Bury the Catwalk, Build an Empire Online?
Balenciaga drops the runway and turns to game mechanics.
Global fashion brands have for a long time been exploring how CGI can create entirely new ways of interacting with their customers. 2020 might have even further accelerated virtual fashion experiments as catwalks and fashion weeks were all wiped out with the snap of a finger. The luxury brands still seem to be the ones making the bigger leaps as yesterday on Dec 7th Balenciaga released “The Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow” – a hybrid project between a game and digital showroom.
This free-to-play online game is set in the future in the year 2031 in which you are invited to explore different pieces from Demna Gvasalia’s AW21 collection starting in a futuristic store environment. The path leads out to a busy street, through a forest full of ravers, and to a mountaintop where you complete different challenges on the way for a final surprise. Compared to bigger game productions this game leaves a lot to ask, yet with this Balenciaga offers a new exciting way to explore their fashion line, a brand that’s previously shown ambitions in virtual experimentation as with their slightly surreal visual collaboration with Yilmaz Sen on their Spring 19 campaign.
It’s exciting to imagine similar fashion experiences evolve beyond this stage, including personalized content and virtual try-on. At the least, Balenciaga’s fashion game experiment will propose new directions and complementary platforms to make fashion e-commerce become more experiential, less sterile, and more personal.
The game is free to play on this link