Humans are visual creatures; it’s how we sieve through things like clothing, food and the people we “bump” into on dating apps to generate date that is stored into our brains. If you really do get into the science of it, Google receives more than two million search queries per minute while we generate 2.5 quintillion (18 zeroes) bytes of data every single day.
Somewhere in those 18 zeroes however, is our intrinsic need to stunt in a fit that for lack of a better phrase, makes us stand out. But don’t think of it as a superficial thing, our animal bros do it too. Male peacocks aim to be the brightest bloke on the block while other birds develop a unique colour on some of their body parts to attract mates. Heck, even female garden spiders turn yellow when they’re trying to express themselves.
It’s a little simpler for human beings; we stamp our personal identity on an arrangement of clothes; a little self excursion into self-expression.
How does all of the above relate to what we’re trying to talk about today in a context where we’re all hunkered down at home?
Let’s dial it back two decades.
The Sims 1 was released in 2000 and just a gentle reminder, that was a year where shoot ’em up and fantasy RPG games were booming. What then made The Sims 1 a game-changer wasn’t that it was particularly innovative or compelling in story; it was that it mimicked the normality of modern life.
You’re still bound by the “rules” of real life in the game. You can set your house ablaze because you’re a poor hand in the kitchen. You need a job to continue funding your habits be it beneficial or lascivious. You can reproduce as many times as you want and face the financial repercussions that follow (#OkBreeder).
What made The Sims so damn special was that it created freedom of play. You could replicate yourself or imitate someone while doing the same for just about anybody. It wasn’t about putting yourself in someone’s shoes that were beyond the reach of reality.
It was about building your world populated by your people — a blank slate.
Just for the lols, the Men’s Folio team created digital avatars of ourselves. You can try it here.
Intending to take a slice of the reality simulator pie was online game Second Life. On paper, it sounded great. Fully customisable avatars — change your hair colour, stomach size and even your toenails — a real world where you can hop around and the freedom to socialise with your fellow players.
It however, didn’t take long for the chinks to appear in this “sandbox world”. To put it simply, a “sandbox world” refers to how easy it is for players to do whatever they please which to put it even more simply, a lack of a linear structure.
While some players were perfectly content to fill a bucket with sand, tip it over and do it again, this freedom of choice came with its consequences. What happens when people are able to hide behind avatars without real world repercussions coupled with a chance to really warp the reality of the game (something that wasn’t allowed in the Sims).
They do the unthinkable; this semi-anonymous nature enabled them to release their inhibitions to try anything. And by anything, we meant anything that we talk about or post a picture of it will immediately turn this article into an R21 one.
Interestingly, the flood of real world simulators from the 2000s has led to the parallel life of another form of real world gameplay. You already know where we’re going.
Andre Leon Talley loves playing tennis in Damon Dash, we keep it youthful and virtual in Gucci. Gucci’s collaboration with Tennis Clash allows you to swing like a Wimbledon star in the house’s flyest fits.
The game is available on the App Store and Google Play today.
Image credits go to David Rhee
The premise of Animal Crossing : New Horizons hasn’t departed since its first incarnation in 2001; you’re still a human living in a cyber society of anthropomorphic animals that you need to barter services and products with.
Launched to a world on lock down, a community of people who go “what about my Instagram #OOTDs” and a custom clothing design system, it’s impossible to surf the web without seeing an Animal Crossing character riffing off high fashion or streetwear looks.
There are hoodies by Louis Vuitton, head to toe outfits by Fendi and if you have enough in-game currency (they’re called bells, so cute!), you can customise whatever you want. For me, I have a full wardrobe of #OldCeline in the game.
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We however, are not holding Animal Crossing up on a gaming pedestal for this phenomenon. Moschino’s Jeremy Scott has designed clothes for The Sims, Nike has created a digital version of the Air Jordans for Fortnite and Louis Vuitton has its very own League of Legends skin.
What these games has done would be that it has helped to open up a conversation around the shape of fashion in the future. It has highlighted that there is a need to adapt to newer ways to shop, a newer way to dress up and even a newer way to get people interested in fashion.
If you’re hopelessly addicted to the game like us then drop us an email with your friend code. Let’s bring some joy back into fashion.