London-based fashion designer Charli Cohen’s pursuit of fashion’s future has brought her to Blizzard Entertainment, with an upcoming collaboration with the latter’s much anticipated game Diablo IV.
Hewing to the fantasy role-playing game, Cohen puts fashion’s lens on the dark world of Sanctuary, a dramatic stylized environment where players congregate in towns, trade, fight formidable bosses and compete against other players. Apparently the post-apocalyptic future is filled with patchwork denims and plaids.
More from WWD
According to the brand, that’s just one part of the experience. The collab will feature augmented reality activations and NFC chip-enabled certification, along with the integrations with physical garments. As part of the community, people will also be able to attend in-person events, and more digital integrations look likely in the future.
The collection kicks off with a pop-up experience at Selfridges in London on June 12, a week after the game’s launch on June 5. (Update: Post-publication, the brand reported that the launch date has been pushed back to June 19.)
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Diablo IV for this groundbreaking fusion of gaming and fashion,” Cohen said in a statement. “As we become increasingly digital in the ways we communicate, share experiences and interact, Charli Cohen is focused on eradicating the boundaries between physical and digital products.”
While the main task at hand is to interpret a fictional world, to the designer, this and her other efforts go deeper than that. Indeed, the Diablo IV collab isn’t Cohen’s first foray into tech and gaming. She worked with Microsoft as its “Future of Fashion” ambassador in 2018, as well as the developers behind Akila, Assassin’s Creed and others on various collaborations.
It’s all part of what the brand calls “Nextwear,” a vision of fashion’s future with respect to technology and sustainability. Its stated description fits firmly into the so-called “phygital realm,” with digital and physical products that can be experienced anywhere — in AR, VR, metaverse or the real world — allowing for an exploration and expression of identity.
There is, of course, another appeal that has drawn brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Balmain, Prada, Burberry and many more to gaming. These platforms represent a direct line to a new generation of digitally savvy consumers. That may be less of a motivation, perhaps, for purpose-driven designers like Cohen.
“With Diablo IV,” she explained, “we are bringing the world of fashion and gaming together to create something truly special.”
Best of WWD