Written by Natasha Lawrence
For Fall 2021, Balenciaga released its collection in the form of a video game, and honestly, we need to talk about it.
From branded colouring and activity sheets to Fendi make-it-at-home pasta and Loewe’s paper cut-outs, the fashion industry has been aiming to get more creative with their viewing experience since Covid hit, and limited in-person ways to view a collection and maintain engagement.
Balenciaga took the notion to new heights when Demna Gvasalia’s fall 2021 collection was presented in the brand’s first venture into the world of gaming via, Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow. In the ‘game’ players embark on a journey into the year 2031, where they move through different zones starting with a post-apocalyptic Balenciaga store, and ending by reaching salvation. Along the journey, players meet avatars wearing looks from the collection.
The games goal, aside from actually viewing the collection, is to make it through all 5 zones in under 20-minutes. After reaching Zone 5’s mountain top, the ‘hero’ becomes a Master of Two Worlds, and the player is rewarded with a real-life breathing exercise. From there, you are redirected to Balenciaga’s fall 2021 lookbook.
The designs for the collection feature multi-functional pieces, including a coat that can be transformed into a blanket, and a parka that can convert to a duffle bag. The most stand-out piece we can’t wait to see IRL: the silver or gold medieval armour-style boots.
From the moment we saw the avatars to the entry into the Balenciaga store, we couldn’t believe how amazing the whole experience was. Each ‘look’ is displayed in great detail, and each level contains different surroundings, that give a glimpse into Gvasalia’s idea of what a dystopian future could look like: ad for lab-grown food, flying buses, and billboards promoting water conservation and renewable energy. Even many of the materials used in the collection are up-cycled.
While we do miss actual fashion shows and presentations, it is quite nice and even a bit of fun to experience fashion in whole new ways.
Play the game and experience the collection here.