Only two months into the age of the millennium, the virtual game The Sims was born. Its avatars and characters subsequently lit up the family computer screens of every home, as 90s and 00s kids spent after-school hours hogging their desktops rather than do their homework. Needless to say, The Sims was declared the future of gaming and, in hindsight, broke into the early stages of what has now become fashion's talk of the town; the metaverse. For an entire generation of school children, the computer-generated world of The Sims enabled them to create a world of their own. It was a fictional paradise for gamers and non-gamers to unite in their pixelated worlds.
20 years on since The Sims' inception, the game has influenced not only the generation that grew up with its avatars but also the entire digital future that lies ahead. As the metaverse is hurtling towards us at breakneck speed, one CGI, AI and VR project at a time, the world of The Sims strangely mirrors George Orwell's 1984 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four; both have predicted the future while simultaneously carving a long and (most probably virtual) path ahead.
Fast forward to a society that actively embraces fashion, both IRL and URL, The Sims world has become the perfect format for designers to show off their new creations to online gamers and to expand their virtual worlds. So much so that Moschino and Gucci have both already jumped on the bandwagon. For a long time, Balenciaga and Gucci were both battling for their number one spot in the world of gaming, what with Balenciaga's recent Fortnite collaboration and Gucci's multiple attempts at taking creative director Alessandro Michele's beloved designs into different virtual spaces, not to mention this week's announcement that saw a collaboration with Xbox. Up next? Stefan Cooke.
For The Sims™ 4 Modern Menswear Kit, the high-end British label worked with The Sims team to offer a range of menswear pieces to players and creators around the globe, all unmistakably Stefan Cooke in style and in tone. Comprised of 23 individual pieces, parodying real-life creations of the brand such as the iconic diamond slashed jumper, The Sims collection will be recognisable to many. Garments vary from the traditional to the revolutionary, masculine to the effeminate, taking form in various styles of jackets, trousers, suits, and shoes. The Sim-ified collection also includes some of the designers' favourite pieces, including the Stefan Cooke Wool Varsity Coat with Skirt, a design the label - and the rest of the fashion crowd - have dubbed as the evolution of modern menswear.
'Each material was carefully hand-painted to emulate the texture qualities by doing somewhat of a caricature of the details', explained senior art director of The Sims, Vincent Joly, in a statement. 'Exaggerating the shapes and controlling the contrast to not look too busy or photorealistic, at the same time not reducing the details too much to lose the essence of the fabrics. Each piece was tuned to find that sweet spot', Joly added.
Jake Burt (who makes up one half of Stefan Cooke, along with Cooke himself) emphasised the pair are not only looking forward to seeing their styles being democratised and digitised; they're also attracted to the potentials of self-exploration that their kit will inspire, both within The Sims gaming platform and in the real world.
'I hope people become more explorative with what they're wearing, especially if they're guys,' explained Burt. 'I think it's a good thing if people feel more comfortable and unafraid to wear what they want to wear.' 'Fashion can be about identifying as part of something, but also as your own person. It's both for community and individualism' added Cooke. 'That's why fashion is so amazing. It can be the slightest thing, and it can really change how you feel about yourself or what you want to put across to the world.'
Despite Stefan Cooke only recently taking his label into the virtual space, we strongly suggest you watch this space. Yes, both Burt and Cooke have only just dipped their toes into online waters, but we doubt they'll be taking them out any time soon.