Balenciaga and Fortnite debut in physical, digital and global collections – WWD
Balenciaga has entered the game again.
The luxury fashion house owned by Kering and Fortnite from Epic Games have teamed up in a new fashion partnership launching today IRL and within the Fortnite universe.
Blurring the lines between the physical and digital worlds, the partners unveiled on Monday a futuristic city, Strange Times Featured Hub, inspired by Balenciaga’s “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow” environment for the brand’s fall 2021 collection. In Strange Times, players can enter virtual stores, including a Balenciaga location, for activities and to purchase outfits or skins to wear in-game. Skins change based on game dynamics.
The two companies are going even further in their collaboration by launching a capsule collection based on the old Balenciaga collections, in particular the fall and spring 2021 and spring 2020 collections. But the outfits will not only live in the game – Balenciaga and Fortnite will launch on Tuesday. in-game coins as real coins for sale in select Balenciaga stores and online.
The Fortnite team reproduced the Balenciaga clothing using 3D scans to create prototypes. First, the artist created a concept and a 3D proto-model as a guide. The proto-model was sent to a technical artist who approved the functionality of the model and polished the rough prototype in ZBrush.
Finally, the team created a lower polygon model for use in Fortnite and used Substance Painter to paint the Balenciaga styles on the model. The clothes are also inspired by such characters as Ramirez, Knight, Banshee and finally Doggo, who sports a collaboration hoodie and Triple S sneakers produced from CAD data provided using Balenciaga.
Epic used its Unreal Engine technology to create a 3D billboard that features Doggo in the Partnership Collection and will be visible in cities such as New York, London, Seoul and Tokyo, to name a few.
Additionally, the new Strange Times environment hub will be updated throughout the week with new player-made footage.
“Our partnership with Epic didn’t start with Fortnite, actually,” Balenciaga art director Demna Gvasalia said in a statement. “It all started with our own first video game, Afterworld, which we built using Unreal Engine to launch our Fall 2021 collection. From there, we continued to draw inspiration from the creativity of Unreal communities and Fortnite. It made perfect sense to me for us to collaborate more by creating these authentic Balenciaga looks for Fortnite and a new Fortnite physical clothing series for our stores.
“I really feel like this partnership is disrupting the fashion industry and the way campaigns are built,” said Epic Games president Adam Sussman. “We have made forays into sports, music, entertainment – Balenciaga was the natural choice for us to do something trendy that we had never done before.”
Epic Games and Balenciaga had a pre-existing relationship as the latter used the Unreal Engine for their fall 2021 campaign.
Ahead of the campaign, Fortnite creator Lachlan hosted an in-game fashion show where other players could participate and show off their looks for a chance to win a prize. “Once we saw this success, we thought about how we can bring fashion to Fortnite in a meaningful way,” Sussman said.
Epic has found ways to include other mediums like music and entertainment in the game through concerts featuring rapper Travis Scott and singer Ariana Grande, while also making Marvel and DC Comics characters playable in the game. the game and even LeBron James, who was introduced to the Fortnite universe to help promote the “Space Jam 2” movie. Ferrari also launched its 296 GTB sports car into the game through time trials and special races.
“When we think about where it might go in the future, we’re excited about how our technology can push the boundaries,” said Emily Levy, senior director of partnerships at Epic Games. “We are just starting with the virtual. “
Unlike the Travis Scott and Ariana Grande concerts and other Fortnite events, the new Strange Times hub will remain in play for a while.
Sussman said this particular collaboration is something the Fortnite community wants given the way they’ve independently created their own fashion experiences. He also believes that “Fortnite is fashion,” a place of self-expression and more than just a game.
“We are a social destination,” he said. “We intend to stay at the forefront of culture, finding ways to authentically associate ourselves with fashion, sport, music and entertainment is extremely important to us. You see how fast we are and we are committed to maintaining that pace in the future. What we never want to do is do the same thing again. We want to push the boundaries of what we can do.