In the concert-less wasteland of 2021, digital is the new normal. And as the popularity of Gucci‘s 25 Virtual Sneaker makes clear, we are starting to see this in fashion too. In hindsight it seems inevitable we were heading toward a crossover. This leads us to the biggest music meets fashion meets gaming event of 2021 so far. I am talking, of course, about Arian Grande’s ‘The Rift’ Fortnite concert series.
Ariana Grande in Fortnite
Fortnite was the first online gaming platform to host an in-game performance. In 2019 it featured DJ Marshmello. More than ten million fans tuned in to watch the event. In April 2020, came a much-celebrated appearance by Travis Scott. Both events resulted in an overwhelmingly positive response.
On August 6th Epic Games, the developers of Fortnite, revealed their next colossal in-game performance. This time it was Ariana Grande. Not only is the pop superstar set to perform in a series of concerts. Gamers will also be able to customize their own avatars with a number of Ariana Grande skins and items.
“When all is said and done, You’ll believe God is a woman.”
Ariana Grande’s Fortnite skins draw from ‘Thank U, Next’
Both of the two skins revealed are strong expressions of female empowerment. They are a celebration of what it means to be a woman in this day and age. (Something which will no doubt leave a powerful impression on young gamers).
The first skin depicts Grande in a mana crystal dress. She pairs this with a matching set of boots. The outfit features a similar color palette used in the Grande’s iconic ‘God is a Woman‘ music video. With her signature ponytail extending to larger-than-life proportions, Grande certainly looks divine.
The second number from Grande surprises us with is a dazzling silver sequin two-piece Here the creators at Epic Games take another clever stylistic approach. They meld Fortnite’ss intergalactic sci-fi theme with Ariana Grande’s own distinctive style. The color of this powerful pays homage to the glamorous custom Giambattista Valli gown Grande wore on the Grammys red carpet in 2020. Another of her iconic Thank U, Next era looks
Grande’s items pay tribute to Super Mario, Lady Gaga and teacup pigs
The game will allow players to customize their characters with a number of Ariana Grande-inspired items. A free ‘Rift Tour Umbrella’ combines one of the favorite items of Super Mario love interest Princess Peach with Grande’s own ‘God is a Woman’ Prairie Dog-eared anime look. Another item is a crystal hammer. This draws from the design of the Mario-esque sledgehammer Grande wields in ‘God is a Woman’ and a bottle of her soon-to-be-released perfume of the same title.
Another image teases the image of a rainbow ejecting cloud hints at yet another item. It likely relates to Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga‘s hit 2020 collaboration ‘Rain On Me‘ as well as her Cloud perfume line. Epic even playfully incorporates Grande’s pet pig Piggy Smallz in the form of a digital backpack.
Why Gen Z is interested in digital fashion
The concept of digital fashion has been present in the gaming world for quite some time. What makes Ariana Grande’s Fortnite appearance influential and significant is its timing. In 2021 our world has increasingly begun to migrate to the cyberverse. With many of us unable to leave our homes during the coronavirus pandemic, digital fashion has been one of our newest temporary serotonin boosts.
Digital fashion allows users to live out their fast fashion dreams free from harmful environmental consequences. What is more, the expanding popularity of digital fashion provides a fresh unique way of self-expression and experimentation. As a member of Gen Z and a lover of both fashion and our planet, I find the concept of Ariana Grande’s Fortnite appearance an intriguing one.
A digital concert poster for Grande’s Rift Tour
Final thoughts on Ariana Grande and Fortnite
What makes this collaboration so effective is its attention to detail. A lot of thought has been taken in translating one of pop’s biggest superstars into a gaming context. Epic Games have worked hard to identify what it is people like about Grande’s visual image. These designers have taken the fantasy elements already present in her music videos and amplified them to even greater proportions.
It would not be surprising to see elements of this look feeding back into Grande’s own aesthetic. Items such as her Piggy Smallz backpack are certainly something fans will soon be demanding in real life. Much of the energy and inspiration of modern culture currently sits within the gaming world. Which begs the question of how long it will be until these gaming-inspired outfits find their way into luxury fashion and everyday dress.