Ashley MuirFashion Design
From Gameplay to Cosplay: How Fans Mobilize
Video games and fashion have begun to forge a curious relationship in the 21st century. Collaborations between Vans and Nintendo, and Louis Vuitton with Final Fantasy XIII, in part illustrate a growing commercial interest in gaming-themed apparel and accessories. Both fashion and video games give us humans the ability to be something we're not, but even more crucially, the opportunity to embrace and express who we really are. Unfortunately, the video game industry is like fashion, which has long targeted idealized customers that form only a small portion of their respective audiences. This capstone project explores the state of diversity in video game design and the obstacles faced by players in expressing identity both in and out of game. The ways in which gamers participate in fandoms, especially through dress, is central to this research. Through co-ideation and co-design, three costume-plays (cosplays) are created for gamers that are presently categorized as underrepresented in both the developer and consumer sides of the industry. The intended result is a set of principles that can be followed by game designers to engage in more inclusive design and merchandising.