Fashion is a living breathing entity. It adapts and evolves to the environment around it, just like any other creature.
The factors that influence fashion are infinite, but they too evolve over time. For example, in centuries gone by, fashion was entirely functional, serving to keep us warm, gaurd our dignity, and offer a degree of protection while toiling away in a field or workshop.
Over time, technology has made it possible to create different fabrics, leading to more frequent fluctuations in fashion fads. Meanwhile, globalization meant that garments could be produced more cheaply and, therefore, more plentifully.
Elements of pop culture influence fashion too. Fans of rock music are more prone to donning leather, while those who enjoy raving to techno music will often wear bright colors. Of course, this is an oversimplified example, but the premise remains true.
Just like music, movies, and television, gaming too has an influence on fashion, albeit in slightly different ways.
The Original Gaming Fashions
Perhaps the first example of gaming influencing fashion can be seen from casinos. These giant gaming houses have been operating for centuries, leading to the formulation of some unique traditions and etiquette.
Before the second half of the 20th century, visiting a casino would have usually meant wearing smart attire. The most exclusive and prestigious establishments would even require men to wear black tie and women to visit in evening gowns.
A good example of this can be seen in just about every casino scene in the James Bond movie franchise. Any time 007 sits down at the felt, he’s wearing a perfectly-tailored dinner suit with an immaculate bowtie.
As time went on, the influence of Las Vegas helped to relax some of these rules. In particular, the game of poker, which often attracted eccentric characters in cowboy hats, helped to shift the public’s perception.
On top of that, the internet has changed the way that many people play casino games. Instead of having to visit a physical establishment, they can simply open up their laptop or whip out their smartphone and get to playing their favorite games in just a few taps.
The market for online casinos is huge. This can be seen from the fact that there are dozens of major brands offering bonuses to new players in just about every US state that has permitted their operation. In other countries, like the UK, the number of operators is many times bigger, with hundreds of bonuses on the market at any one time.
With people playing at home in anything they want, casinos are, today, much more relaxed in their dress codes. Most will now accept patrons in any outfit, provided it covers enough skin and is tasteful.
It’s not just where and when people can play games that influences what they wear. In more recent years, gaming companies have discovered that there is a lot of demand for merchandise related to their products, and clothing is a big part of this.
Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, Valve, and Epic Games all have their own lines of clothing merchandise. These products contain graphics taken from and inspired by their video games, such as Take-Two’s Rockstar Games Official Store, which sells caps similar to the ones worn in Grand Theft Auto titles and T-shirts with logos from its games emblazoned on the front.
This is, by no means, a new idea. For example, branded T-shirts and other clothing have been used by companies like Disney since the 1960s as a way to generate additional revenue, gain extra exposure, and build a community.
But this has also had an impact on fashion, as more and more people choose to dress in this merchandise.
A more recent trend is one where fashion houses are designing pieces for video games. The most high-profile case of this is the 2021 collaboration between Epic Games and Balenciaga which saw the fashion brand design items for Fortnite characters to wear.
It went further than that though because, in addition to being able to buy these digital garments to wear inside the Fortnite game, players with enough cash could buy physical versions to wear in the real world.