When Kim Kardashian walked the red carpet at this year’s Met Gala, shrouded in dark grey fabric, her look was discussed – and memed – heavily. One comparison that social media made was to an unlocked character in a video game, waiting to be selected. It turns out that Balenciaga (who dressed and accompanied Kim, courtesy of Demna Gvasalia who turned up in the same shadowy getup) is expanding into the metaverse by bringing Balenciaga designs into Fortnite, including in-game skins and real-world clothing.
It’s the first time that Fortnite has partnered with a fashion brand, but not the first time that Balenciaga has dipped into the realm of video games. “Our partnership with Epic didn’t start with Fortnite, actually,” Gvasalia said in a statement. “It started with our own first video game, Afterworld, which we built using Unreal Engine to debut our Fall 2021 collection. From there, we have continued to be inspired by the creativity of Unreal and Fortnite communities. It made total sense, to me, that we collaborate further by creating these authentic Balenciaga looks for Fortnite and a new physical Fortnite clothing series for our stores.”
Of the real-life clothing collection, which includes caps, hoodies, denim jackets, and T-shirts in deep red, black, and white, some items are already sold out. While, in the game, players can select new Balenciaga outfits and accessories, and can also enter a Balenciaga store and do a ‘custom Balenciaga dance’.
Four Fortnite characters are given looks from previous Balenciaga collections – Doggo wears the purchasable Balenciaga x Fortnite hoodie and a pair of the brand’s futuristic cat-eye sunglasses, for example, while Knight gets the armour boots from the Fall 2021 collection. Check out the full range in the gallery above.
To explore more on the digital fashion crossover, read our feature on the next gen of cyber designers beaming fashion into the metaverse.