Online gaming: is it the future of fashion luxury for Gen-Z?

Isotta Giorgini

By Isotta Giorgini15 janvier 2021

The pandemic has been a great online sales accelerator as many fashion luxury brands boosted their digital presence in a wide array of ways. Among the diverse digital trade platforms, online gaming seems to play a crucial role, especially among those like me, belonging to either Gen Z and Millennials. As a digital savvy, playing with fashion brands comes natural and it gives me free access to the latest collections of luxury brands. The dressing up option offered in the games democratizes the “dream” of purchasing luxury, even if just virtually. Affording exclusive clothes with the game coins simplifies the purchasing process, allowing everyone to experience the singularity behind luxury fashion brands.

More importantly, online game appears as an exceptional communication weapon that portrays the vision and mission of the brand, bringing young customers like me closer. Balenciaga with its own video game Afterworld is a striking example. I played the game, being impressed by its effectiveness in communicating the disruptive nature of the brand as well as its sensitive attitude towards urgent matters. The realistic texture of the clothes at disposal to dress up my avatar draw my attention on the sustainable commitment of the brand: such ethical use of fabrics completely changed my impression of Balenciaga. I perceived it as an attempt of the label to indirectly warn the rest of Gen Z and myself about the impactful effect of the fashion industry, re-shuffling its standards of production, while encouraging a more circular economy. Its ethical concern pleases my generation as we care about our surrounding environment, while conveying a new image of the brand in our eyes.

Balenciaga is not the only avant-gardist. The Italian brand Gucci also used gaming, but for advertising purposes. On January 6th 2021, Gucci released a collection in collaboration with the American brand NorthFace, additionally promoted on the videogame PokémonGo, but just for a limited period of time. Personally, this is a marketing strategy to either stress the exclusiveness of the limited-edition collaboration and encourage both new and loyal customers to make the purchase. Choosing the gaming approach allows it to bring awareness especially among young people like me, who are constantly bombarded by new designs, visuals and products of other luxury brands.

However, it is also true that while playing the game, I lost the perception of luxury behind the collection. In the long-run, both the access granted to the public as well as the gamified representation of clothes may diminish the sensation of exclusivity that I feel when purchasing Gucci.

This is only the beginning of online gaming in the luxury fashion sector. However, how much further will this trend go? Being a representative of the young generation, I bet that despite everything, online gaming is going to constitute the future of fashion luxury as its informal nature creates a unique and transparent conversation with all of us. Plus, its entertaining setting generates positivity and cheerfulness that make us more inclined to buy. We feel more at ease and confident in purchasing luxury, when fighting virtual enemies and walking along a challenging path rather than when entering those serious luxury boutiques.

Isotta Giorgini is 22 years old and is currently graduating in a master in International Luxury Management (IMLUX).

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