Esports fashion has been taking small, incremental steps towards quality, design excellence, and artistic expression since the very first gaming jersey was ever produced. As esports continues its crash course into mainstream culture, those advancing the aesthetics of competitive gaming have never been more vital to the cause of global esports domination.
Why are designers so important? Because the true potential of esports lies within its ability to influence popular culture. Thanks to the internet's love affair with gaming, the potential for esports culture to influence our generation's overall zeitgeist is tremendous.
When will you stop gaming? Chances are it's rarely crossed your mind: I know it hasn't crossed mine. How can it when I have such a high-quality backlog of games I still need to play? As I increasingly become busier and marathon gaming sessions become less frequent, I am thankful for the existence of esports and gaming apparel.
Even in the months when I can't game, I still feel connected with the community through what I wear. The amount of esports community and industry members that submitted their fits for VOL 2 was humbling and inspiring and reminded me that there are many fashion-minded gamers out there, so thank you to everyone who helped make this volume great!
Now, let's dive into some esports drip.
You just can't deny that Team Liquid is in serious contention for the best esports apparel of 2020. Once more, Heritage confirms that @DamianEstrada is doing great things at Team Liquid regarding their apparel and overall aesthetic.
For our esports fits consideration, Twitch Partner and Liquid's LoL Team manager Fasffy in the new Legacy reversible bomber. Minimal and striking, I love this look and the reversible nature of the bomber jacket adds a lot of value for the esports fan looking to upgrade their wardrobe.
It also helps that Fasffy exudes confidence and poise that makes the bomber look absolutely chic. I'm taking notes next time Inven Culture needs to photograph a bomber jacket (Is that a hint of a limited drop on the horizon?)
Cloud9 must have gotten the same memo about incredible fall collections. The latest in their Puma X Cloud9 series (brought to you by @adriangale8) is a high point for the team's aesthetic and demonstrates how the promising potential for esports apparel to have mass consumer appeal.
The Corrupted Windbreaker, available in different men's and women's styling, is my must-cop item from this collection. High collars are usually hard to get right, but the clean details and color blocking gives this windbreaker serious 90's vibes while still looking modern.
Never Camp A Thief
Released back in July, The 100 Thieves No Camping collection is on my list of esports apparel you shouldn't miss. The earliest days of esports apparel weren't very subtle, so the choice to take the iconic phrase "No Camping" literally is a bit of light-heartedness I really appreciate it. Its design allows is one that even non-gamers will enjoy, which has been 100 Thieves apparel strategy since day one.
100 Thieves Marketer Anna Molly reminds us why oversized hoodies are a streetwear staple. A high-quality hoodie can be worn in many different ways, so don't be afraid to select one or two sizes larger at check out. Note the graphic socks that bring the whole look together -- details, details, details!
The Overwatch League Season is over but I hope I continue to see awesome OWL fan outfits throughout the season. Overwatch caster, host, and Guangzhou Charge special correspondent Li ;Qiong (@chixiaotu_ow) has been using fashion to express her OWL fandom since season 1 and continues to do so in really striking ways.
Channeling the team's pure chaotic energy, social media manager for Florida Mayhem, Brandon Padilla (thibbledorkk) is dressed head-to-toe in his team's apparel. Extra credit for the top-tier airport combo of shades, headphones, and a facemask -- peak "don't talk to me I'm making OWL tweets" energy.
While on the topic of Florida Mayhem, let's take a moment to appreciate how far the team has come from the McDonalds jerseys of old:
Video editor for Envy, Dallas Fuel, and Dallas Empire, Dani George (@DaniGeorge_) amplifies the 90's vintage vibe in the 2020 Dallas Empire Champs Tee. I normally don't like it when esports teams channel traditional sports gear, but the vintage wash won me over -- it just looks so comfortable.
Dallas Empire team owner Mike "Hastr0" Rufail explained how he worked with ULT (shout outs to N8oooo) to create the vintage look:
"Growing up, I always loved the commemorative t-shirts my favorite teams made when they won championships. We worked with ULT to bring that style to esports. This is just the start for the Dallas Empire. We look forward to winning more rings for Empire fans all over the world."
