Murphy, who founded The Fabricant in 2016, said he was initially attracted to digital fashion because it was “an untapped market.”
“There was so little to be seen in high-quality digital fashion,” he said. “A lot of the clothing that we see in games is typically jeans and T shirts, hoodies and leather jackets. This is the type of thing that gaming companies really appreciate and want to put on characters, probably because of technical limitations, but also because of a lack of knowledge about fashion.”
Now connections are being forged between fashion and gaming — and there are more points of contact than one might assume given how involved both are in creating an identity, whether on screen or off.
It’s a coming together that also has implications beyond what is now just defined as gaming.
Murphy suggested that the panel discussion, which took place virtually and from four different locations, could have more of a digital fashion component in the future.
“We’re probably going to start dressing ourselves for these video streams,” Murphy said. “Right now the visual fidelity is not necessarily there, it looks a little too gamey. But we’re going to start seeing the quality going up and that’s when people are really going to start accepting it as something that we’re going to do every single day, where we are going to get out of bed and I’m going to ask myself, ‘What am I going to put on my virtual avatar today?’”
The digital world is both getting bigger and growing closer.
“We’re starting to see more augmented-reality filters,” Murphy said. “It started with just face filters and now Snapchat is using whole-body tracking as well. So we’re staring to see digital clothing being dressed on your physical body. And especially with the release of Snapchat spectacles, which is basically your glasses, that has an AR layer, so a digital layer. That’s where we’re going to start seeing the blurring of our physical lives with our digital lives.”
It’s a new platform, but for brands, the mission is very similar.
Gottl, a fashion designer turned marketing guru, said: “Brands are all about storytelling. In the end a brand is a story. So the gaming environment is an incredibly fertile environment to be able to tell those brand stories.
“It’s not that it’s a parallel universe,” Gottl said. “It’s a fluid universe that moves in and out of your life, especially for kids who are digital natives. Their virtual lives have as much meaning to them as their IRL life.
“Brands that can win on those platforms and brands that can present themselves like they do in the real world are going to come out the winners in the future,” he said. “They’re the ones who are going to be able to not just reach people in gaming, but more importantly also the real world. It’s going to be one thing, it’s not this or that, it will be together.”