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Balenciaga Comes to Fortnite: High Fashion and Gaming Continue to Merge

With the introduction of NFTs into the metaverse and a seemingly never-ending list of surprising brand collaborations over the past few years, the practice of flexing clothing—previously constricted to the real world—is becoming an increasingly larger part of the gaming world. Louis Vuitton made a video game. Gucci bags are in Roblox. And now, Balenciaga has made its way into Fortnite.

Fortnite x Balenciaga

Fortnite is integrating a collection of wearable pieces from the luxury fashion house, including a roster of outfits, backpacks and more. Epic's post unveiling the collaboration concludes with the line: "Make Fortnite your fashion destination this fall," suggesting that this collaboration will be the first of many. For all the details on the pieces and availability, head to Epic's site.

Fashion and Gaming:

While the details of this specific collaboration are certainly interesting, I'd like to focus on what this move means for the future of gaming. The integration of Balenciaga into Fortnite is creating another world of flexing in game; what's "cool" in video games used to have almost nothing to do with what was cool IRL. You wanted the abyssal whip in Runescape simply because you saw other players in game look "cool" with it equipped, not because you actually love whips. But even as far back as early seasons of Fortnite, Epic began to integrate aspects of pop culture into the game, blurring the line between IRL hype and digital hype.

See: Fortnite x John Wick:

Fortnite's numerous collaborations and brand of pop culture-infused hype have changed the gaming landscape, but they still exist within a closed ecosystem. NFT technology is opening up the possibility of limitless exchange outside of specific games. We can imagine a future in which Balenciaga doesn't create a collection for Fortnite; rather, they would create an NFT un-restricted by game affiliation that can be pulled into a wide array of metaverses and used as a skin in other games across platforms.

The possibilities for the future of the gaming/fashion world are truly endless. Instances like the Fortnite x Balenciaga collab demonstrate the merits of hype within a gaming ecosystem, but it's really just the tip of the iceberg. We will look back on 2021 as a turning point for video games. Flexing and fashion hype don't just exist IRL; the world of the digital flex has arrived.

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