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Fashion Gamers

Luxury fashion strategies of the recent year have greatly featured a deeper immersion into the universe of gaming. Who is a gamer? Do you identify yourself with one? What if FRAKS told you that almost everyone is a gamer perhaps without even realizing it?

(Mjasnikova, 2021)

The term “Gamification” has been coined a little less than two decades ago by a British programmer Nick Pelling. It was not until 2010 when the concept has begun to be implemented in various industries, rooting on its key principle of using game elements in contexts that are unrelated to gaming.

The reason for the success of the given approach lays in the motivational psychology that can be easily illustrated through the Hierarchy of Needs, theorized by an American psychologist Abraham Maslow in 1943. Essentially, all human needs in life can be classified into 5 categories, ranging from the basic to the most elevated. These needs are what motivates all of us to make decisions and actions, including purchases.

The most basic need refers to physiological survival, such as food and shelter, and it is clear that these necessities are impossible to satisfy through gaming. Nevertheless, it addresses the remaining four. A gaming environment is a place where the player feels safe from the outside world and people can socialize with others through their avatars by belonging to a community. The various levels and achievements fulfill the esteem needs and lastly, self-actualization is reached by progressing, learning, and evolving.

With this bit of knowledge in mind, it turns out that the number of customers that could be potential gamers is greater than expected. What did brands do about it? Being the 1st year of the pandemic, 2020 marked when a traditional fashion industry started to dip their toes into the lands of gaming and discover to what format the audience of each brand responds better. The two examples that stood out to FRAKS were the creative experiments to present the FW21 collections by Balenciaga and SUNNEI.

In Balenciaga’s Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow the player has to walk through a predetermined path. The journey starts at the boutique and continues through a city that then transitions into a forest and a rocky cliff, ending at the sunset, all while discovering the collection along the way. SUNNEI’s Canvas, however, takes a different approach by presenting 10 avatars within a series of paradoxical mini-games.

The brands fairly got the merit for a series of accomplishments that this visual format succeeds to emphasize. For example, Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo highlighted genderless clothing, while Demna Gvasalia stressed the idea of repurposing the garments forever. Nevertheless, there is space for improvement, as the video games’ format is currently used in an avant-garde experimental way.

FRAKS noticed that the strategies do not necessarily keep in mind the depth of all the levels of the pyramid and it’s only a question of time when they will be effective enough to unlock our inner gamers. We believe that the bond between fashion and gaming is here to stay, becoming one of the symbols of the zeitgeist of the 20s.

FRAKS is ready, and you, are you ready to be a fashion gamer ?

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