Epic Games partners with fashion house Balenciaga to create the first-ever high-fashion . to bring Fortnite skins in the game. But the two companies aren’t just working on virtual clothing. They’re also collaborating on a Balenciaga-themed in-game hub and a real-life clothing line that you can buy.
There will be four new skins, which you can see in the photo below, and each will have alternate styles. Epic also plans to sell other Balenciaga-themed accessories, including: a pickaxe based on the Speed Sneaker and Balenciaga backpack back blings.
The new equipment will be available in both in Fortnite’s usual in-game storefront and in the Balenciaga-themed “Strange Times” Creative hub, which includes a virtual Balenciaga store where you can buy the cosmetics. Below is an example of what that area looks like – there’s even an in-game animated billboard above the virtual store featuring the walking dog Doggo in the hoodie. That billboard will also appear in the real world, in Tokyo, London, Seoul and New York City.
And if you love the hoodie that Doggo is wearing, you can buy it and a number of other items including crew neck shirts, t-shirts and hats as part of the real world Fortnitethemed Balenciaga collection. Those clothes go on sale on Monday or Tuesday, depending on your location.
Epic isn’t the first video game to partner with a fashion house. For example, in May, Gucci collaborated with Roblox on a surreal virtual garden, while Louis Vuitton made skins for characters in Riot Games’ League of Legends in 2019. Balenciaga himself made a video game to debut his fall 2021 collection which was made in Unreal Engine.
But the link of Fortnite and high fashion is obvious given the importance of virtual outfits to the culture of the game. “Fortnite is fashion,” said Adam Sussman, president of Epic Games, in an interview with The edge. “The whole experience of Fortnite is centered around self-expression, player agency, and the ability to act out a fantasy by portraying characters and outfits that people want to wear.”
He has a point; when i play FortniteI’m constantly shuffling through different outfits and accessories to match my mood or create fun mashups. (Like, say, having Master Chief wield Kratos’ Leviathan Ax while The Madalorians Grogu drives after him.)
The collaboration between Epic and Balenciaga could also be a preview of how Unreal Engine will be used in the future to create virtual and real experiences. That animated Doggo billboard that will appear in-game and in real-life cities, for example, was created in Unreal Engine and repurposed assets created as part of Epic and Balenciaga’s collaboration. It seems likely we’ll see Epic do similar transmedia pushes for others Fortnite partnerships down the line.
Epic didn’t promise if or when we’d see other fashion collaborations, but it sounds like it’s definitely a possibility. “I think this is just the beginning,” said Emily Levy, who works on partnerships at Epic. “I think what’s really special about what we can do with our technology and with our community is to create new ways for players to express themselves. [and] also new ways for players to experience fashion. I think you’ll continue to see us explore what those two opportunities might look like for our community.”