According to forecasts, by 2020, revenues from the esports industry will amount to about one and a half billion dollars - quite a significant figure for a young business. Famous esportsmen are already being watched by armies of fans, and their streams - live broadcasts on the Internet - are gaining hundreds of thousands of followers and bring good earnings. These impressive statistics are one of the reasons the fashion and esports businesses have decided to join forces.
Last year's projects closely related to gaming include Tommy Hilfiger's Tommy Jeans XPLORE collection. Each item and accessory from the capsule was equipped with a special chip that allowed you to earn points for wearing clothes and, with their help, win various prizes, including invitations to the designer's fashion show. Prior to that, other big brands, including Louis Vuitton, were inspired by video games. It's no surprise that the fashion and gaming industries are getting closer to each other - this is beneficial to both industries. Thanks to gamers, the mod gains access to a huge audience of 2.3 billion people who play video games every day.
The next step was the collaboration of esports teams with streetwear brands. One of the first to support the trend was the American team New York Excelsior and the streetwear brand UNDEFEATED. In 2018, they released a joint collection, which can be found in the band's Brooklyn pop-up store. It is designed not only for men, but also for women, since their total share in the fan base reaches 30%.
Fashion came to Russia thanks to the Winstrike holding. It is the second major player in the Russian esports industry after ESforce, created in 2015 and acquired by Mail.ru Group last January for $ 100 million. Winstrike appeared in November 2017 on investments that were attracted by the holding's CEO Yaroslav Komkov. Now the company is opening e-sports clubs, representing its team at international tournaments, and also doing marketing. In April 2018, a multifunctional Winstrike Arena appeared in the Central Children's Store in Moscow - an entertainment complex with an area of 1000 sq. m, and the company began negotiations to launch similar gaming arenas in Toronto, Lisbon, Berlin and Warsaw.
Winstrike Arena © winstrike.gg
One of the holding's divisions, a marketing agency headed by Lina Komkova, is engaged in cooperation with lifestyle brands. Previously, the girl was engaged in digital campaigns at Warner Bros. in Russia, and now collects interesting projects in the portfolio of an esports company. As Lina notes, one of the most significant events for Winstrike took place in August 2018: the holding presented its own team and for the first time in Russia presented a uniform developed by a fashion brand.
“The idea of creating a team outfit with the participation of a brand or designer came from the very beginning,” says Lina. - If you look, the majority of esportsmen, even at the global level, do not pay attention to this. Clubs are limited to T-shirts and caps at most, and we wanted to provide players with a full-fledged image that will distinguish them. We had to simultaneously solve the problem of convenience, because sometimes gamers spend 12 hours at computers, and make them look like a close-knit team. For example, Manchester United footballers can be identified not only when they take to the pitch, but in public they always wear the club's branded uniforms."
The Moscow brand Outlaw became the partner of the fashion project. He is well known abroad for his liberal views. For more than four years the company has been headed by Maxim Bashkaev and Dilyara Minrakhmanova. Both parties turned out to be interested in cooperation: for Outlaw, esports has become another creative field, and Winstrike has a team of like-minded people who can make their fantasies come true. “We met with the guys and showed them what eSports is. These are huge stadiums around the world, where tens of thousands of spectators gather and follow the game. They were hooked not only by the roaring halls, but also by the atmosphere of the new rock and roll: the gamers themselves, who look cool, love fashion, they follow their style and appearance. They are no longer boys with glasses who sit at computers,”continues Lina.
The collection is inspired by esports, space and sci-fi. The outfit includes jersey, hoodies, windbreakers, joggers and trainers created in collaboration with Puma. The capsule did not go on sale, but aroused great interest among fans, so the company decided to duplicate the branded T-shirts in a limited edition. These were available for purchase at Winstrike Arena. But this, of course, is not the last project: in the new year the team plans to launch a joint product with a well-known music label, as well as continue to work in the field of fashion retail.
The Puma brand is also eager to collaborate with other esports organizations. For example, this spring he will become the official partner and supplier of the American esports team Cloud9 for the game League of Legends. However, there is one nuance: all participants in the North American championship undertake to wear jersey only from the official partner - the We Are Nations brand. So Puma had to agree that their logo would appear on third-party clothing, which is an extremely rare case. Fans will not be able to buy Puma pants or sneakers with the symbols of their favorite team, the partnership is purely advertising in nature, although both parties are already hinting at a possible continuation of cooperation.
Esports team Cloud9 © cloud9.gg
According to Lina, the main reason for the success of such collaborations is the continuously growing audience volumes. So, last year the popular American gamer Ninja invited rapper Drake to stream and instantly set a record for views - more than 600 thousand people from all over the world watched them live at a time. This argument has convinced many lifestyle brands that joint projects with esports players can bring not only popularity, but also good income.
Gamer Ninja © instagram.com/ninja
Already, various cosmetic and technological brands are entering the territory of teams, including Gillette, Head & Shoulders, AX. In addition, thanks to collaboration, another important shift is taking place in the industry: the stereotype that gaming is not a profession is gradually disappearing. Now streamers are turning into stars and influencers with the potential for the future.>