Lockdown has sparked creativity in unexpected places, whether it's movie makers crafting short films from home, kitchen artists testing out innovative new recipes, or people simply rediscovering the simple joy of sketching and painting.
Expressing yourself through fashion is slightly trickier though – with stores and boutiques closed or much changed, picking up new garments is trickier, and chances are you'd have nowhere to show them off anyway.
There is one exception though – Nintendo's hit game of life-in-miniature, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The Nintendo Switch game, which launched in March, allows players to create their own fashions and share them online with others, all while living out an idyllic life on a tropical island. Thanks to the game's multiplayer features, people can even visit each other's islands and hold impromptu fashion shows.
To celebrate that creativity, Creative Bloq is highlighting some of the best fashion designs players have created in the game. Each week, we'll look at some of the finest couture that players have put out into the wild, grouped by different themes.
Animal Crossing New Horizons: Gaming icons
Anyone who's been playing Animal Crossing New Horizons will know the game is packed full of strange and delightful collectibles to decorate your island home with. However, its predecessor – Animal Crossing New Leaf on the handheld 3DS – did pack in something extra: collectibles from other Nintendo games.
In New Leaf, players could accrue decorative items based on the likes of Mario, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, and more. Crucially, this included clothing items allowing players to dress up as characters from other beloved games. There's no sign of these in New Horizons so far, but Islanders have decided to put things right by creating their own video game-inspired fashion designs – and this week, we'll be looking at the best outfits based on gaming icons past and present.
01. Princess Peach
This incredible outfit is based on the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario's beloved Princess Peach. This is an extravagant look from designer Antonin, capturing the character's style perfectly with layer upon layer of material blossoming over an unfeasibly large bell of a skirt. Shading brings out every ripple and fall of the fabric as it drapes over the wearer, while elbow length sleeves add a touch of refinement. The royal brooch is the star though, drawing the eye in by being the only flash of blue. It's a phenomenal look – no wonder Bowser keeps kidnapping this princess.
02. Champion's Tunic
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild marked a number of big departures for Nintendo's groundbreaking adventure series, but perhaps none so great as series hero Link abandoning his traditional green togs for this complex but striking alternative.
This Animal Crossing recreation is a beautiful piece of digital craftsmanship from creator Coral, with the Nazcan-style lines on the blue shirt accurately plotted, and Link's accessories incorporated into the design – notably the important Sheikah Slate, hanging at the side, and the archer's protective strap on the right arm. If you prefer Link in his classic green outfit though, Coral also has a design called, fittingly, Link's Tunic that captures the classic look as well as this does the modern appearance.
Keeping with the Legend of Zelda series but jumping back in time slightly, this lovingly crafted robe presents Princess Zelda as she appeared in the game The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. A darker and moodier entry in the series, the tone was reflected in the muted palette, something designer Nipah has maintained here. It's a perfect likeness, with the intricate, almost runic detail on the skirt, the royal crests on the front sash, and the ornate shoulder pieces all present and accounted for. A more mature and serious take on a gaming icon.
04. Dragon Age Morrigan
Based on Morrigan's appearance in the epic RPG Dragon Age: Inquisition, this design by Xan is a fitting tribute to the powerful "Witch of the Wilds". A gothic ballgown in darkest red and midnight black, it has an imposing, almost sinister appearance, but the incredible detailing makes up for it. This look captures every facet of the character's in-game appearance, from the intricately stitched corset to the elaborate neck jewellery and the fierce gauntlets, and translates them perfectly into Animal Crossing.
The hero of Final Fantasy VII unofficially comes to Animal Crossing in this fantastic design. The trick with Cloud's outfit is that it's deceptively simple, even in his own game. It appears to be little more than a sleeveless top and some straps of ammo pouches, but the detail is hidden in the textures.
That top is actually a ribbed, almost corduroy sweater, while the belts and pouches are covered in patterns. Throw in the industrial shoulder pauldron and the wrist guards, and it's a tough look to recreate. Yet all that detail is crammed into this creation – another by Nipah – and is accentuated further by a touch of muscle definition. This is a design fit to save the world in.
06. HEV Suit
This look is adapted from hero Gordon Freeman's armour in the genre-defining shooter Half Life. The clean panelling of light and dark grey maintain the flat plating of an armoured look, despite working from the cuddly Animal Crossing sweater template, while the shocking flashes of orange and red add a touch of excitement to the look. That the brighter colours are also sharply, almost vertically angled helps make them pop against the base armour, too. Fans of the Half Life series may want to check out creator Lex's other designs, which feature several creations inspired by the game.
In Animal Crossing New Horizons, Isabelle moves to your island to help with the administrative duties of running the place. It appears to be something of a working holiday for her though, with her wardrobe downgraded to a chilled out Hawaiian style shirt.
Here, designer Dice looks back to her more professional workplace attire in the previous game, New Leaf, and perfectly recreates it for contemporary players. It's a simple blazer, blouse, and bow combo, but it works really well – and unsurprisingly fits in perfectly with New Horizons' own in-game fashions. We may be getting meta here, with an Animal Crossing design recreated in Animal Crossing, but this outfit is too good to overlook.
08. Vivi coat
Where Final Fantasy VII was a sci-fi tinged epic with an industrial, almost dieselpunk aesthetic, Final Fantasy IX was a more classical fantasy, inspired by European fairy tales and medieval art. That design sensibility was reflected in its characters, with child-like black mage Vivi being a particular fan favourite.
It's not hard to understand why, looking at creator Jandy's brilliant recreation – the straight fall of the long blue coat offers a pleasing canvas to start from, but the elaborate detailing of the coattails at the rear, the oversized leather pull-ties on the front, and the fun, exaggerated pirate-style cuffs make this an endearing piece of timeless costume design. If you're lucky, the Able Sisters store will occasionally a "Frugal Hat" which matches perfectly to create Vivi's full costume in his home game.
There are no 'onesies' or similar templates with legs incorporated for designers to experiment with in Animal Crossing New Horizons, which makes armoured characters like Samus, from the Metroid series, tricky to recreate in the game. Many attempts use a long-sleeve dress as a base, to unusual effect. However, creator Derren here has sacrificed the legs to instead create a wonderfully accurate replica of Samus' classic "Varia" suit. The colour scheme is a perfect match, while precise shading for the plating and the iconic gun arm brings out the mechanical nature of the suit.
As fun as trying to create a wearable tetromino – that's the official name for the blocks in immortal puzzler Tetris – in Animal Crossing might be, the templates sadly won't allow it. Instead, designer Kylie has opted for the next best thing: a painstakingly planned out field of the game itself in play. It's a deceptively simple look, until you register that each tetromino shape is uniformly coloured, and every brick fits together as they would in the game. Our favourite hidden detail is the empty column at the back though, just waiting for one of those all-important straight blocks to fall for a massive points bonus.
For details on how to access these designs in your own game, see our handy how-to guide.
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