A new culture is formed when two cultures meet. The new culture is a mix of the positive and negative aspects of both the original cultures. This is the argument that Roy Wagner, an anthropologist, defends in his 1975 book “The Invention of Culture”.
Fashion and gaming interact, which is also a reference to two cultures sharing one market. Is there a collision in the works? What is the new culture? What aspects of each culture, fashion and gaming will be carried on?
These questions were asked to the key players in the fashion and gaming industries: Is there room? What are the potential opportunities for fashion designers if this merger occurs?
Digital design from a traditional viewpoint
Gaming design requires more than programming skills. It also requires aesthetics. Gaming has a unique aesthetic, which is influenced by fashion brands, for instance, Fortnite’s Balenciaga collection. Could fashion have had a longer influence on gaming than we think?
PlatformE’s Group Marketing Director Lui Iarocheski believes that this relationship has been there since the beginning. Gaming was what brought him to the fashion industry. He was determined to create the perfect clothes for his favorite characters. Iaroscheski believes that traditional fashion has many techniques that gaming is not yet able to explore.
“As a gamer, I find it bothersome that the collision between fashion gaming is too focused on product plugs.” Iarocheski states that this approach is not meaningful for gamers. Fashion brands may not be creating authentic experiences for gamers, but the reverse is true. “Sometimes garments aren’t as well represented than they should be. And the gaming narrative breaks down, the immersion breaks.” says Iarocheski. He explains that he used a hypothetical 2050 game to illustrate his point. Game designers need to think about the cotton fabric that will be used for characters in order to create a real experience. “How will cotton fabric look 50 years from now?” Is there any fabric? “This is the type of discussion fashion designers are imagining and could bring to gaming agencies,” says Iarocheski.
The limits of fashion and metaverse
Combining gaming and fashion opens up endless possibilities for creativity that will transcend the boundaries of the fashion industry. FutureGames’ William Easton believes that other industries are trying to get into gaming by “mirroring, or making a simulacrum” of what they already have in the real-world and bringing it into the game. The metaverse, however, allows you to alter physics. The same constraints are not applicable to you.
This Outfit Does not Exist’s Daniella Loftus adds, “In the physical realm, I might wear a avant-garde gown, but it is tied with my physical form.” “I was born with certain biological characteristics.” Even if we wear physical clothing to hide or cover certain characteristics, they are still ours. Loftus concluded, “In virtual world, avatars can be made by you. It can look any way you like, and it can express whatever you feel is necessary.”
Fashion designers and careers in the metaverse
Fashion and gaming designers can explore the infinite possibilities of the metaverse when they collaborate. Alexis Arragon is the managing director of Skinvaders. He says that “we are still at the infancy” of this new culture that combines gaming and fashion. “We will have to train a new breed fashion designer, and a new breed game designer to realize new roles and develop new skills that will allow us to reach new heights.”
Richard Hobbs from Brand New Vision believes that fashion design is based on the digital fashion industry. Hobbs spoke about traditional techniques like understanding patterns and how they behave. It is important to understand how a garment is constructed. “What we need to do is create beautiful fashion, and then convert it into gaming,” Hobbs said. Hobbs, a veteran in fashion and technology fusions, concludes our discussion by reflecting on the role of game engines and the instrumentalisations of the fashion industry. “I see gaming engines a means to an ending for fashion. Fashion does not have to be part and parcel of the game. It could also be used to create new experiences using the tools that the gaming industry has created. While they may not want to be wearing a Balenciaga piece of couture, people don’t necessarily need it. Gaming is only one aspect of the future. But gaming engines connected with very good avatars and good fashion are what we need. The discussion about endless creative possibilities for fashion designers and professionals in the metaverse is just beginning. We must quickly take up residence in the spaces and speak out.” Easton quoted William Gibson, a fiction writer, as saying that “The future is already here” but it’s not evenly distributed.
This article is based upon the live webinar “The Metaverse” hosted by Parsons N Ventures and TDFGA. Watch a preview of the discussion below, and you can access the entire webinar on TDFGA’s site.