In September of 2021, Balenciaga and Fortnite collaborated to release new products into the gaming industry. The products in the collaboration were both virtual, within the Fortnite game, and physical, which were sold on Balenciaga’s website. The virtual products within the game were sold in virtual stores within the game that looked exactly like real in-person Balenciaga stores. Additional to this, Balenciaga sold physical clothing items that replicated some of the ones available in the video game.
What Did The Collaboration Offer?
The collaboration had virtual and physical products.
On the virtual Fortnite side the products included:
- 4 new skins (characters)
- 4 new back blings
- 5 new pickaxes
- 1 new glider
- 3 new wraps
- 1 new emote
If you are not a Fortnite player, these products may not make much sense to you but they are all explained and described later in this article.
On the physical Balenciaga side the products included:
- Jean jackets
All of these products were available for sale on Balenciaga’s website and were branded with both Fortnite and Balenciaga.
Balenciaga is a luxury fashion brand with over 180 stores across the world.
The Beginnings of Balenciaga
Balenciaga was founded in 1918 by Cristóbal Balenciaga, hence the name of the brand. It initially had a boutique in San Sebastián, Spain, and later expanded to open stores in Madrid and Barcelona. During the Spanish Civil War, Cristóbal was forced to close his boutiques, so he moved to Paris where he eventually opened stores there. This is where the company really began to quickly grow. Balenciaga’s first runway took place in 1937.
The main identity of the brand is quality, Balenciaga prides itself in the phenomenal quality of all of its products. They also focus on making their luxury products practical. This is a very strong commitment because since the clothes are so expensive, it is important that it can be worn often and it is not just for show in storage.
Balenciaga’s Commitments to The World And Community
Balenciaga has commitments towards the World Food Programme, Sustainability, Re-sell program, Pride, and Earth Day.
Balenciaga has collaborated and continues to do so with the World Food Programme. They release collections to raise awareness in regard to the recent spike in global hunger and to support global efforts to end this hunger by 2030. These collections also raise money for the cause while raising awareness because the clothing in the collection has information about the World Food Programme on it.
Balenciaga is also very committed to improving its sustainability efforts. They have commitments to ethically and sustainably manage their operations at all levels including their offices, stores, and along their supply chain. The brand is fur and exotic leather-free and they are committed to the goal of meeting 100% metal-free tanned leather in their collections by 2025.
Balenciaga has joined the circular fashion revolution by partnering with Reflaunt to make it easier for their customers to resell their used Balenciaga clothing pieces. To find out how this works, visit their website here.
Balenciaga also partners with Outright to advocate for human rights with and on behalf of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Balenciaga made a collection with merch-type clothing that is meant to show support and advocate for people within the LGBTQ+ community. The funds raised from this collection go towards the cause.
Balenciaga also is very supportive of Earth Day. For Earth Day in 2022, they partnered with Kiss the Ground, which is a regenerative agriculture advocate. They work to recognize the fashion industry’s intrinsic link to natural ecosystems. Balenciaga partnered with them to work to make positive change.
Balenciaga offers a large variety of products on its website. These products include:
- Coats & Jackets
- Sweatshirts & Hoodies
- Tops & Shirts
- Dresses & Skirts
- Coats & Jackets
- Sweatshirts & Hoodies
- Active Wear
- Small Leather Goods
- Travel Pillows
- Shopping Bags
- Table Sets
- Laser Cubes
Fortnite is an extremely popular video game that launched in 2017. Fortnite can be played on IOS, Mac, Google Play, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox. The game was developed by Epic Games and it is free to play. It is an online battle royale type of game in which you play against others online and the objective is to be the last person standing. In other words, it is a survival game between 100 players. There is an option to play single-player, in a duo, or in a team of 4.
