Fashion and gaming aren’t necessarily two worlds that many people would put together – and with good reason. One has traditionally been the preserve of the cool, beautiful, and rich; the other has long been deemed ‘nerd culture’ and brought to mind pale, spotty, skinny youths sat staring at computer screens.
In recent years, though, as technology has advanced and started to infiltrate almost every aspect of daily life (think Smart fridges and other household appliances, smartphones that are almost as powerful as computers, and modern pop culture) being a nerd has essentially become ‘cool’. And it’s because of this that the fashion world has started to take note.
From the 2016 Met Gala theme – Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology – and Zendaya’s awe-inspiring, light-up Cinderella dress at the 2019 Met Gala, to the proliferation of videogame symbols, characters, and emblems on high-fashion clothing and accessories, it seems that ‘nerd culture’, so to speak, has become the in-thing over the last decade.
But how have we reached this stage?
What’s the Link?
It’s fair to say that the success of Sony’s PlayStation consoles, Microsoft’s Xbox consoles, and Nintendo’s Switch (among their other consoles) have launched the profile of gaming into the stratosphere of ‘cool’ in the past 20 years. And, with the popularity of smartphones meaning that almost everyone now holds their own mini-computer in their hands 24/7, computer games were no longer confined to geek culture – they’ve become accessible to everyone and anyone.
Add to this the rise of social media – a space where people can follow, like, and celebrate their pop culture favorites – alongside games such as Pokémon GO!, and the link between the two is much clearer. From characters and symbols from the gaming world becoming tattoos, to brief nods to various game franchises on clothing apparel, nerd culture can be seen absolutely everywhere.
Just as modern nerd culture (including animated TV programs and the Marvel/DC Comic films) has inspired fashion, it appears that the fashion world has, in turn, started to influence the world of gaming – it’s even possible to see the influence of modern culture on some of the best online slots!
In long-running games franchises such as The Sims, fashion has become an integral aspect for players, with the games even featuring outfits inspired by nerd culture, such as Star Wars, Pokémon, and VR game playing. But it’s games such as Drest that truly demonstrate the intrinsic link between the two worlds. Featuring style challenges and high-fashion content, it’s the most recent example of the impact fashion has had on the gaming world, alongside Louis Vuitton’s partnership with League of Legends, and the incorporation of Marc Jacobs and Valentino outfits on Animal Crossing.
An Eye for Art
If you then consider how art and gaming have been linked together in recent years (despite Roger Ebert’s strenuous denial of this fact), with artists creating pieces inspired by either the styles or practices utilized by game creators and the rise of stunning graphics in online gaming, it’s fair to say that nerd culture has pretty much become one of the dominant forces in the modern world, straddling a whole host of different parts of the creative industries.
Whether you’re a casual gamer who enjoys displaying your nerdy loves on your apparel, or a high-fashion follower who has embraced the takeover of technology and gaming culture, there’s no doubt that you have witnessed the rise of nerd culture over the past decade – and are probably enjoying its success.