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Animal Crossing Fashion: Everything You Need to Know in 3 Minutes

Virtual fashion shows and downloadable designer clothes - this is The Fashion Digital guide to the wonderful (and well-dressed) world of Animal Crossing fashion.

Fashion and gamification aren't strangers. There was Moschino’s Sims collection, Kenzo’s Shopping League game and Louis Vuitton’s skins for League of Legends, all of which were press-worthy but never made a longstanding impact. That was, until the well-timed release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a game for Nintendo Switch that sees players 'escape to a deserted island and create their own paradise; exploring, creating and customising their island life'. Offering up a use for furloughed hands during the COVID-19 pandemic, the game has attracted the attention of even the most unlikely of players – namely, the fashion crowd – and spurned a new kind of brand collab and even influencer.

There are countless features on this phenomenon, but we have distilled everything you need to know into seven essential nuggets, below.

1. Players can customise clothes

New Horizons, the latest iteration of Animal Crossing, launched in March with the added functionality to customise your islander’s outfits. You do this by selecting the 'Customs Designs' option on the Nook Phone. For advance customisation, you’ll need to buy the 'Custom Design Pro Editor' for 800 Nook Miles via the 'Redeem Nook Miles' option at the Nook Stop.

2. These designs can be shared

Custom clothing designs can be saved and shared via QR codes. You can also download others’ designs anywhere online by scanning the QR code. Nylon has put together a pretty comprehensive list of brands' QR codes here.

3. It began with bootlegs

Well-designed bootlegs pre-dated legitimate brand collabs on the game, with Animal Crossing designers creating imitations of well-known pieces by the likes of Off-White, Prada, Gucci and Chanel, in which to dress their avatars.

4. Now brands are getting in on the action

Anna Sui and Sandy Liang are two such early adopters, recreating pieces from their collections as downloadable looks. Liang even created a lookbook, as well as an island pop-up store that attracted a queue of over 100 visitors. Meanwhile, Marc Jacobs and Valentino have each commissioned Animal Crossing fashion Instagrammer, @animalcrossingfashionarchive to recreate looks into downloadable avatar outfits. And always ahead of the curve, Glossier worked with @nookstreetmarket on an exclusive, virtual reimagining of the Glossi-wear hoodie.

5. Animal Crossing fashion influencers are a thing

The option to create bespoke outfits has birthed a new kind of Instagram influencer, with the likes of @animalcrossingarchive, @nookstreetmarket and @crossingtherunway sharing their designs (inspired by te likes of Vetements, Gucci and Yohji Yamamoto) to their collective 90k+ followers. Karla Chung, the 28 year-old creator behind @animalcrossingarchive spoke to Vogue about the bootlegged Supreme hoodie that inspired her IG account.

6. There is emerging talent, too

The aforementioned AC fashion accounts may be the most popular, but there are a whole host of smaller Instagrammers nipping at their heels. The ones to watch are @nookrunway, whose eclectic offerings include Comme des Garçons, Alexander McQueen and Prada, @nookseymiyake for cult menswear brands, @acnhstudios for Scandi minimalism and Japanese designers, and @nookrepeller, who combines Chanel and Mansur Gavriel with space helmuts and bunny-ear hats to chic effect.

7. There are even runway shows

As part of Reference Festival, @animalcrossingarchive teamed up with stylist Marc Goehring to create a catwalk show, complete with music curated by Michel Gaubert (the esteemed sound director behind the show soundtracks for Loewe, J.W. Anderson, Christian Dior, and more). And just last week, Hypebae hosted their own invitation-only fashion show. At least if you manage to secure a virtual fashion show invite, you're guaranteed a front-row seat.

Words by Natalie Hughes


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