What Having Gucci Products in 'Animal Crossing' Means for the Fashion World

I’m trying to fit the “picking up fresh strawberries from the grocery” aesthetic.

I rummage through my closet, throwing on chesterfield coats, teddy bear t-shirts, flashy kimonos and settle on a striped sweater and an acorn knit cap. The sand mounds of clothing that used to smother my chevron pink bed sheets exist in the virtual mind of my Animal Crossing character.

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the Nintendo Switch game that resurged in 2020, players are tasked with creating a thriving economy under the direction of anthropomorphic animals. What often goes unnoticed is the character customization, where players can change hairstyles or create custom t-shirts.

As beauty and fashion brands witnessed the success of Animal Crossing amid the pandemic, they leaped at the opportunity to collaborate. Luxury brands like Gucci Beauty watched behind the barbed wire, waiting for a sign, and finally ventured into Animal Crossing territory early this year. As high-end designers begin to partner with the smiling, 2D personalities of the video game world, they expand their reach to include younger generations. 

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While I’m all for the stylistic union between virtual sphere and reality, it draws one question: Will the price tags reflect the checking accounts of 20-something college students or will we still have to shovel $130 for three ounces of lilac-scented perfume?

Tatcha, a Japanese-inspired skin care brand, collaborated with Animal Crossing and cultivated wellness through a spa, tea house, meditation area and a collectible travel-sized cleanser. Players got to download the digital version of the Glossier hoodie in May as well as sport pullovers and accessories from activewear brand Alo Yoga. Gillette Venus introduced the “My Skin. My Way” campaign with 19 downloadable skins ranging from vitiligo to eczema.

The Gucci beauty #ForeverGuilty campaign took a more high fashion approach, complete with a resident representative’s house modeled after the Gucci garden and Gucci stores. The island also features a paparazzi zone and Gucci backdrop adorned with gold and silver perfume bottles. Within the orchard, billowing orange trees, deep purple hyacinths and spring weeds symbolized the mandarin, lilac and patchouli scents within the perfumes.

As your character waddles over to the picnic area, it can pick up round-tinted shades, a nod to the $420 round-frame sunglasses available on the Gucci website, as well as a sunflower-shaped parasol — an accessory I hope will one day replace all my dull-colored umbrellas. In addition, players get to strut the Gucci runway and take Jared Leto’s prune-colored jacket and the Gucci Guilty perfume, both featured in the campaign, to their own homes. (So, at least you can say your virtual self has embodied the Gucci experience.) 

As the pandemic forced many brands to adopt to the digital realm, Gucci dipped its toes into the wondrous world of video gaming and did so blissfully. (The resident house has potted cherry blossoms, floral printed awnings, fine china and Gucci shoes on display. Need I say more?)

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While I may not be able to determine if Gucci will become more affordable, the digital Jared Leto jacket and fairy-pink brooch excites me for the future of fashion innovation.