Just a few weeks back, Mark Zuckerberg announced that he wants Facebook to become a Metaverse. Not too long ago Vans announced its partnership with Roblox to create a virtual skatepark where users can find and buy Vans shoes. On Monday, Balenciaga, The French Luxury Brand, announced a Balenciaga X Fortnite collaboration with the Epic Games to take its products to the Fortnite metaverse. It seems that the race to the metaverse is only getting stronger.
The partnership entails several components both in and out of the Fortnite metaverse. However, the most notable component remains the “fit set” through which four prominent Fortnite characters will don garments from previous Balenciaga collections. For example, Doggo will be dressed in a Balenciaga X Fortnite hoodie and the brand’s futuristic cat-eye sunglasses.
The idea is to increase Balenciaga’s visibility by reaching young and new audiences who seem to have these four characters as their favs.
However this isn’t the first time the luxury giant has stepped into the virtual gaming world; Balenciaga had its own video game, After World, that showcased its Fall 2021 collection. Demna Gvasalia, the artistic director behind Balenciaga’s avant-garde designs explained the collaboration saying, “We continued to be inspired by the creativity of Unreal and Fortnite communities. It made total sense, to me, that we collaborate further (beyond After World) by creating these authentic Balenciaga look for Fortnight and a new physical Fortnite clothing series for our stores.”
This is Epic Game’s first luxury brand collaboration. Previously, the gaming giant has collaborated with Nike. Emily Levy, Epic Games senior manager of partnerships told GQ, “We were very inspired by how Balenciaga has leaned so heavily into pushing the boundaries of tech in fashion.”
According to Levy, Fortnite players spent nearly 50% of their time in the game building their own universe and engaging in role-playing games. This has become extremely popular with players even staging their own fashion shows.
For the collaboration, the Balenciaga X Fortnite team took 3-D scans of the collection, allowing the game designers to create vivid details of the clothes. Everything from the fabric to its texture and how it appears on the character was taken into account to create a high-definition output.
The original collection is slightly different within the Fortnight metaverse; for example, the Speed 3.0 sneaker has become a pickaxe while the hourglass bag appears as a glider that players can use to ride into battlefields. In addition, players can purchase a dance on a track by BFRND, Gvasalia’s husband and collaborator.
The physical manifestations of the collaboration include 3-D animated billboard advertisements in big cities, including London, New York, Tokyo, and Seoul; and an exclusive Balenciaga X Fortnite capsule collection. The 3-D billboards will also serve as the “living lookbook” within the Fortnight metaverse where customers can buy new Balenciaga outfits from a virtual Balenciaga store in the creative mode.
According to Levy, collaboration has created something very unique that cannot be done in the real world. In the metaverse, you can change outfit colors and even make your fashion accessories anything you like (the sneaker becomes the pickaxe).
While it may seem like a promotional or marketing tactic, it’s not. More and more brands are taking their brand aesthetic to the metaverse to create a long-lasting impression of the brand before Gen Z customers.
Do you like seeing your favorite brands in Fortnite? What do you think of this collaboration? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.