allow you to choose clothes, but Animal Crossing allows you to choose all elements clothes, from socks and hats and shoes to dresses, turn-ups, shorts, parkas … that make Animal Crossing clothes feel unique, “he said. Looks range from “funny to traditional, or madcap to earthy, so you can walk around with a frog hat and a pair of orange leggings or compose a casual-blazer-and-chinos smart-casual combo.”
Shel Orock, an industrial designer and co-founder of Crossing the Runway, believes that this appeal is similar to Instagram #OOTD: “Many people can’t go out and flex their clothes and show it off, and this is how we play into it. “
In this world, unlike the original, designer threads come free. “This is a way to liven up fashion fantasy without having to pay a heavy price,” said Michele Yue, one of the founders Nook Street Market (NSM) on Instagram, the play at the famous Dover Street Market, with 23k + followers who were offered an appearance from Molly Goddard to YSL.
While some brands may not be happy about the design they are riding, in the experience of Vivian Loh, another NSM founder, “their designers and teams are often very receptive.” Orock has a similar reaction: “Social media JW Anderson recently featured our work in their Instagram story.”
According to the label based in New York City Barragán, whose clothes have appeared in the game: “We were really happy when gamers started marking and our DM showed off their creations. We like to think of it as a form of respect and praise. “Fellow New York brands Vaquera, whose designs also appear on avatars from time to time, see it in the same way: “It is inspiring to see how people use Animal Crossing to bring to life fantasy, whether it’s in clothes, gardening or dream homes.” Although none of them own the Nintendo Switch and therefore cannot play, “we really want to make our own Vaquera Island”.
Although there is no real money exchange, there are non-digital prizes for brands, and many seem to enjoy the exposure. Plus, as said Dominic Lopezone, one of the founders of the Happy99 streetwear brand the Business Mode industry website from a 30% increase after releasing a collection on the game: “I think there’s a pretty good bond between having an in-game hoodie and then deciding to buy a hoodie so you match your avatar.”
This peak of interest for digital fashion comes at a time when pandemics are increasingly forcing the industry, from fashion week to photo shoot, online. The first fully virtual virtual fashion week in the world takes place in Shanghai in March, with Russia following the London fashion week and the men’s fashion show last week planned as a digital event.
In this context, Animal Crossing helps open conversations about the form of fashion in the future, Young thought. “We as consumers need to see this as adapting to new ways to shop, new ways to dress up – and fashion companies can see this as a new way that people can do in fashion.”
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