Covid-19 has negatively affected almost all industries operating in the economy. However, during this period, the gaming industry has seen growth. The gaming industry has a wide reach as seen by millions of subscribers and viewers of gaming channels and videos on the internet. This is considered a huge opportunity for fashion brands. As the fashion industry is a creative and dynamic industry, they have started marketing and selling their products through games in collaboration with various games and e-sports.
Fashion brands have long been partnering with sports franchises for their apparel, footwear and sports bags. A few examples of such collaborations include Wimbledon’s partnership with Rolex, Louis Vuitton’s partnership with the NBA, Prada’s association with the America’s Cup, and Hugo Boss’s sponsorship of some European soccer teams.
Recently, there is a new trend of fashion brands collaborating with games. The gaming industry is booming and logically, this trend is here to stay.
People who cannot afford products from luxury fashion brands can now shop in-game at a comparatively small price.
“Final Fantasy” is a video game with Avatar “Lightning”. Famous fashion brand Louis Vuitton used lightning in 2016 to design their products. Later, Louis Vuitton collaborated with the famous game League of Legends. LV designed costumes for the player avatars in the game and also launched a collection of bodysuits inspired by the game. This partnership was to market the brand’s products to the millions of players who play League of Legends. This cooperation benefits the game. This collaboration has also benefited the League of Legends by increasing its reach to those involved and interested in the fashion industry, giving it greater recognition in the market.
Prada staged its AW18 show with the fictional Instagram influencer “Lil Mikaela” via Instagram stories and old footage from the show.
In the year In 2020, Travis Scott held a concert in the game “Fortnite”, allowing players to attend the concert in their turn and purchase concert merchandise. In the past, Honor, Samsung and the National Football League have partnered with “Fortnite” to market their products properly.
In 2020, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui and Valentino teamed up with “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” to launch in-game previews of the avatars.
Moschino has partnered with “The Sims” to allow players to shop for alternate costumes in the game.
“NBA 2K” players can purchase Tissot watches for their avatars using in-game currency.
Balenciaga’s Fall 2021 collection is set to debut with a play called “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow.”
Knock Street Market is an instagram page that allows players to customize their avatars. Knock Street Market has partnered with brands such as Prada, Chanel, Fila, Glacier, Off-White to provide players with customization services for their avatars, helping them create a personalized virtual social identity.
The effect of cooperation
The fashion and game industry collaboration will benefit fashion brands as well as game developers in expanding the market for their products. Additionally, it makes luxury fashion brands accessible to more people digitally, if not physically. People who cannot afford products from luxury fashion brands can now shop in-game at a comparatively small price.
A digital fashion community can be formed through these collaborations. Players create their own digital environment by customizing their avatars.
The concept of digital fashion is also considered sustainable by many as it allows individuals to shop online for clothes and accessories that suit their image. For example, in In 2018, Carlings launched a full clothing collection, in which consumers have to send a photo to Carlings and the brand will match a selected virtual article of clothing from the collection to their pictures and send the image to users. These images can be uploaded by users on social media platforms. This reduces the physical production of clothing and accessories and removes the social pressure on people to upload photos of themselves wearing brand new clothes every day.
- Intellectual property rights
Making a brand’s products available on a gaming platform involves copyright, design rights and trademark protection. In general, the copyright for the game, audio, video and design rights appearing in the game is assigned to the game developer. Therefore, a contract must be entered into otherwise in order to protect the intellectual property rights of fashion brands in their products.
The agreement between the collaborating parties must adequately provide for the ownership and licensing of the relevant intellectual property rights. For example, the fashion brand must license the design of the products offered on the game platform and the trademark, if any, on such products.
Likewise, if a fashion brand wants to use the game’s images or videos to showcase their products, they must obtain copyright permission from the game.
To maximize their profits, the fashion brands can make deals with gaming platforms to get special attention for a few days, thus eliminating competition for that time. This has to be negotiated especially when the brands launch a limited edition collection, to limit availability, thereby increasing demand for their collection.
You can pretend that the products are displayed on public forums. To protect the brand from counterfeiting, the trademark on the products displayed in the game must always be registered. In addition, the fashion brands must enter into a contract with the game developer to remove and ban counterfeit products in their games and users involved in counterfeiting.
Some gams are known in nature. The fashion brands should research the game they are collaborating with and deliberately decide on the collaboration as it affects the brand’s reputation. Additionally, the brands should always retain the right to remove their products from the game if the game’s features become popular after the collaboration.
A moral clause may also be added to the agreement, imposing moral obligations on the gaming partner and virtual image(s), if applicable.
Brands can collaborate with iconic figures like Lil Mikaela. The question arises when there is such cooperation, who will be the other party to the contract? The person who owns and controls the intellectual property rights in such virtual images and social media accounts shall be the other party in such cases.
- Notice of cooperation
The fashion brands must obtain permission from the Game Partner before using the game’s trademark or promoting the collaboration with any virtual image on the social media platform.
In the fashion industry, the brand continues to launch a new collection at certain intervals. The game partners are not allowed to use the licensed product designs and trademarks in perpetuity. Therefore, the contract between the parties should clearly mention the time when the permission is given.