Balenciaga goes gaming: Luxury fashion brand presents its own video game
For those who spend hours dressing Sims characters, or play those guilty pleasure-y dress-up games online, Balenciaga’s latest endeavour – a video game where users can both review Balenciaga’s Fall 21 collection and actually enjoy a well-developed storyline and design (while playing for a character wearing the brand’s outfits, obviously) – will be appreciated.
A little about Balenciaga
Balenciaga is a luxury fashion brand that celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary in 2017. The house had a fourteen-year break between 1972 and 1986 because Christobal Balenciaga, the founder of Balenciaga, died in 1972. Luckily, it has been among the world’s most recognisable and sought-after fashion brands for decades now. The house is known for its modernistic, even futuristic vision of fashion and love for avant-garde structural pieces. Demna Gvasalia has been Balenciaga’s creative director since 2015.
Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow – A video game by Balenciaga
Balenciaga’s new collection debuted in the video game Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow on 6th December. Afterworld is available online for everyone, and it has naturally become a part of the 2020 trend for online entertainment, including online fashion shows, digital gatherings and online casinos in the UK. The game was created and released specifically to present Balenciaga’s Fall 21 collection. The story is set in the near future, 2031, and all avatars (whom gamers can choose to complete tasks and interact with other characters while advancing from one “mission” to another) are dressed in looks from the house’s Fall 21 collection. The time when the story takes place is chosen perfectly. First, it is in the future, albeit only in ten years, which is a suitable setting for Balenciaga’s futuristic aesthetics.
Also, the game has a lovely and timely message about the impact of overconsumption on the environment. It is news to no one that fashion is second only to the fuel industry on the list of industries most harmful for our planet. The biggest part of the problem is fast fashion. The clothes featured in Afterworld are visibly worn (well, obviously, it’s been ten years since the Fall 21 collection saw the world), and many of them are suitable for several occasions and purposes. The creators emphasise the value of high-quality clothes and advocate for the idea of repurposing.
The dystopian-ish (but hopeful) atmosphere of Afterworld is a great setting for such a message. According to Balenciaga, “The narrative of the afterworld is anchored to mythological pasts and projected futures with timeless archetypes and speculative imagery. The world may appear decaying at first, but it is far from a dystopian view, showing instead the slow return to a healthier balance of nature and industry.”
Why is Balenciaga suddenly into gaming?
The pandemic has been a nightmare for the fashion industry; the profits have dropped by more than 90 per cent. You may argue that 2020 has been a nightmare for everyone, but this is not exactly true. The gaming industry is one of the few that actually thrived in the lockdown and managed to increase their revenues. Balenciaga’s strategy directors are no fools, and they know that to stay relevant, the fashion industry needs this partnership.
Also, Balenciaga needs to present its collection somehow, doesn’t it? With the pandemic-related safety restrictions in place, the house can’t exactly throw a usual runway show with thousands of guests. Launching a game that is also a virtual – and very engaging – runway show is a smart solution. Balenciaga is not Chanel, so most of the house’s clients are young people. They are likely to appreciate the unusual format.
Is gamification the future of fashion?
It could be. Balenciaga is not the only fashion house that opted for gamification. Louis Vuitton is collaborating with League of Legends to design outfits for the game. Net-a-Porter launched an island in Animal Crossing. Burberry has already released several virtual online games that allow players to create characters and dress them in pieces from Burberry’s latest collections. Looks like fashion gamification is the next trend.
The editorial unit