By John Glenday, Reporter

September 21, 2021 | 3 min read

Fashion brand Balenciaga has proven itself to be game for anything after transposing its line of clothing and shoes from the real world to the virtual world of Fortnite.

The Spanish fashion house has teamed up with Epic Games to spearhead its transmedia push, which has seen the retailer painstakingly scan materials and clothing from all directions for an authentic depiction of the brand aesthetic within the gaming world.

Players wishing to look their best will be able to drop into a virtual Balenciaga store showcasing digital attire, which can be purchased directly or unlocked via a physical purchase.

Non-gamers won’t be left out in the cold by all this activity either, with the high-definition data being used to create 3D billboard experiences in London, New York, Tokyo and Seoul. A different league from pasted posters, these follow the hi-tech digitization theme by utilizing Epic’s Unreal Engine software to accurately model lighting conditions in real-time to match the prevailing atmospheric conditions of the billboard site, further fusing the real and virtual worlds.

Demna Gvasalia, artistic director at Balenciaga, said: “Our partnership with Epic didn’t start with Fortnite. It started with our own first video game, Afterworld, which we built using Unreal Engine to debut our Fall 2021 collection. From there, we have continued to be inspired by the creativity of Unreal and Fortnite communities. It made total sense to me that we collaborate further by creating these authentic Balenciaga looks for Fortnite and a new physical Fortnite clothing series for our stores.”

Fortnite’s popularity has seen it established as the go-to digital destination for brands, such as ITV, O2 and Singapore-based bank DBS, that wish to dip a toe into the metaverse of shared virtual experiences, with branded merchandise, environments and costumes ensuring that consumers are immersed in particular products and businesses even after they’ve logged out of the real world.

This gold rush still has enormous untapped potential, however, with a blending of the physical and digital experiences only likely to mesh further in the years ahead, bringing brands up to an entirely new level.

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