Esports Fashion Group have hosted a pilot event for their upcoming Esports Fashion Week on the weekend featuring a wide range of brands and influencers.
The pilot of the main event took place on August 24. Helmed by Call of Duty League desk host Lottie Van-Praag, the event also included commentary by streamer Azalia Lexi, ASTRO Gaming community manager Garrett “Shady” Smith Jr. and model-slash-host Barney Banks.
The main highlights of the event were as follows:
An introduction to esports fashion
A friendly conversation between the panelists, this live stream served as the entrance to the world of esports fashion for viewers. Between the banter and commentary, the main takeaways from the video were:
- Today’s esports fashion has gone far beyond the days of brands just slapping their logos on a jersey
- 100 Thieves parties are definitely events to go to if you are in the esports industry
- Esports fashion expanding into streetwear is a good fit
- Ralph Lauren entering the world of esports is a big, big deal
- Esports and fashion are quite alike in one aspect: they both are very competitive scenes
- Like skating and streetwear, esports and gaming fashion will be its own subculture with its own affiliated style
- Collaborating with non-endemic brands helps elevate esports fashion
- Esports fashion now needs one big-name brand, going all-in for the industry (shoes, tracksuits, jackets etc.) so that the rest feel comfortable following
- A 100 Thieves/Virgil Abloh collaboration is really not that far away
- Balenciaga will probably be the next brand to enter esports.
- Gaming hardware and fashion brand collaborations are also possible (consider a Louis Vuitton desktop gaming computer as an example)
- Brands need to take the risk in entering this industry
H4X: Cyber Athletics
The next stream showcased the Cyber Athletics apparel line of H4X, the company whose esports clothing line can be found in Macy’s stores and who have Tal “Fly” Aizik from Dota 2 and Nick “Nickmercs” Kolcheff from FaZe Clan as ambassadors and partners.
The stream began with a discussion about Shady’s sneaker collection at length. Barney Banks then described H4X as a non-endemic company that noticed how much the fashion industry within esports grew and decided to utilize this interest by forming partnerships. After extolling the virtues of high-quality fabric usage, Azalea stated that the presentation, like packaging and labels, was probably just as important as the apparel themselves: it needs to be an experience that encourages people to post on social media about it.
It was now time to watch H4X’s pre-taped fashion segment that highlighted their white- and blue-dominated Cyber Athletics line. Following the minute-and-a-half video, the panelists shared their impressions: they loved the biodegradable fabrics, the oversized hoodies with different cuts and the reflective, iridescent fits. Cole Gurman, the founder and CEO of H4X was the next guest on the stream – he explained that the vision behind the collection was constantly pushing boundaries and evolving, experimentation with fabrics, stressing utility and function.
We Are Nations spotlight interview
The esports merchandise company that has worked with Cloud9 and Nerd Street Gamers among others was the star of the next stream.
Lottie was joined on the broadcast by Joshua Miller, the creative director of We Are Nations. He highlighted what differentiates We Are Nations from other brands in the space: their distribution channels, their production capabilities and their inter-industry connections. Answering a question regarding their design process when collaborating with esports teams, he highlighted that the team identity and what they represent are the most important factors.
Their future plans for e-commerce include getting back into events and new retail possibilities. Miller added that We Are Nations see themselves as a predominantly teamwear company, with a dash of streetwear thrown in.
XSET spotlight interview
After the panelists discussed designing and manufacturing esports apparel, what they look for when shopping for clothes and jointly agreeing that esports fashion tends to be quite unique with an all-in mindset, it was time to introduce XSET. Their exclusive drops and efforts in introducing celebration and color to the scene were highlighted as their strengths.
The guests of the stream were XSET co-founders Greg Selkoe and Wil Eddins. Greg Selko described XSET as one of the most recognized gaming brands in North America and the first esports brand that was focused on diversity and inclusion from the very beginning, with also interest in the gaming culture. They framed the vision behind XSET as “different, new and fashion-conscious: esports and gaming remixed in a nutshell”. They also announced their plans to offer an entire women’s clothing line in October 2021.
Stefan “GodKu” Lubomirski, who plays Warzone for XSET, was the next interviewee, bedecked in his usual colorful style. The discussion revolved around his merchandise line, into which he put his personality and overall vibe (being the Vibe Dealer) as well as how he saw the future of esports fashion. GodKu pointed out how good-looking CS:GO pros are, how generally people want to look good and how it is not really a surprise that esports and fashion are coming together.
September Doves highlight Free launching line
The last show of the day was the reveal of September Doves’ launching line: Free. Following a showreel of their new, edgy, almost rockstar-like collection, Ali Rezvan of September Doves and Esports Fashion Group joined the stream. He explained that targeting a mainstream audience by offering clothes that can be worn to a concert and a tournament alike is what makes September Doves unique in the space.
Ali also stated that items that embodied a rock-slash-heavy metal feel were his favorite in the collection. He added that while there are many esports games and genres, the community as a whole tends to be seen as monolithic, which is quite unlike traditional sports and their audiences.
The pilot went without any technical difficulties and successfully showcased the breadth and depth of material available for a week-long esports fashion event. There’s still room to grow: the lack of participating teams (who are arguably the biggest gateway to reach esports audiences) and the deeper esports integration from the showcased brands with digital design collaborations that extend into the games themselves (think Louis Vuitton and League of Legends) are a must if esports enthusiasts are to truly embrace these brands.