I encourage more team owners taking a personal interest in the design of their team's apparel. It can turn a forgettable piece of apparel into something with personality, a trait many esports teams have yet to introduce into their apparel.
Next up is Inven Global veteran Lara Lunardi, with yet another stunning submission that brings K/DA to life. Does it still count as cosplay when the characters are so fashionable?
If you didn't already know Lara has been nominated for Esports Cosplayer of the year -- vote here and support our Inven Culture leader. While you are there, cast your vote for Invenglobal.com and help our editorial team win Esports Coverage site of the year.
Esports and gaming fashion doesn't have one look -- anyone can express their geekdom through any style of clothing and our next line-up of looks is all about doing just that.
Inven Culture's own Mandie Roman (@geekyglamorous) is our resident expert in subtle gaming fits. This Sony inspired outfit not only borrows from the White / Black color blocking of the New Playstation 5 but also continues its homage with a Playstation bracelet by @officialKingIce - very nice.
Next up is Product Manager at elo.io, Alicen Lewis (@alicen_lewis) wearing the Magic Pixel Varsity Jacket by @Persia. This limited drop appears like a colorful bomber jacket from afar, but if you look closer...
It is absolutely filled with Fighting Game Community in-jokes, slang, and terminology! This limited run jacket gets my stamp of approval for FGC authenticity.
Speaking of FGC, there is something beautiful about a well-made arcade stick. There is a thriving community behind custom stick art and aesthetic design, so I doubly appreciate Matt Buchholtz (@ggmattb) Inven Culture contributor and Head of Social Media at Deviant Art, dropping this arcade ready look for VOL 2.
In fact, Matt even drew a timelapse of the original sketch that inspired the look. I may not be able to grow a mustache like Matt, but the shoe/arcade stick combo is something I'm stealing in the future.
Freelance esports translator and former Overwatch dunk-tank alumni Hannah Cho (@hannahhycho) can usually be found staying up till ungodly hours watching different regions of competitive Overwatch or translating South Korean to English for both fans and esports organizations with mixed language rosters.
Right now you can see her bringing life to the LIQUID X MARVEL Spiderman crop. Subtle esports look done right!
Closing our casual clean category is our very own fashion creator Lina (@tthotobot) She was one of the lucky ones with the foresight to grab this hoodie from Gen.G's 2020 collection. Now, you can't find one anywhere.
Note the accessories to amplify Gen.G's streetwear-inspired hoodie: so clean!
Ateyo has been described as the "Nike" of esports. After wearing some of their clothing, you will understand why. Technically designed for long gaming sessions, Ateyo is defined by its high-quality fabric and attention to detail. I thank founders Rachel Feinberg (@rachellipstick) and Breanne Harrison-pollock (@breannehp) for the following looks:
Esports talent representative Taylor Heitzig-Rhodes (@tayAFK) is all business in black with the ice (ESKETIT official) around her neck to match. The shoe game is on point, the fitted cap and shades are iconic, and the generous hood of Ateyo's signature zip-up clothing wonderful here.
Very well done!
Lastly, I'll close out VOL 2 of Esports Industry Looks with an Ateyo fit of my own.
On the left, Ateyo sitter shorts are taken out of their natural habitat and onto the streets. Funny enough, the shorts are perfect for long gaming sessions and long highway drives. My better half is a whiz at coordinating outfits and did so effortlessly in Ateyo's now sold out women's top. The couple that Ateyo's together, stays together right?
If you've come this far, chances are you are thinking about submitting a look of your own for VOL 3.
I highly encourage you to do, even if you have never thought of yourself as someone who is into fashion or clothing! Curating one's sense of style can be a rewarding personal journey of self-express and confidence-building -- and by purchasing from your favorite esports org or brand, it helps support the esports industry in a big way.
Spend a little time finding a spot with good lighting, use your phone's self-timer photo feature and have fun mastering the art of esports fits! Email your favorite look featuring any esports or gaming brand to culture@Invenglobal.com -- see you next month!
Warcraft 3 is my one true love and I will challenge anyone to a game of Super Smash Brothers Melee.