How Fortnite Works
The game begins with the characters on the Battle Bus and they must jump off. Once they are on the ground, they must scavenge for guns and other items that will help them win the game. There are items referred to as “loot” that can give players an advantage. Some of these items are health boost elixirs, weapons, building materials, ammo, and more. These items can be found in random places within the map of the game and also in chests hidden in the buildings of the game. When a player eliminates another player from the game, they can receive that player’s weapons and everything they had collected. The ultimate goal of the game is to get the Victory Royale, which means the player/the duo/the team of four are the last ones not eliminated in the game.
Fortnite Additional Add-Ons
Although the game is free to play, there are optional add-ons that many players do decide to purchase.
The most popular add-on is the Battle Pass. The Battle Pass is a package that you pay for on a subscription basis and each season you get rewards and new objects that have just been released within that season. These rewards and objects include V bucks (Fortnite’s currency), new characters, new pick axes, new e-motes (actions your characters can do such as dances), new back blings, and more.
Characters, Back Blings, and Pickaxes
In Addition to the Battle Pass that comes out with each new season of the game, players can purchase individual add-ons. Within the game, you pick a character and the character comes with different style options, that include different clothing items. A character in Fortnite is referred to as a “skin.” Although a certain character’s outfit cannot be put on a new character, there are backblings and pickaxes that can be purchased and used by any character. Backblings are backpacks that the character wears to carry all of its items during the battle. Pickaxes are used by the characters during the battle to build and knock down infrastructure, which helps the character hide and/or reveal where other characters may be.
When Fortnite was released, it gained promising results right off the bat. Within two weeks of Battle Royale being public, there were already over 10 million subscribers. Within 10 months, the game was ranked as being worth $1.2 Billion. Now in 2022 Fornite is worth at least $50 billion. In 2021 the game was played by over 270 million players throughout the world. According to Dexerto.com, Fortnite has between 2.9 and 4 million concurrent players at any time.
The Revolutionary Collab of Balenciaga and Fortnite
The collab between Balenciaga and Fortnite was the first of its kind. A physical store partnered with a videogame to create a virtual store with virtual products for the first time in history. Balenciaga and Fortnite are very different at their core, but that is what makes this collaboration so smart.
Capitalization on Demographic Differences
Balenciaga is a luxury brand with a very high price category. Fortnite is just the opposite. The fact that it is free but there are additional add-ons that are heavily enjoyed allows Fortnite to reach a bigger audience because there are varying price ranges. This allows Balenciaga to appeal to and gain popularity with a much wider audience that may have never even thought about Balenciaga and its products.
Additionally to the price aspect, there is an age discrepancy between the two brand’s consumer bases. Balenciaga has mostly mature adult consumers whereas Fortnite has younger consumers. Fortnite definitely has a wider range of consumers when it comes to age, however officially, around 60% of their player base is between the ages of 18 and 24. However, this age may be much lower because many young players may lie about their age in order to gain access to playing the game. Additionally, around 20% of their player base is between the ages of 25 to 34. This shows how Fornite appeals to younger people, mostly men who represent around 72% of the player base.
Both of these demographic differences allowed Balenciaga to capitalize on this amazing opportunity to reach a much different audience than their brand usually reaches. The game became so popular so quickly that it was a great chance for both Fortnite and Balenciaga to capitalize on a whole new kind of collaboration.
Growth of Virtual Industries
The industry of virtual worlds has grown immensely within the past few years, and it is expected to continue to grow exponentially. The start of the Metaverse market has boomed and created a virtual reality world that is extremely lucrative. The global virtual reality market is currently worth $28.42 billion and is expected to be worth $87 billion in 2030. Although Fortnite is not technically, virtual reality Balenciaga is making headway as the first luxury brand to have a virtual collaboration with virtual and physical products.
Final Thoughts: A Powermove Done by Fortnite and Balenciaga
Fortnite and Balenciaga successfully executed a collaboration in a way that the world had never seen before. At first, the public was extremely confused about this collaboration, however, once it was released the critics immediately had great things to say about it. The collaboration offered fashion in a virtual setting that had a physical component to it. It brought luxury fashion to the virtual video game world and appealed to a generation that has heavy interests in both fashion and virtual games and worlds.