I grew up in Detroit in the 90’s, height of hip-hop culture and music (before it became just pop music). Part of that culture and what made it so electrifying is unfortunately, materialism. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Versace, and other high fashion houses were already well established but saw even higher peaks through the consumerism of rap music. Certain brands are now inextricably linked to rap and hip-hop. So it comes as no surprise that a partnership between Louis Vuitton and Riot Games would come about when League of Legends was creating a Hip-Hop music group. There’s a chicken/egg conversation about what came first the partnership or the music group, but the point still stands that some high fashion brands understand that they are in lock step with the rap world, even digital artists.
Made For Who, Truly?
Louis Vuitton dropped a pretty amazing skin for the champion Qiyana in League of Legends which featured in an in-universe music video for the game. They also made the world’s most devastatingly beautiful case for the “Summoner’s Cup”, League’s championship trophy. They’ve dedicated some of the fashion world’s most masterful artisans and had them make stuff for a video game. Just let that sink in for a moment. Video Games, something that for the better part of thirty years was the antithesis of cool. A sub-culture steeped in obscure knowledge and child-like enthusiasm. Not something that lead people to win popularity contests. Until fairly recently through the advent of streamer celebrities.
Content creators and streamers are becoming the new “rappers” if you will. Embodiments of self-determination and (sometimes) frivolous spending. But most of all. people. think. they. are. cool. And like myself many of these streamers are children of the 90’s and 2000’s that saw themselves glued to music videos and Hollywood red carpets hoping to be draped in Prada or D&G one day. Louis Vuitton knew this and through their League partnership dipped their toes in an industry that most people wouldn’t have never thought an old, legacy fashion house would enter.
The Case For Luxury Gaming
Knowing what brands like LV and others represent, and knowing what they’ve meant to consumers, means the prices of their goods makes total sense to me. Of course, I think paying $4,000 for a coat is excessive to the highest degree, but I like that there’s an option. I love the LVxLoL mini-backpack and the sneakers but I, personally, am not going to spend a semester’s tuition worth of money on it. But the prices of the LVxLoL collaboration are inline with other special collaborations LV has done, as exorbitant as they are. So while I would have loved for the items themselves to be more affordable they would have lost allure. And I don’t want them to, in fact, I want gaming to be conflated with luxury brands more. I want more game characters with high fashion skins. Why can’t I wear a Tom Ford in a Metal Gear Solid game? Why not have Vera Wang design a gown for some JRPG wedding cutscene? Or Virgil Abloh design outfits for the next GTA? I like that gaming is grown up enough to afford luxury goods now. Or at least old enough to put them on layaway.