Disclaimer: I'm not an experienced 'gamer': maybe a brief flirtation with The Sims here and a watchful eye over an ex-boyfriend playing Spider Man there. Though, I am very much in the minority here - women reportedly make up over 60 percent of mobile gamers and Netflix revealed this summer they "compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO." The fashion industry is only just tapping into this market, with the aim of attracting consumers to play games with - and ultimately purchase - apparel in digital forms. It makes sense. The principle is pretty similar whether it's a game-game or a 'fashion game': you choose your avatar; you dress them; you pay extra £££ for 'special' accessories that may help you get to a higher level in the virtual (and maybe IRL) world. Think a 2019 reboot of Cher Horovitz 'Dress Me' digital closet in Clueless. Fashion's foray into the mobile-playing market is just getting started...
Burberry recently launched B Bounce, a game in which players bounce animated deer - dressed in the brand's new puffer jacket collection - to the moon, gaining extra speed by collecting gold TB logos and drones. It isn't only mobile-based, however - visitors to Burberry's Regent Street flagship are also able to play on the big screen in store, with prizes (real life and digital) up for grabs.
Louis Vuitton is getting in on the virtual action, too, having recently announced a collaboration with cult battle game, League of Legends. Creative director Nicolas Ghesquière has designed in-game character skins and a capsule collection, as well as an LV trophy travel case for the Summoner’s Cup, which will be awarded in November following the LoL World Championship. On the topic of vast reach, last year the event drew almost 100 million viewers. It isn't the label's first foray into VR, either. In 2016, Ghesquière cast Final Fantasy character Lightning - a pink-haired avatar - as a campaign star.
Then there are the apps that allow users access to the exclusive world of high fashion. Recently launched Ada is created by System Magazine founders and fashion insiders Elizabeth von Guttman and Alexia Niedzielski, with gaming aficionado Andy Ku. It works on the principle that contemporary consumers might covet digital items as much as they do the real thing, and brands such as Dior, Balmain, Miu Miu, Christopher Kane and Mary Katrantzou are already on board. Users create looks on an avatar version of themselves via a Clueless-esque virtual wardrobe filled with purchases from the labels' latest collections. The customisation doesn't stop at clothes - your 3D-digital self lives in a luxury apartment which can be decorated with designer interiors from the likes of Armani/Casa.
Completing the new luxury VR ventures is styling start-up Drest, from former Harper's Bazaar and Porter editor Lucy Yeomans who swapped glossies for gaming this summer. When the game launches officially next year, players will be put in the shoes of virtual stylist, dressing supermodel and celebrity avatars in designs from labels, such as Stella McCartney, Prada and Valentino (around 140 brands have signed up so far), for shoots and events, with hair styles to select from Josh Wood and make-up looks by Mary Greenwell. Combining the virtual with the reality, the real-life versions can be purchased on Farfetch.
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