While we’ve been designing our dream summer looks in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Berlin-based fashion organization Reference Festival used the best-selling Nintendo game to take it a step further and host a virtual fashion show with designs from high fashion brands like Louis Vitton, Fendi, and Valentino.
Photographer Kara Chung and stylist Marc Goehring worked together to make Reference Festival II (Reference Festival I was a twenty-four-hour fashion festival) happen. To do this, they did what they do best, they prepared for all of the details that make a fashion event must-see and all of the potential struggles that come with it (like getting all ten of your villagers to sit down at once). This meant pulling their favorite looks from this season and designing them with the game’s Pro Designer for their characters to wear and their villagers to clap and gawk at. There are even screenshots of Kara and Marc in their virtual office pondering all the details.
Large groups of photographers, reporters, and fashion superstars were missing from this fashion event, but the three-minute video that shows the designs making their way down the runway and the enthusiasm all of the characters virtually present still makes it seem pretty high-profile. With Animal Crossing villagers (including some of the game’s superstar favorites like Marina the pink octopus and Coco the rabbit) in attendance, Kara, Marc and other players made their way down the runway in the adapted looks.
This isn’t Kara’s first time using Animal Crossing to make waves in the fashion world. She recently collaborated with Valentino and a team of virtual designers to create and showcase 20 custom Spring/Summer 2020 and Pre-Fall 2020 looks. In line with current trends, the project featured fluorescent dresses, puffer jackets, and logo hats for men and women along with other designs. These looks, available to download in the game for anyone to wear, bring high fashion to people’s everyday lives.
Kara and Marc’s work in fashion and Animal Crossing showcase how much can done in collaboration, even at a distance. They’re also sharing how important fashion is as wearable art both virtually and physically in a way that is light-hearted and accessible. Anyone can run around their island in the latest Fendi look without the hefty price tag or worrying about messing up a precious and expensive piece. They can attend virtual parties, star-gazing adventures, and museum tours with their friends in Valentino or Balenciaga. The best part is that it’s all about what is for many people the heart of fashion, personal expression.