When the world collectively headed indoors for a nebulous period of isolation, there were, of course, bigger questions to address than what’d happen to our sartorial habits. But, job loss is something that affects all industries, including the world of fashion. With fewer people buying clothes–with the exception of comfy trackies and leggings–it was a bleak outlook for designers, stylists and photographers in the world of fashion. Enter an unlikely hero, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the requisite plethora of Animal Crossing fashion Instagram accounts.
Its been well documented that fashion is one of the most beloved drawcards of the ultra-soothing game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Some players say that putting together their outfit daily is one of the most important parts of the game for them, second only perhaps to naming their island and making their fav memes in it. If you need some advice from the experts, Syrup recently sat down with the legends behind the O.G. Animal Crossing fashion Tumblr and Instagram: Crossing The Runway. The interview is a must-read for anyone working on their Animal Crossing wardrobe.
As well as the enthusiasm from fans in replicating their favourite designers and labels pieces, the islands of Animal Crossing have also been a lifeline for the fashion establishment. Designers, stylists and photographers are staying connected to the world during this isolation with pop-ups, fashion shoots and official downloadable codes of their IRL designer counterparts.
One brand who has recently thrown their hat into the Nintendo ring is Givenchy. In a collaboration with Nook Street Market, the brand debuted virtual versions of some of it’s most popular makeup products. With a little Animal Crossing twist. The beauty offering includes the Prisme Libre Loose Powder in multiple shades, kiss prints to adorn your character’s face, inspired by real Le Rouge shades, and tiny little hearts, created using Phenomen’Eyes liner. According to WWD, the company claims they’re the first luxury brand to offer makeup products for the game.
New York designer Sandy Liang reported long wait times for her exclusive Animal Crossing pop-up, which was preserved in a lookbook spread that she says was “oddly just as time-consuming as a real lookbook shoot.”
Maison Valentino collaborated on a shoot with one of Animal Crossing’s most in-demand fashion photographers Kara Chung, aka @animalcrossingfashionachive. Chung is actually an established fashion photographer in real life and like many other creatives found herself out of work when the pandemic hit. What began as a casual account for her to share looks with her friends, quickly gained traction and the photographer soon found herself swamped with collaborators looking to work with her. As well as the Valentino shoot, Chung has now “shot” virtual fashion editorials for the likes of i-D, Hypebeast and Highsnobiety.
Another lil brand you may have heard of, Marc Jacobs, has also used Animal Crossing as a way to interface with fans during social isolation. The brand partnered with Chung to recreate six of their signature pastel pieces for the island format, offering fans the download codes directly on their Instagram. Even the non-AC-initiated were excited by the virtual drop, with one commenter replying, “BRB, off to buy a switch.”
Even IRL angel Yaeji has thrown a digital sweater into the ring, launching a line of merch that is exclusive to Animal Crossing. She made the codes available for free here.
If the soothing digital spaces that so many people are turning to for connection right now did becoming a favoured place for the fashion industry to conduct its business, there might even be some “real world” benefits. Chung cites unique opportunities for diverse representation. Animal Crossing avatars are highly customisable, players can pick their gender, hair, eye shape, skin colour and their clothing. There’s no universal stock-standard young white male avatar here.
“The fact that they’re able to represent diversity in this game has been so empowering, Chung told Fashionista, “People really do see their avatars as reflections of themselves.” The potentially daunting prospect of wearing clothing that subverts traditional gender presentations out in the real world is lessened here. And you don’t need to worry about whether a certain style comes in a plus-size because it’s just a carefully constructed download code. The creators behind another veteran Animal Crossing fashion Instagram account, The Nook Street Market, echo Chung’s comments: the game gives people “a sense of freedom that they cannot express in the external world currently.”
With Nintendo’s long-awaited winter update to Animal Crossing, we’ve seen recognition and extension of the importance of that freedom. Amongst the tonnes of new features and additions to the world, a number of notable new hair options have been added. Characters can now wear their hair in dreadlocks, an afro and a fade, among other styles typically worn by those with textured hair. It’s a change that’ll give Black players and players of colour a lot more options that are closer to home.
Then there’s the question of production. While Animal Crossing fashion Instagram accounts regularly the cite how time-consuming and labour-intensive the task of coding a detailed sweater pixel by pixel can be, the environmental resources consumed to make an infinitely shareable digital Lazy Oaf sweater is any time less than the IRL counterpart.
