On August 23rd, Overwatch and street fashion fans alike met at the Hall of Fame shop on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, California to see the latest bits of apparel created by ULT (An esports apparel company) in collaboration with the Overwatch League. On the surface, it seems like just another brand activation in the increasingly hip world of esports -- cool threads and exclusive drops to satisfy the core-fan base of local OWL fans.
But, in reality, the ULT X Hall of Fame collaboration is another landmark moment for esports authentically entering the cultural milieu of street fashion.
Location, Location, Location
Back in 2004, the now-iconic brand Supreme opened up a shoe store at Fairfax Avenue and, 15 years later, it ushered in countless other street fashion stores to fill the surrounding area.
The result is, unequivocally, one of the coolest streets in Los Angeles. The dining options are fresh and vibrant, the streets are busy and filled with music, and naturally, the streetwear culture on display is state-of-the-art. The last thing you'd expect on Fairfax Avenue is exclusive Overwatch League apparel selling for premium prices with lines out the door but in 2019, that happened.
Nate Eckman, the Founder of ULT was thrilled to see the community embrace the collaboration so positively. At the event, Nate excitedly pointed out the portraits of Overwatch League players on the wall, side by side with traditional sports legends throughout the store. ULT has been trying to usher esports into the world of street fashion for a long time now, and to Nate, this was a big milestone:
“The ULT x HOF pop up represents the emerging category of gaming lifestyle in a truly incredible way! From shopping streetwear on Fairfax growing up to now being able to experience our gaming brand ULT with amazing partners from Overwatch League is a powerful and meaningful cross-cultural event. Seeing pro gamers interwoven with such an iconic fashion location that celebrates the evolution of athleticism and sport is a signal to our vision for the future!”
Check out some of the photos we took of the event below. The event marked the debut of the baseball-style tees for both LA teams, the Valiant and the Gladiators, as well as the League's brand itself.
The pop-up was in preparation for another event this week, the Kit Kat Rivalry Weekend. Fans who missed the one-night-only event can also grab their jerseys at this weekend's matches. The Kit Kat event will also feature an exclusive black variant of the LA Valiant jersey, available Rivalry weekend only.
Exclusives, drops, limited-time-only: the language of the street fashion industry has increasingly become that of esports apparel. Esports organizations have traditionally struggled to create revenue streams based on fan passion and a team's popularity, but it seems that street fashion collaborations are quickly becoming a viable method to do so.
Ultimately, street fashion is proving to be one of the most viable ways for esports to enter popular culture.
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