Balenciaga and Fortnite Team Up for a Digital-to-Physical Partnership

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The Balenciaga and Fortnite world bleeds from virtual to physical. Inside the game, players can not only choose new Balenciaga outfits and accessories, they can also enter a Balenciaga store and do a custom Balencaiga dance. Users who buy and play in their new Balenciaga looks can also submit photos of their characters to be included on virtual billboards within the Fortnite town square. In the real Time’s Square, real humans can find a Doggo billboard and travel up Madison Avenue to the Balenciaga store where they’ll be able to shop a fully fleshed-out collection of Fornite and Balenciaga products. 

Photo: Courtesy of Epic Games

The expansive partnership between luxury maison and video game has obvious benefits for each: Balenciaga will meet a new audience of engaged players and Fortnite will enter into the high fashion lexicon. (Louis Vuitton and Nicolas Ghesquière also embarked on a similar partnership in 2019 with League of Legends.) But the Balenciaga x Fortnite collaboration isn’t just about marketing each brand to a new demographic, it’s about building a new shared language of creativity. “It’s not just about the outfits,” Phil Rampulla, Epic’s head of brand, told me on a Zoom call, “It’s the ultimate self-expression.” 

Balenciaga and Fortnite Team Up for a DigitaltoPhysical Partnership
Image may contain Clothing Apparel and TShirt
Photo: Courtesy of Balenciaga

Pushing fashion into new dimensions has been Gvasalia’s mission since his first collection at Balenciaga, and with a fully realized virtual world within Fortnite, he’s doing what few other designers have ever done before: exploring the metaverse in a more democratic way. It’s not a pricey NFT, it’s not a secretive Bitcoin item, or an exclusive augmented reality experience; Balenciaga’s Fortnite partnership puts the brand into the hands of millions of dedicated players with a relatively low barrier to entry.

Take it from a 13-year old player, who, having heard about the collab, told me, “This is so cool.”


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