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Who is Hideo Kojima?

From a videogame empire to the streetwear collabs

Who is Hideo Kojima? From a videogame empire to the streetwear collabs

Producer, developer or author. It is difficult to enclose Hideo Kojima in a single definition, to find a word that can describe who has been digging himself a place in pop culture since the 1990s, earning the status of an icon. Born in Tokyo and raised under the influence of Western culture, Kojima dreamed of being a movie director but, within the rigid and pressing Japanese society, he ended up studying economics first and then writing. He chose in particular to invest in a new form of art on the rise: video games and Famicom consoles, extremely popular at the time.

Things went better than expected and, year after year, Hideo Kojima climbed the pyramid of the video game world. From his early work to the Metal Gear Solid saga, Kojima brought the video game ever closer to the cinema, ending up creating a hybrid that carried the distinctive signature and coolness of its creator. Cut-scenes, screenplays and other typical elements of the filmic medium immediately became important elements for his work. And Kojima introduced them at a time when they were seen as secondary in a video game. A great creator and innovator, in recent years Hideo Kojima has become a veritable landmark of pop culture. His Instagram account contains a bible of tips between film and music, accompanied by group photos with actors and bands. The point of arrival of this personal journey is undoubtedly Death Stranding, the first Kojima Productions work after the split with Konami.

Announced during the 2016 Electronic Entertainment Expo with the iconic cry "I'm back", over the years the game has become the object of desire for thousands of gamers, quickly reaching that hype and that expectation that rarely find themselves in that world. Thanks also to the participation of Norman Reedus, Guillermo del Toro, Edgar Wright, Nicolas Winding Refn, Mads Mikkelsen and Margaret Qualley, the countdown to November 8th has made Death Stranding an event comparable to that in the streetwear world is the expectation for a Supreme drop or a new pair of Yeezy.

A comparison, the one with the world of fashion and hypebeast culture, that isn't casual. Despite never having shown a particular interest in the fashion world, the name of Hideo Kojima has recently often been put close to that of different fashion brands. If the Death Stranding merch had already become a must-have, it was two collaborations that elevated Kojima to an involuntary icon of style.

First the eyewear line created together with the maison Jean-François Rey, then a custom version of the ACRONYM J1A-GT jacket created by the designer and co-founder of the Errolson Hugh brand and inspired by the look of the protagonist of the game, Sam Porter. Started with the Air Presto Mid Acronym showcased by Kojima on more than one occasion, the collaboration with the Berlin brand has then reached the virtual world of Death Stranding through some items present directly in-game along with other product placements of brands such as the Monster energy drink and the aforementioned maison Jean-François Rey. 

The last step in the process of getting closer between Kojima and the streetwear world, however, is the collaboration with the Places + Faces collective, announced in anticipation of the launch of Death Stranding and sold out shortly after the online drop. Composed of a hoodie and a tee with a very simple design, the collaboration combines the branding of P + F with the iconic Kojima Production logo designed by Yoji Shinkawa on a black background enriched by a Death Stranding print on the tee. Born from the friendship between Kojima and the two founders of the brand Ciesay and Soulz, this collab is the further proof of the trans-cultural dimension assumed by the Japanese author, far from the stereotype of the marginalized gamer and close to the diffusion of fashion seen in recent times in the eSport environment in which Louis Vuitton collaborates with Riot Games for League of Legends and the proplayer Ninja establishes a partnership with adidas.

From this point of view, the role of Hideo Kojima becomes even more relevant, that of a creative able to attract attention through hype and expectations. A Virgil Abloh of virtual entertainment, an unconscious icon born of the strange marriage between the Eastern world and Western pop culture.