Games with style: when fashion and gaming come together – Reader’s Feature
A reader explores how women’s fashion in games has changed over the years, and has to some unexpected collaborations.
Fashion and video games? Really? Wow! Not exactly two things that go hand in hand but the use of fashion and clothing in video games can be very interesting.
When fashion and gaming collide, it’s very exciting to me. People often believe that just because you’re a gamer, you can’t be into fashion. Gamers have many faces.
One of my favourite games growing up as a child was Final Fantasy X-2, one of the first open world games I was exposed to. Just think, if Charlie’s Angels and Tomb Raider had a lovechild then this would be the product.
There’s no doubt that it is possibly one of the most divisive entries within the much-loved Japanese role-playing franchise. It is a stark contrast to the more sombre, heartfelt tone of its predecessor, Final Fantasy X. Some may argue its opening pop concert scene was a Resident Evil style ‘Punching the Boulder’ moment.
My absolute favourite aspect of Final Fantasy X-2 was its Dressphere mechanic, reminiscent of the Jobs system in previous games. Basically speaking, you could fight by changing outfits and each Dressphere came with its own visual style, skills, abilities and weapons. Not to mention its own compelling Spherechange sequences, which I found myself wishing were an actual thing in real life!
Imagine how awesome that would be if you got up in the morning and got dressed in an accompanying stylish visual sequence…
Similar mechanics have been adopted in games as such as Horizon Zero Dawn, The Witcher, and the current incarnation of Tomb Raider; showing that fashion is seriously influencing the world of gaming. In Horizon Zero Dawn there is an outfit mechanic where the main protagonist Aloy can wear different outfits, in which each outfit possess different skills and abilities whenever equipped. There is also the same mechanic in the rebooted Tomb Raider games.
There is also a Tumblr dedicated to Splatoon fashion. These all signal a huge shift in the way in which fashion is being used in video games.
In 2016, the pink-haired Lightning from Final Fantasy was announced as the face of luxury French fashion powerhouse Louis Vuitton, leaving both the worlds of fashion and gaming completely shook.
The way that female characters and games have been marketed in the past has been very off-putting to female video game enthusiasts, including myself, as seen with the scantily-clad costume designs of women in Mortal Kombat (2011) and Quiet in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, for example. The fashion in gaming acknowledges the fact that just as many women play video games as men do.
This interesting marriage of video game and fashion helps to steer away from the long-held stereotype of gamers, which have been the heterosexual Jack the Lad-esque male.
What I hope to see next is a possible video game high street fashion collaboration, like Zara and last year’s Comic Meets Denim collection, helping to take gaming in general more mainstream and to help broaden its audience. We’ve already seen it with the recent Nintendo x Forever 21 fashion collection and I sure hope to see more in the future…
By reader Laura Francis
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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