Fashion Industry Leverages Games, Apps and Virtual Shows

Fashion lovers now have games designed just for them, including “Drest,” which debuted in 2019, the brainchild of former editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar UK Lucy Yeomans. Louis Vuitton collaborated with Riot Games on prestige skins for the League of Legends World Championship Finals and Riot is now teaming with Japanese casual wear retailer UNIQLO. High-fashion outfits from Marc Jacobs and Valentino have appeared in the video game series “Animal Crossing.” Luxury fashion brands are increasingly drawn to partake in the game industry, which made $175 billion in 2020.

Wired reports that, “the Entertainment Software Association found that women account for 41 percent of all gamers in the United States.” “Drest” allows users to “pay to unlock goodies or book supermodel shoots with digital versions of Natalia Vodianova and Precious Lee.” “Drest” also partnered with Warner Bros. on “Wonder Woman 1984,” “complete with players using costumes from the movie to dress their avatars.”

Pushed to digital platforms by the COVID-19 store closures, fashion is now finding new ways to reach consumers. Balenciaga debuted “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow,” a retro video game that showcases its 2021 collection. Within 48 hours of its release, “searches for the brand on Lyst rose by 41 percent” and it’s now ranked No. 2 in the most recent Lyst Index.

Head of content and strategy Michaela Larosse at The Fabricant noted that, “gamification is going to influence many things, but there’s an obvious application for fashion.” “Fashion is meant to be this playful arena where you should be able to express yourself and you should be able to experiment,” she said.

Yeomans believes that gaming not only provides “deep immersion” but also allows luxury brands to retain their “messaging, iconography, and integrity.” Then there are the e-commerce sales. While playing “Drest,” for example, “garments can be purchased via the website Farfetch.” She also wants to engage shoppers by giving them access to her editor’s toolkit and inviting them to “mold” the game.

At London College of Fashion’s Fashion Innovation Agency, head Matthew Drinkwater noted that, “these experiences increase dwell time, make consumers feel more connected to the brand, and make them value physical products more highly.” “We are undoubtedly entering into an entirely new era of experiential retail,” he said.

Elsewhere, Wired reports that,” the online metaverse and social networking site IMVU grew by 44 percent during the pandemic.” Its 7-million monthly active mostly-female users “create personal avatars and dress them in clothes designed by fellow users … bought with credits paid for with real money.” The virtual store offers 50 million items made by 200,000+ creators, and 14 billion in credits (or $14 million) “exchanges hands in over 27 million transactions each month.”

Now, IMVU director of marketing Lindsay Aamodt is “spearheading a first-of-its-kind virtual fashion show on [the site] that unites … real-world labels … with expert creators.” The show will stream May 27, after which users will be able to buy and dress their avatars in outfits shown on the virtual runway.

Roblox Fans Are Buying Digital Gucci Bags for Thousands of Dollars, Polygon, 5/21/21

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