Luxury Fashion Brands Are Turning To Gaming To Attract New Shoppers


“The pandemic has accelerated the general visibility of these subcultures which have a huge impact,” says Benoit Pagotto, one of the three co-founders of RTFKT Studios, suppliers of virtual sneakers and NFT collectibles. His recent collaboration with virtual sneakers with Fewocious raised over $ 3 million.

Some of the more adventurous luxury fashion brands are already experimenting with immersive play, like Balenciaga’s retro video game Afterworld: The era of tomorrow, that the brand launched to present its fall 2021 collection. Recognized as an industrial example of fashion and gaming working wonderfully together, Afterworld immerses players in the brand’s identity using Epic’s three-dimensional capture and Unreal engine.

Courtesy of Manufacturer

The move caught the attention of buyers. According to figures from the shopping app Lyst, which explored the rise of digital fashion in a recent report with the Manufacturer, 48 hours after the release of the Balenciaga game, the brand’s searches on Lyst increased by 41%. In the latest Lyst index, released quarterly, Balenciaga was ranked second – three places in the rankings from its position in the previous quarter.

“Gamification is going to influence a lot of things, but there is an obvious application for fashion. Fashion is supposed to be this playful arena where you should be able to express yourself and you should be able to experiment, ”Michaela Larosse, Head of Content and Strategy at the Manufacturer, said.

Gaming and fashion also go hand in hand, as both aim to provide enthusiasts with a world of larger-than-life and ambitious experiences. As anyone who’s ever attended a Paris fashion show can attest, it’s a grand spectacle, like the most exuberant theatrical performance, often with a gripping narrative unfolding through every element of the show. Capturing this energy in a game is sure to pique the interests of consumers. When Dust teamed up with Warner Bros. on the film Wonder Woman 1984, with gamers using costumes from the movie to dress up their avatars, users were so receptive to the looks that more than half of all users watched or planned to watch the movie, according to customer feedback after the campaign.

“I think technology should be like fashion’s best friend. It’s like the magic wand that can bring you closer to the consumer, that can allow them to be part of your storytelling, ”says Yeomans.

According to her, the game not only offers fashion brands the possibility of “deep immersion”, but also protects luxury brands, allowing them to retain their message, their iconography and their integrity.

From “ phygital ” to purely digital

With most of today’s online shopping, retail has become experiential, with brands and stores aiming to attract customers as brand enthusiasts, not just buyers. This means that ‘phygital’, a marketing term that describes the desire to combine a physical store with the fluidity of the digital experience, is increasingly common.

Most fashion game collaborations also give customers the option of getting their hands on a physical piece of clothing, such as an exclusive, limited-edition piece featured in the game. Dust, the clothes can be purchased through the website Farfetch. Some of the younger players in the game use it as a way to ‘style before you buy’.

“We have developed this RVR concept from the real to the virtual to the real. Everything you see is part of real life, so if we partner with Prada, it’s part of a capsule collection that is launching and hitting stores, ”Yeomans says.

“We know these experiences increase dwell time, make consumers feel more connected to the brand, and value physical products more. We are definitely entering a whole new era of experiential selling, ”says Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Marketing. Fashion innovation agency at the London College of Fashion, which notes that these principles are also starting to impact traditional e-commerce.



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