Balenciaga Unveils Questionable Collab with Fortnite

If it feels like a cash grab, it's probably a cash grab.

We had to know this day was coming.  Since its inception in 2017, Fortnite has collaborated with everything from Marvel and DC Comics to the NFL and NBA.  Epic Games has shown a willingness to bring anything and everything from pop culture into the Fortnite universe.  But something about this new Balenciaga partnership is just… weird. 

But first, let’s talk about the merchandise.  The collection includes about eighteen pieces ranging from shirts and hoodies to denim jackets and hats.  The designs and colorways are both relatively simplistic.  Fortnite’s logo is printed across the chest on hoodies and t-shirts, with Balenciaga’s logo appearing smaller just underneath.  On the back, the iconic Fortnite POI Retail Row is listed in thirteen different languages.  Aside from the blue denim jacket, pieces are available in black, white, and red colors.  

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Now let’s dig a little deeper.  While I’m all for pushing the boundaries of fashion and streetwear, this collaboration feels closer to an abhorrent byproduct of capitalism.  Previous Fortnite collabs took the form of in-game skins sets, each priced from roughly $10-25.  While Balenciaga skins will be coming to the Fortnite item shop, it’s the physical merchandise that’s utterly gut-wrenching.  

A t-shirt from this collection will run you a whopping $495.  Hoodies cost $725, dress shirts are $995, and denim jackets are a meager $1,290.  These prices are relatively commonplace for Balenciaga products – but it begs the question, who is this collection for?   It’s hard to picture fashion icons like A$AP Rocky, Rihanna, Timothee Chalamet, or Billie Eilish willingly donning anything from this collection.  

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Fashion is constantly evolving, telling new stories of autonomy and looking towards the future.  For Balenciaga, this collaboration, both in name and design, does none of that. Fortnite peaked in popularity in 2018 and, while it still has a loyal fanbase today, it doesn’t grasp the same cultural stranglehold that it once did.  This is all a long way of pondering what’s the point of this?  Evidently that is not for me to answer, but I’d love to start the conversation.

Check out some pieces from the Balenciaga x Fortnite collection in the gallery above.  The Balenciaga x Fortnite collection is live on Balenciaga’s website now.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!  Lastly, for more fashion news from wavypack, A Kind of Guise Release Their Stellar Fall/Winter 2021 Collection.