The trend for brand mashups isn't going away, but collaborations are having to try ever harder to get noticed. Ralph Lauren is the latest big brand to enter the online video game Fortnite, and the hookup will exist both in the game and in the real world.
On the digital side, Ralph Lauren has designed in-game outfits that’ll be available in the Fortnite item shop. But then there's the real-world side of the 'phygital' mashup, which sees Ralph Lauren give a bizarre twist to its classic polo horse logo. We won't be rushing to make a new phygital space in our best logos roundup.
The Ralph Lauren Fortnite collaboration features a "digital-first capsule" comprising in-game jumpsuits, coats and accessories inspired by its 1992 Stadium collection. According to the fashion brand, the virtual threads "showcase Ralph Lauren’s signature artistry and craftsmanship, rendered in high fidelity with incredibly rich detail."
The outfits will be available in the Fortnite item store from 5 November. The launch will be preceded by The Polo Stadium Cup on 4 November, which will make Ralph Lauren the first luxury brand to cohost a global player tournament in the game.
But over the coming months, we'll also see the release of in-real-life Fortnite X Ralph Lauren hats, hoodies polo shirts and even replicas of in-game boots. “Drop #1” set for release today features a shirt, polo shirt and cap all sporting a colourful new embroidered logo.
The iconic Ralph Lauren logo is one of the most recognisable in fashion. For 55 years, the monochrome design has shown a mounted polo player, mallet in hand. But in today's drop, instead of riding a horse, the polo player is shown mounting one of Fortnite's "loot llamas", piñatas used to deliver mystery goods in the game. Ralph Lauren has also updated the logos in its social media avatars to feature the novel design.
We've previously seen Balenciaga and Moncler provide in-game apparel in Fortnight but Ralph Lauren's digital/physical crossover makes its collaboration one of the most elaborate we've seen yet. The Ralph Lauren llama logo is an interesting move for a brand not exactly known for its sense of humour. It could almost be interpreted as a self-parody, but the brand seems to be taking it very seriously.
In fact, Ralph Lauren says the design is “a testament to the company’s belief in the power of the metaverse.” It seems more and more big brands are becoming believers. It just remains to be seen whether that belief combined with a reworking of its 1990s designs will help it attract the younger consumers it's after.
The initial reaction from Fortnite fans has been tepid. "Does anyone else notice all of the 1990's themes popping up? I think time travel is coming," one person said on Twitter, while others complained the game was becoming too much like a brand commercial.
The first Fortnite X Ralph Lauren physical drop will be available at www.ralphlauren.com from today (2 November, 2022) at 6.30am ETA. A second drop is scheduled for December 1. There's more info at the Epic Games website.