Video games have entered mainstream culture decades ago, but today gamers are more like celebrities with millions of fans online. That means, among other things, the days of gamers wearing oversized sportswear and t-shirts are long gone. Sports athletes and streamers are now all dressed in urban styles mixed with a chic sexiness.
The result is a fusion of Korea’s luxury brand fetish, streetwear, fantasy video games, and Japan’s “kawaii” culture.
Big brands have noticed. Tyler Blevins, the hugely popular video game streamer known as Ninja, signed with Adidas and released a limited edition of the “night runner”, almost sold out. instantly. Gucci partnered with London’s Fnatic esports team on a $ 1,600 diving watch. Louis Vuitton has teamed up with League of Legends, the most popular esports in the world, for a limited number of capsules and shirts. And designer Jeff Staple, often credited with being the starter of the collectible sneaker revolution, worked with the Overwatch League on a single line of jerseys.
“I feel that while streetwear is on the rise, gaming culture is on the rise,” says Mr. Staple. “In 2018, when the Overwatch League was first approached, that’s when the roads started to cut in.”
Gaming accessories are also very stylish. Players can be seen wearing large headphones with a keyboard sticking out of the backpack. HyperX created a popular line of gaming headsets. Its ambassadors include singer Post Malone, Pittsburgh Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Daigo Umehara, Street Fighter champion.
For their fans, players show off a wide variety of styles, from the team’s branded hoodie to camo jackets to Pokémon cosplay. We talked to three players about how they think about their looks: an influencer, a pro gamer, and an amateur gamer.
The 24-year-old Streamer Twitch known as Pokimane has more than 7 million followers on the platform. Her style mixes comfort, cuteness and streetwear.
I see many streamers and esports athletes dyeing their hair with unnatural colors. Why?
Whether it’s your hair or your accessory, it truly becomes part of your brand and, in essence, a symbol of who you are. For example Ninja: It has blue hair. For me, it’s wavy brown hair and headphones, almost all the time.
In terms of accessories, what do you like to wear when you go live?
It’s more about the kind of accessories you don’t want to wear. For example, I find that I don’t usually wear earrings or bracelets much because the earrings actually get in the way of your headphones and it can hurt. And the bracelet interferes with the armrest on your gaming chair.
Streetwear is especially popular among gaming and esports. Why?
It’s still something you’re comfortable with. You can wear it up or down. That’s the comfort aspect that really matters when you sit down for more than six hours in your PC chair.
What brands of streetwear are you wearing now?
I love Prix. I’ve always really liked some nice sportswear – if you consider Adidas or Nike as a streetwear type. And one of my all-time favorite stores is called Maniere De Voir.
Is there any pressure on stream women who want to look cute, and does that conflict with comfort?
I think since no brand specifically targets that – clothing that is comfortable to sit or walk around – sport seems to be something people default to because there are no other options. Adidas, Nike and especially Lululemon.
With Twitch having a majority of the male audience, is there a need to wear glamorous outfits? Does that contradict your more humble appearance and how do you navigate that?
I think there is a wish for both of them, honestly. There are people who will ask you to dress more revealing, but then if you decide to do so, there are people who will comment on vulgar things. I find that it’s best to just do what you want and what makes you feel comfortable.
How has pandemic affected your style?
At first, the isolation didn’t affect my style too much as I always worked from home. However, I recently started looking for items that I used to keep for special outings, and wore them at home just to spice up and use them until it is safe to go out.
Known as ZooMaa, he’s a professional Call of Duty League player for the New York Subliners, part of the esports organization Andbox, which has a clothing design arm. Earlier this month, he announced that he would stop playing due to constant wrist pain, although he will continue to stream.
What are you wearing here?
I wore a piece of my collection, a hoodie, and I only wore a pair of jeans and a few white shoes to go with it. I’m a very straightforward guy when it comes to clothes.
What is your goal with this collection?
I just wanted something that looked good that anyone could wear outdoors, no matter what age. I wanted something that people could wear to school without calling “gamers”.
What do you mean by “shouting” gamer “?
May look like a group name. Or like a bunch of sponsored jerseys, stuff like that. I wanted something more, such as everyday clothing that people could wear to work, school or work.
What’s wrong with the outfits screaming “gamer”?
Absolutely not. It’s just that, for me, not everyone knows a lot about gaming, so I just think having something more versatile that anyone can wear would be really great. But obviously I’m a gamer, so there’s a little bit of fun playing the game.
What is integrated into the clothing for gaming purposes?
Hand warmers are a big thing. So having a hoodie with nice pockets or nice bags like that can keep your hands warm in between matches.
And why is hand warmers important?
The locations are always really cold. So there’s hand warmers on deck, just keeping in between matches keeps your hands nice and warm and not loose.
You have a custom PlayStation 4 controller made by Scuf Gaming. Explain the importance of having a custom controller.
It is a comfortable one. They do little things that help with your game. They give you a really good look at the controller. Smart trigger and smart bumper, which I think is the most important. They are only more sensitive than a conventional controller.
You grew up in Cranford, NJ and now you represent the New York Subliners. How important is your image?
It is quite important to me. I’ve always wanted to represent the team that I play in just because I’m proud of that.
Have you changed your outlook during a pandemic?
Not really, just like to change styles depending on what season is hot and what season.
The 20-year-old gamer and Twitch live stream is coming up in San Jose, California, of Nate.
Explain your wake up process with a camo jacket.
I decided to go with that jacket simply because it is a little bit different but not too flashy. I tend not to wear too many printed colors, but I think zebra is something that doesn’t really get worn too much anymore.
And what are these necklaces?
One, one skull, and the other are the pendant of a lion. They add a little flair to whatever you’re wearing and it adds a touch of personality to your outfit. I think one of them looks like the emblem of an esports team, the Houston Outlaws.
And then the rest of your team?
So starting with the shoes, I’m wearing the Adidas Yeezy Boost Pirate Black. I think they stand out. Quite simply as they are all black, as are the matching Levi’s 501 men’s jeans.
You’re wearing a HyperX headset and HyperX has already had endorsement deals with major athletes and gamers. Is that why you choose them?
I think HyperX makes a lot of audio gear with a slightly better quality and a little more comfort as well as with just a cleaner look.
What about the keyboard you are using?
The keyboard is the Ducky One 2 Mini. It’s a 60% keyboard, which means it’s traditionally smaller than most keyboards that also have fewer keys, so the arrow keys are actually the I, J, K, and L keys as well. Hop on this hype train where Tfue players are already using this keyboard. I think it’s really cool.
As you build your presence, you gain influence. And with your influence, your personal image and brand get more adhered to. What role does fashion play in all that?
Influential, you have more people looking at you, you have more idols. If you don’t have a sense of fashion, you might be considered like a bookworm. But in a way, it changes the way people see you, making them think you’re cool or not.
How has your style changed during the lockout?
Since being quarantined, I’ve looked much more comfortable with a figure skating aesthetic. I think the best thing about dressing this way is that it doesn’t have to be that expensive. Find clothes, with most locations closed and mostly inside, plenty of time to shop online.