When a fashion house is as emblematic as that of Dior, its design can translate into almost any medium and still be irrevocably noticeable. Proving this in the form of yet another innovative collaboration, Kim Jones, Dior Men’s artistic director, has announced the start of a collaboration with racing video game, Gran Turismo 7 at the World Series Showdown in Szalburg, Austria.
As Dior’s first digital campaign, the collaboration will feature new and exclusive Dior racing gear that can be applied to a player’s driver avatar. By combining the house signatures with traditional racing motifs, Dior presents a new skin that sees the playable driver decked in a yellow and grey overall that’s paired with driving gloves, a set of race-inspired Diorizon sneakers, and a helmet finished in a blue and grey colorway. The overalls are kitted out with the Dior oblique on the top chest panel while Christian Dior Atelier and the “CD” logo come in the form of sponsor-esque patches on the same panel. Tying the whole collaboration together, the number “47” — a nod to the house’s first and formative fashion show in 1947 — is embellished within the racer’s silhouette and across the bonnet of the car, a vintage De Tomaso Mangusta in a creamy golden tone.
The inaugural virtual capsule is set to be released on 25 August — available exclusively on PlayStation 4 and PS5 consoles. “This dialogue between Dior and the world of video games is a renewed invitation to push back the limits of creativity and imagination,” Jones said in a press release. His designs, both in the collection’s clothing and customised car, demonstrate this luxe look. Racing has never looked so refined.
The collaboration sees Dior joining the likes of luxury fashion brands such as Balenciaga, Burberry, Valentino, and Prada. All the listed brands have ventured into the virtual world through collaborations with well-known, popular games. Balenciaga not only unveiled their Autumn Winter 2021 collection through an interactive online video game, but also collaborated with popular video game, Fortnite. Similarly, Valentino tapped on the then-viral Nintendo Switch life simulation game, Animal Crossing, to raise awareness of their Spring Summer 2020 and Pre-Fall 2020 collection. Burberry looked to the East and exclusively designed two outfits for Honour of King’s popular heroine Yao, and Prada joined forces with Ubisoft on a one-of-a-kind project that incorporates Prada Linea Rossa into Riders Republic, a massive multi-player outdoor sports playground where you can experience the thrill of outdoor sports in the magnificent American National Parks.
Fashion’s desire to cash in on the gaming phenomena is understandable. Worth $159.3 billion, the e-sports and gaming market had 2.7 billion players by the end of 2020 — with the figure expected to rise to 3.07 billion in 2023 — resulting in fashion’s hottest playground and tapping into the endless creative and business opportunities it offers. Erin Wayne, head of community and creator marketing at Twitch, told Nylon, “Fashion working with gaming is the next obvious step in the evolution of fashion.”
Throughout the world, gamers and e-sports fans have revealed themselves to be beauty and fashion consumers eager to spend both in-game and on real-life products. This is, in part, due to an extraordinary demographic shift: As of 2021, 54% of women prefer to play mobile games and 65% are more likely to make an in-app purchase, buying virtual currency or avatar outfits. In this new landscape, brands are now looking for opportunities to capitalise on the gaming audience through e-commerce.
“We firmly believe that games and interactive initiatives have a business relevance. They are key to offering an innovative and personalised shopping experience, which is what customers, millennials and gen-Z in particular are increasingly asking for.” said Paolo Mascio, president of Yoox.
With the global pandemic resulting in increased gaming activity, we can understand that fashion brands (hit hard by store closures and unsold stock) have been open to integrating games. While 2021 has proven the incredible success of these partnerships, it has also opened new arrays of monetisation for brands and is changing the traditional forms of e-commerce. Given that gaming giants also massively benefit from the cultural relevance and revenue generated from these lucrative integrations, it’s a win for both worlds — and a trend that looks set to continue in the future.
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