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Are FIFA and PES the new boarder of the football-fashion relation?

The latest case of AS Roma with Brain Dead is the most important example

Are FIFA and PES the new boarder of the football-fashion relation?  The latest case of AS Roma with Brain Dead is the most important example

The relationship between football and fashion has become a reference point for sport in recent years. Since 2017, with the birth of many micro brands all over the world, we have witnessed collections, collaborations, events, tournaments until reaching zenith with collaborations such as Jordan x PSGPalace x JuventusHUMAN RACExadidas. But being a trend, like any bubble, it is destined to burst, so the same speech that Virgil Abloh made on streetwear applies: how many football shirts can we get to buy? In recent years an ecosystem of mini-brands, communities and teams had been created - from Tokyo to Los Angeles, passing through Milan, Paris and London - with an evident problem of overabundance of supply for a niche market like that of jersey enthusiasts. The high prices of jerseys but, moreover, the spread of coronavirus, which lead the people to give less importance to sport and to reduce their attraction to the football matches. So the fashion industry got tired of wearing gaming jerseys to go to fashion shows and it was the moment when many brands closed or scaled back their expectations. 

Today, however, videogames  - FIFA and PES on all - have revived a trend that was beginning its downward parable. Gaming have drawn on the creativity of these fashion collectives, managing to solve the main problem - its exhaustion - production and distribution costs compared to sales. This is a WIN-WIN operation in which FIFA and PES manage to get in the wake of other videogames - such as Animal Farm, League of Legens, NBA 2K and Football Manager - that have long made customization the digital apparel one of the main assets. While for the brand and creative communities, it is a way to relaunch your creativity, experiment and above all reach a much wider potential audience.

The GAMEPLAY of FIFA announced for the first time in edition 20 is Volta Football, a new age football in which you play on the street or on the fantasy field, focused on skills and with a small number of players. In this street universe, EA Sports has injected the essential concept of virtual reality applied to brands: gamers can dress their avatar like the will dress in the real life. This has allowed brands such as adidas, Nike or realities such as Nowhere F.C., which on Volta offers all the garments of its gaming collections. Not for nothing else, Volta hired Hector Bellerin as a creative to design the costumes that gamers can choose for their avatars. A move that enhances (and represents) the phenomenon of customization. On the other hand, it has always been a bit of an easter egg of football games, we all have at least one friend who spent the afternoons modifying the boots of the players to have perfected them. 

Brands have entered gaming because they see new visibility in it, as in the recent case of Football Manager. The popular video game for fictional coaches created the Football Manager Football Club, a team that is actually a community, but which has its own Hummel sponsored uniform. The Danish brand, in this sense, has a great visibility as an exclusive brand of one of the most popular video games in the world. It's always the same: the brand gains in visibility, the game becomes more attractive and complete. The link intersects between advertising and race to presence, in which both brands and companies have realized that they cannot but take an interest in the virtual environment. It is no coincidence that Rome presented the fourth kit designed by Brain Dead on PES, choosing the virtual as the foreman for reality.

At the business level, digital fashion is the unicorn of the moment: everyone is looking for a way to get into it and monetize it, but many are getting burned. Last season's parades were a failure, but there are exceptions. On the contrary, Gucci is the brand that is attacking the digital market best. A month ago Alessandro Michele presented the first all-digital sneaker, for which the Gucci Sneaker Garage was inaugurated, where users can dress avatars however they want and modify the brand's sneakers however they want.

The world of football is slower than that of fashion, clubs and big brands have tighter room for manoeuvre and less possibility of pilot projects, yet the various exclusive partnerships (such as those of Rome and Juventus) point in that direction. Digital jerseys also offer a test bench for experiments that can then find space in reality, or the possibility to use important data involving the reference community (draw jerseys, have fans vote, see which ones are the most used). Now fashion is linked to football in the digital world, but all started from the street and passed through fashion shows. What will be the next step?