Fashion X Gaming: the Intertwining of Clothing and Video Game Design

Fashion has come a long way over the past few decades, and so have video games. Here, we’ll look at ways in which fashion design and gaming have crossed paths to create unique opportunities from such an unlikely partnership.

Fashion design in gaming

The design of clothing and costumes in video games has attracted more attention in recent years. As more games are being produced and played in higher definitions, there is a greater emphasis on even the stitching, textures, movement, and ergonomics of the clothing to ensure the gameplay is as realistic and immersive as possible.

This is the case with online casino games. If you head to an online slots site, the clothing designs of all characters – whether they are interactive or pictured on a token – will have been intricately crafted.

In slots, the visuals of the gameplay makes it immersive, making aesthetic choices combined with popular iconography. The main character of Jasmine Dreams boasts an Arabian-themed outfit in vibrant magenta, coupled with opulent golden accessories and an embroidered headscarf, tying the characterization into the backdrop of a Middle-Eastern cityscape.

On the other hand, Lots of Likes features an influencer-like character sporting a flattering blue dress, carrying her pampered pooch through the luxury villa in a designer handbag. In each case, the clothing choices for the characters really bring the game together and make their motivations more believable.

One step further: Fashion x Game partnerships

In December 2020, the Grand Theft Auto franchise announced partnerships between real-world fashion designers and video games, capitalizing on the trend that originated and ramped up throughout 2020. In Grand Theft Auto V, the gameplay features three characters as part of the Cayo Perico Heist update – based on real-life German DJs Adam Port, Rampa, and ME of Keinemusik, just to blur the lines even further – who don the clothes of Polish streetwear brand MISBHV and skatewear brand Civilist Berlin.

The individual clothing pieces can be purchased by players in the five virtual fashion stores in Los Santos. These stores often contain parodies of real fashion brands – however, Rockstar Games decided to partner up with MISBHV and Civilist after noticing that their branded clothing could be spotted in exclusive nightclubs around the globe, which encapsulated the vibe they wanted to portray with The Music Locker underground nightclub.

Another game developer that partnered with real-life fashion brands in 2020 was Nintendo, bringing designer customizations to its vast audience of millennials. According to Forbes, the popularity of this feature is potentially down to millennials having little disposable income to spend on designer clothing, and so turning to digital customizable games to purchase the designer brands they might not otherwise invest in reality. High-end streetwear and designer brands like Marc Jacob, Kirin, Sandy Liang, and Valentino have made collections purchasable within games’ digital clothing stores.

Nintendo went one step further with their partnerships – in late 2021, beauty and fashion brands began creating their own islands within certain games. Brands like Gucci, Pandora, and Ted Baker all designed custom islands, inspired by their respective branding. Most notably, H&M used the platform to release its vegan clothing collection, debuting it on Looop Island.

What comes next? We will have to wait and see. The fresh opportunities this presents for the fashion industry are plentiful.

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