The fashion choices which await the Animal Crossing playerinstagram/islandofcresent

Fashion and Animal Crossing have more in common than you think, offering unparalleled opportunities for self-expression and experimentation. The digital fantasy land of video games allows less stylistically confident individuals to go wild and indulge in aesthetic choices they would never dream of contemplating in real life.

However, most video games such as The Sims only allow you to select pre-designed outfits and accessories, even then from quite a limited range. Animal Crossing, by contrast, distinguishes itself in allowing players to choose a myriad of pieces, from socks to hats to sweaters and dresses. The range of styles available to players is truly impressive, and the added opportunity to design your pieces only incentivises players to develop an interest in fashion. Indeed, customising your own character is like creating your own work of digital art.  

Whilst I have never showcased my OTTD (outfit of the day) in real life, Animal Crossing has presented me with more procrastination opportunities than ever to showcase some designer threads. I have included some of my favourites alongside. 

CUTE AND CASUAL: Chanel Dripping Logo T-Shirt Design ID: MO – GJPM – YRG9 - PTJN Creator ID: MA – 6353 – 6803 - 9586Vee Tames (left), © Fashion Bomb Daily (right)

For many people, Nintendo’s latest video game success, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, has become an integral part of lockdown culture. It has created online communities, generated memes all over social media and, more importantly, provided some much-needed wholesome escapism amidst all the present-day doom and gloom. Lately, however, Animal Crossing has become the latest space to create and showcase new designs, opening up the world of fashion to an entirely new audience. Could this be the latest move in democratising fashion?

ON THE TOWN: Vintage Burberry Trench Coat Design ID: MO – HM3P – S1VP – YK41 Creator ID: MA – 3761 – 5771 - 1081Vee Tames 2020 (left) © Burberry Limited (right)

Marc Jacobs recently caused a stir online when he dropped a collection of six pieces designed exclusively for the video game in collaboration with the Instagram account @animalcrossingfashionarchive. This account is a one-stop shop for all your favourite Animal Crossing couture, first established to support designers during the COVID-19 pandemic by showcasing their designs in the game.

CATWALK COUTURE: Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian DressVee Tames 2020 (left) Yves Saint Laurent Couture 2002 © Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris (right)

Valentino, who collaborated with @animalcrossingfashionarchive, recently exhibited 20 downloadable designs from the SS20 and Pre-AW20 collections. And it’s not just designers getting involved in the craze either; DJ and music producer Yaeji debuted an exclusive line of merchandise including patterned jumpers, plaid skirts and beanies earlier this month.  

What has proved more popular, however, is the opportunity for amateur designers to create and distribute their best bootleg tributes to Prada, Gucci, Chanel and Thierry Mugler. Certain players have developed a cult following for the quality of their online reproductions before debuting their own Animal Crossing collections, AC Couture if you will.


Mountain View

Read More: Second-Hand Clothing, First-Hand Fashion?

Understandably, perhaps, some figures in the fashion community have expressed concerns towards this emerging space: there is no actual way of monetising your work nor is there a means of protecting your intellectual property within the game. However, the majority of the fashion industry have welcomed Animal Crossing as a new way of engaging audiences and building brand loyalty. Streetwear brand Happy99 had a 30% increase in sales after releasing a collection on the game, suggesting that certain players are keen to match their character’s wardrobe in real life, given the opportunity. With 11 million players (including the likes of Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner), fashion designers have been able to interact with their biggest online audience yet.

If you fancy getting some designer clothes yourself to freshen up your Animal Crossing wardrobe, here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Download the Nintendo Switch Online app on your phone which is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
  2. Once in the app, you will need to create a Nintendo account.
  3. You can then link your Nintendo Switch console to your Nintendo account from the console itself. To access your user page, just select your user icon on the top left of the HOME menu. Then click ‘Link to a Nintendo account’.
  4. Once your console has updated, log back into the game.
  5. Head to the Able Sisters shop and there will now be a special portal at the back of the stop you can use to access custom designs. You will need to use the Nintendo E-shop but I just took advantage of the 7 day free trial and cancelled my subscription before I had to pay anything.
  6. You can then search for outfits either by clicking search by design ID or search by creator ID.
  7. Type in your code and then click save. You will then be able to access that outfit in the Pro design tab on your Custom Design App on your NookPhone. 

Alternatively, if you simply want to satisfy your curiosity, a great starting point is to have a look at the following Instagram accounts: @crossingtherunway @animalcrossingfashionarchive @nookstreetmarket. They showcase a whole range of designers and looks, tailoring for all styles and tastes. Or, if you’re braver than I am, get some of your own designs out there. Who knows, maybe you’ll become the next leader in Tom Nook couture?