In an open letter published on the 12th of May this year, the Belgian designer Dries Van Noten called for an overhaul of the fashion industries current model. Cosigned by a group of brands and retailers, including Selfridges, Nordstrom and Marine Serre (of those half-moon tops) the letter advocated for a change to “simplify our businesses, making them more environmentally and socially sustainable and ultimately align them more closely with customers’ needs.” As well as adjusting the current fashion seasons’ timings to match with the actual seasons we experience, the group wants to increase sustainability through the use of “digital showrooms in addition to personal creative interactions.”
We did see the pre-coronavirus fashion weeks of this year make a number of attempts at sustainability, but perhaps the unlikely arena that will really galvanise a change is a sweet island, inhabited by some friendly digital animal villagers. Perhaps Nintendo could send old mate Dries a Switch for his birthday?
Whether you want a way to wrap yourself in the comforting warmth of your favourite streetwear labels, are suppressing the desire to shop IRL–for fear of post germs or actual debt, or are a die-hard fashion nerd charting it’s new digital frontier, these are some of our favourite Animal Crossing fashion Instagrams.
Animal Crossing Fashion Instagram Accounts
Crossing The Runway
One of the originals and one of the best. Hit them up for all your archival designer needs.
Animal Crossing Fashion Archive
Nook Street Market
An affectionate homage to the retail concept Dover Street Market, this Animal Crossing fashion Instagram favours clean product shots and showcases a range of designer and cult “if you know you know” brands.
Elevated street wear fan? You’ll find Stone Island, Visvim and KAPITAL at Archival Crossing.
Animal Crossing Clothing
Animal Crossing Drip
Original Animal Crossing fashion designs running the gamut from Burberry to the aforementioned Lazy Oaf sweater by Allora. Homegirl is the queen of sweater / hoodie / outerwear designs and you should absolutely be following.
The detail on this Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton SS19 Wizard of Oz Sweater is impeccable. Follow Nook Runway for more incredibly executed runway looks.
This Animal Crossing instagram fashion account is a sweet ode to the Man Repeller brand, and we think they’d approve of these lovingly crafted Mansur Gavriel sweaters.
ACNH Celebrity Fashion
We love a bonus gift and this Animal Crossing fashion Instagram recreates not only the looks, but the famous look wearer. Have a scroll for impeccable versions of everyone from our (newly single) boy Timothée Chalamet to Tyler the Creator to Marc fucking Rebillet.
FEAR OF NOOK
One for my hypebeasts out there, enjoy the Off-White, KITH and Yeezus drip.
Named as homage to the Swedish brand, this Animal Crossing designer features loving recreations of everyone from Comme des Garçons to Jacquemus himself.
HOMME PLISSÉ NOOKSEY MIYAKE
The execution on this vintage Issey Miyake knit… 🥺 Please follow this account. We wait in hope they figure out how to recreate something from the Pleats Please line.
Animal Crossing X Fashion
Featuring designs from the likes of Calvin Klein, Raf Simons and Maison Margiela, this account is a high fashion lovers dream.
Animal Crossing Hype Beast
The aptly named IG Animal Crossing Hype Beast features a heady mix of celeb-inspired fits, streetwear (including niche collaborations) and a recreation of a Dries Van Noten sweater the man himself would be proud of.
Animal Crossing Archives
This account is almost more of a sleek designer showcase. The clothes are modeled on crispy fresh, almost e-commerce like stands and the designs speak to some intense digital craftsmanship. The Y.T.G. sweatshirt above is pretty much an exact match for the original:
House of SLY
With bright designs from Carolina Herrera and Nooworks, to moody tones from Sacai and Alexander Wang, the Animal Crossing designer behind House of Sly is serving you RANGE.
Teki Latex is a big Animal Crossing fashion Instagrammer first, and a DJ at BBC radio 1 and Rinse resident second. His showcases his carefully created designs regularly. In the gallery above he breaks down his looks for a fishing tourney: “I was rocking a classic nautical style with this Patagonia Inshore Foul Weather jacket, as well as the North Face Urban Exploration Kazuki Pink Alpha Futurelight raincoat, a vintage TNF Anorak, and that infamous And Wander beige fleece. Took me a while to get the texture of the fleece right!” My mans.