Animal Crossing — the world-building video game sweeping social media — has turned into a fashion paradise in the age of social distancing.
Hypebeast players trapped at home during the coronavirus lockdown are using the game’s design tools to build wardrobes that put Cher Horowitz’s “Clueless” smart closet to shame. They’re creating virtual replicas of streetwear staples like Off-White’s striped hoodies, Supreme’s logo-bedecked hats and Bape’s T-shirts, as well as luxury pieces from high-end brands like Dior, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Gucci.
The sunny social-simulation game first debuted in 2001 (think: Sims but with adorable anthropomorphic animals). Animal Crossing: New Horizons — its latest iteration for Nintendo Switch — dropped March 20, and has become an instant hit.
Players are transported to an idyllic deserted island, where they’re given a basic dwelling and loan from Tom Nook — the game’s patriarchal raccoon tyrant — and encouraged to customize their world from the ground up. You can earn currency (known as bells) to pay your debts, then build the lifestyle of your virtual dreams.
For label lovers, that means designing some incredible fashions — and taking to social media to showcase their custom creations.
The stylish elite on Reddit are decking out their New Horizons characters in the most coveted — and priciest — designer duds. One Dior fan posted a picture of a cowboy-style character donning the label’s “Technical” sweater (as well as the code for making your own). Similar styles by the brand fetch upwards of $1,250 IRL.
And user @ItsTheRocketeer tweeted: “If I can’t have it in the real world, I’ll have it in Animal Crossing World,” followed by a side-by-side pic of his avatar and Jeff Goldblum, both wearing the same $1,600 Gucci rainbow-striped sweater.
Instagram’s @AnimalCrossingFashionArchive finds and curates looks of fellow style-obsessed players. The account boasts a slew of animated aviators styled in streetwear swag (a la Carhartt and Supreme), as well as head-to-toe runway looks from the likes of Valentino, Prada and Chanel.
The account’s creative eye, Kara Chung, says trading customized outfits for the game has helped her stay connected with friends.
“I started the account as a joke,” Chung recently explained to Hypebae. “I named it ‘Animal Crossing Fits’ at first, but decided to take the joke one step further by making it seem like a real fashion archive.”
What may have started as a joke has become a full-on fashion library, which Animal Crossing fans turn to for style inspo when putting together their virtual ensembles. Similar accounts like @NookStreetMarket post runway replicas and share their design’s QR codes, allowing followers to re-create the looks on their own.
With more and more people jumping on the Animal Crossing couture wagon, the concept even boasts its own popular hashtag: #AnimalCrossingDesigns.
Who would have guessed the best fashion shows in the world would now happen via our keyboards?