ORDER esports; master the anti-fashion arts of merchandising
Maybe once, but now not even close. Producing modern products is part art, part mind-blowingly subtle social science, part design theory deeply rooted in the Zeitgeist.
“Cultural touchpoints inform the graphic language of our product,” says Josh Rush, brand director for ORDER, a Collingwood-based esports organization. “It uses the visual language of these subcultural connections and graphics, music, art, inspiration from other contemporary brands to reach audiences.”
He says ORDER’s two new “merch” labels, DIS and Order, are a perfect fit for the culture of professional gamers and the content creators behind them. They were launched earlier this year for ORDER esports fans aged 18-34.
ORDER Head of Apparel, Sam Peckett, developed the collections to ride on the explosive popularity of ORDER’s creative content and rosters, considered some of Australia’s best, competing in tournaments around the world such as League of Legends, FIFA, Valorant, CS:GO and Fortnite.
“If you’re wearing a merchandising item and someone walking by knows it, it’s like a tongue,” Sam explains. “It’s ‘I know you’re a fan, you know I’m a fan’ but, for anyone else, it is like a beautiful garment.”
It sounds like the social mechanics of a fashion trend, but, says Josh, it’s better not to go there. “We are very clear that we are NOT a fashion brand,” he says, “We are first and foremost a content brand, we also make products that support content and support audiences.”
Sam calls the whole meteoric phenomenon of branded games, content, fans, and merchandising, “merchtetainment.” But there’s no denying that merch is a curious category of “anti-fashion” fashion. “In this space, you don’t want to come across as taking yourself too seriously,” Sam says. looking sick (good).”
In developing the DIS and Order product lines, he drew the line between the complicated array of fan demographics and a painfully narrow offering of body shapes and types of clothing. Merch’s generic design settings are locked – by global market default – to variations of casual basics and activewear and leisurewear: hoodies, t-shirts, caps, jersey tops, tracksuits, shorts, etc. . variations they’re willing to take to stand out without stepping out of convention or alienating fans.
To target DIS and Order unisex or asexual with precision in their respective markets, Sam worked with in-house graphic designers from Josh and ORDER and brought in a full orchestra of those “cultural touchpoints” that Josh mentioned earlier.
They introduced the Order collection to traditional esports fans. It will evolve in the same measured and controlled way as a classic sports brand such as Adidas or Nike, according to Josh, with only small, unchallenging seasonal changes. “It’s for collectors and the kind of fans you’d see, for example, at the GG-EZ esports bar in town,” adds Sam, “They watch live streamed games from around the world and wear produced as shirts similar to how football (fans) support their team.”
Order’s vertical striped jersey (Sam calls ORDER’s jerseys “super fan items”), for example, was inspired by classic rugby and football shirts and has the same nostalgic flair about it. Its purple and black stripes are unusual. Red, green, navy and all-black are more common for pro player jerseys, but purple stands out, which sets ORDER players apart from their competitors, especially in rooms full of screens. lit computer. “These are cool, high quality clothes that you will want to wear to represent your team,” says Sam.
DIS merch, on the other hand, sits a few “cultural touchpoints” higher on the fashion ladder. “DIS is much more youth-focused, more like streetwear,” Sam says. “We use the term (for his market): ‘Raised by the Internet.’ art, games, and content created on its backend, including its interview show, DIS-Lab, and beat-fighting contest, DIS-Tracks.
The DIS merch itself is sexless and feels that way. It also has a strong, integrated narrative that begins, “DIS was born out of the cracks in a world gone mad…we wanted to create an escape: ‘reality is over’ is our mantra.”
“DIS was designed when there was a lot of heavy stuff going on in the world,” says Josh. “It was a strange time, we wanted to bring back positive energy, fun and inspiration… so (DIS) is colorful and upbeat and irreverent with lots of elements of satire and ironic connections and under -cultural in the graphics.”
He says DIS will launch smaller seasonal pod collections with new design variations, graphics and – as its future unfolds with full production, quality control and an ethical and backstory. sustainable – the contribution of creative collaborators. The first capsule, “Make Magic”, has already caught the attention of collectors and its first media collaboration is underway with a bonafide “fashion influencer”, the very popular Fortnite Twitch streamer, Fasffy.
“Brands need to be highly credible and authentic in this space,” concludes Josh. “Success has a lot to do with the people behind a brand, their ability to connect and understand those audiences and we’re lucky Sam (Peckett) is one of them: he IS the target market and also has a ton of clothing experience
Success, theoretically, assured.
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