Innovate or relegate
Esports organizations’ entrance into the fashion industry hasn’t been without its failures. It has certainly improved—only a few years ago t-shirts and jerseys were the only items available. Top teams in the space now boast an ever-extending line of apparel. Clothing you’d actually want to wear someplace outside of a gaming event.
Even still, there has been a noticeable lack of inspiration in recent months. Many brands have frequent clothing drops—only to release items as bland and generic as dishwater. Many of the largest teams in the space have fallen prey to taking a standard item, stamping their logo on it, and calling it a day.
Esports fashion can be more than that, and G2 Esports is one of the organizations that know this better than anyone. That should come as no surprise for such a cool and incredibly successful brand (2021 notwithstanding), with landmark partnerships in the space like those with Ralph Lauren to boot.
They’re one of the premier organizations making the effort to create something unique for fans. Something that gamers will want to wear every day. They’re comfortable taking risks, and make clothing that actually has some heart and soul to it.
I don’t think their risk with the XnO collection worked out, though.
On July 6th, 2021, G2 Esports posted a cryptic picture on Twitter.
The most peculiar part of the announcement was the lines, circles, and crosses peppered throughout the background. Some speculated the image pointed to something like a big roster signing. When the aforementioned date approached, the confusing image finally made sense: A new apparel drop centered around tic-tac-toe.
On almost every account, this is another positive move by G2. It shows they’re still rushing far ahead of most of the field in the fashion game. They made a collection with real character to it. It’s original, has an established theme to it, and makes just enough use of the G2 branding without coming off as obnoxious.
And despite all of that, this is a bad drop. A failed risk, and an experiment gone wrong. Some of it’s okay, the bucket hat and pants are nice enough. The core of the collection—t-shirt and crewneck—is where we have a problem.
It’s not just that all the items are way too hot to be released for this summer. It’s the design. Though I applaud the attempt at a theme, it’s quite an odd one for an esports team. Tic-tac-toe. Why the hell is it tic-tac-toe (I’m not asking that rhetorically, please DM @OddballCreator on Twitter with your theories, I want to know)?
I’m not criticizing G2, for doing something outside of the box. But when other top brands have done unorthodox drops, such as Team Liquid’s collaborations with Marvel and Naruto, they actually made sense. They still resonated with their target audience. Is G2 trying to win the approval of bored second graders that got their phones taken away?
Additionally, for anyone outside of esports looking at someone wearing one of these pieces, the implementation of the G2 branding doesn’t work. Not for this collection. When you have “100T” or the Liquid Horse emblazoned on your piece, it stands out. It’s distinctively the logo. With the tic-tac-toe theme as well as the harsh lettering, the “G” and “2” make the clothes look like the scribbles of an elementary school desk.
Also, we need to talk about the advertising campaign. Namely, the initial promotional video.
How can someone be that bad at tic-tac-toe? As an adult, no less. More than that, he has this dumb smirk on his face as if he’s next level, when he can clearly see that he lost the game. It might be nitpicky, but this was infuriating.
I’m not calling for G2 to stop bringing new things to the table. Far from it. It’s better than nonstop slathering of logos on products. What they’ve done here was an earnest effort, and is a clear reason they’ll continue to be one of the most influential brands in the scene.
But it’s important to acknowledge as we continue to push for more experimentation in esports fashion—things will be botched. This was one of them.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.