Fashion Gamification - The Style Game

Burberry, Balenciaga and Co – This is how the biggest fashion houses are conquering the gaming world
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Picture: Justin Peralta

With the fashion industry's digitalization, social media campaigns, influencer marketing, virtual reality experiments, and many more new tactics came to the fore. The tech transformation of fashion has greatly sharpened guns to increase brand reach and multiply revenues. The fashion industry has long been at home in the digital world, but what we see in recent months takes it a step further. Some fashion brands and designers are entering gaming territory: Collections are being launched in games like Animal Crossing or Pokemon Go, and limited-edition pieces are up for grabs only in Sims. What's the deal with this new virtual fashion market, and why are these clothes that we can't even really wear so desirable?

Gamification describes the use of gaming aspects in a non-gaming context. Luxury brands are primarily addressing a new target group with this new strategy: Tomorrow's customers. These consumers are still in their teens today, and most of them will not have the purchasing power for luxury brands in the next few years. However, Gen Z defines luxury differently than other generations; luxury is no longer just expensive and exclusive; it is much more about experiences and uniqueness. Thus, we see numerous fashion gamers virtually dressed in Gucci, Balenciaga, and the like - but how do you get your hands on the rare pieces?

The North Face and Gucci collaborate to give away pieces of their latest collection at more than 100 PokéStops worldwide in the Pokémon Go app. The clothing and accessories are from The North Face x Gucci collection and can be donned on the game's avatar. While the pieces are dropped worldwide, they are limited and only available at certain PokéStops, unknown to players. In addition to PokéStops, the in-game garments can also be obtained at select Gucci stores and several "Gucci Pins Experience" locations.

Recently, Balenciaga's Spring 2021 Fashion Show was on top of everyone’s mind: An immersive fashion film presented the collection in the first-person-mode of a video game. The game, called "Afterworld: The age of Tomorrow," is set in 2031 and is said to project timeless archetypes and speculative imagery of the future. Balenciaga's video game is available at and can actually be played in addition to the stunning show. Those who play through the game are in for a joyful surprise.

Even before Balenciaga's Afterworld, Burberry launched a multiplayer game called B Surf as part of their TB Summer Monogram campaign. The fashion house invites players to an immersive experience of the Burberry TB Summer Monogram collection through the game. The game revolves around a race on the water - players can choose their surfboards and dress their avatars in the TB Summer Monogram collection. It's possible to race against an unknown opponent from all around the world and challenge a direct friend. If that wasn't enough, Burberry is also giving away daily prizes and offering the chance to snag digital rewards, such as an exclusive VR-face filter.

Last April, Nintendo collaborated with lifestyle and e-sports organization 100 Thieves. An entire collection of the lifestyle brand was launched in the game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Until now, any drops from 100 Thieves were hard to get your hands on. As soon as a new hoodie or sweater appeared, it was immediately sold out. With the Animal Crossing drop, any player can easily download a design for free and put it on their character in the game. Over the course of the year, the individual pieces were subsequently launched IRL as well.

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