Technology is the pillar of modern life and most of its everyday aspects. Although there’s nothing particularly new in this statement, there are some categories of products which, over some decades, remained relatively unchanged in terms of overall functionality. Among them you can find pencils or pens, some other everyday objects, and most of the clothes. For some reason, clothes did not undergo a redefining functional shift, similar to the transformation of traditional CRT television to SmartTV units. Why is that? Are clothes in some way immune to technological improvements? Most certainly not — and video game apparel is a great evidence of that.
Every product needs a few carefully thought through business strategy and design elements to succeed in any branch of the market. The first one is the target audience. One could claim that gamer clothing is made predominantly for gamers. Although there’s some truth to that statement, a very naive question comes up: are pens made for writers only? Are books issued only with the critics and literary historians in mind? Most certainly not. A more accurate statement about video game apparel could claim that their target audience covers gamers, but is not limited to them. After all, a well-designed clothing product serves a universal purpose, which can be taken advantage of by almost everyone.
The second element of these products’ underlying philosophy is a universal visual style. Imagine a T-shirt with the Mario Bros. logo on it. It’s a clear pop culture reference to a famous franchise, loved by many fans all around the world. But can it be considered as an element of the gamer apparel? The answer to that question is quite ambiguous: yes (in theory) and no (in reality). Product placement or a loose cultural reference is one of the elements of game merch, but most certainly not the only one.
To truly understand the phenomenon of this category of products, one should remember about a commonly shared passion among the game communities: it’s technology. In gamer outfits, the technological achievements come in conjunction with visual messages, related to a particular franchise, or a loosely understood game aesthetics (like fantasy worlds, anti-utopias, steampunk cities or post-apocalyptic visions of our planet).
With these factors in mind, let’s flip through some of the most important features from the consumer’s standpoint. And there are so many of them!
Clothes for gamers are packed with innovation on many levels — fabrics used during the production process, amount of pockets dedicated to carry specific objects, smartphone connectivity, battery charging capacity… Let’s start with the most simple design choices — materials and pockets.
Gamer clothes are not designed for just sitting in your room for many hours and playing AAA releases — one of their primary characteristics is versatility. They fit for some sports activities like jogging. During travel, they come in handy even more thanks to their wrinkle-resistant materials. Multiple folding is not a challenge for them. Even when stuffed in a small luggage with a variety of other clothes and other items, gamer clothing looks just like a new purchase when you get it out of the luggage.
Not only is it wrinkle-resistant, but also waterproof. This serves two purposes: first of all, obviously, it protects the wearer from even intense rain. But at the same time, water resistance protects the internal structure of a particular clothing because of its high tech contents like chips, wires, rechargeable batteries… But more on that later.
Resistant fabrics are only one part in the bigger picture. The second part is pocket design. Rather than tho have just two traditional pockets, just like their ordinary competition, gamer clothes tend to have more. Some of them are designed to carry certain objects like wallets, sunglasses, or even styli (like the Apple Pencil). Moreover, such products as the Jay23 hoodies, have detachable pockets on their internal side. With that feature, you can carry valuable objects even after taking off the hoodie. Convenient? Most certainly!
The next category of features reinvents the concept of versatility. It turns out that when you purchase certain gamer outfits, you get more cleverly designed functions than you think.
Have you ever suffered from hot having enough space in your luggage? You probably have. Almost everybody tends to take a bit more things for travel than needed. In situations like these, gamer apparel can come in handy. It turns out That such products as Jay23 hoodies from the PRO series are convertible to fully fledged backpacks. Problem solved: you can have a backpack with a lot of space for your belongings, which at any moment can be turned back into a normal hoodie. The whole conversion process takes just a few seconds.
Another great solution in such products are small, built in gadgets, designed to help the user in many different situations. Let’s take the coronavirus pandemic as a case study. Due to the common obligation of mask wearing, everybody has to possess at least one mask. At the same time, probably everybody once in a while forgets to take their mask from home. Gamer clothing can help to solve this problem — Jay23’s hoodies come with a built-in, reusable COVID mask. No more going back home and looking for the forgotten one. Effortless versatility — it’s one of the primary characteristics of these products.
Now it’s time to look into some of the more advanced features. Let’s start with the pocket heating, a very popular option in many hoodies and jackets.
Cold winds are annoying and uncomfortable, but not with the right set of clothes. Such products as heated jackets were invented around the year 2000, and were designed mostly for sportsmen and outdoor workers. The technology implemented inside of such products is very simple: a powerful, rechargeable battery (or a set of smaller batteries) powers a specially designed set of wires, which distribute heat to certain parts of the clothing.
The most popular designers’ choice for the heated part was the back. In such gamer clothes as hoodies, heated back and/or pockets are becoming a standard. With that feature in your jacket or hoodie, you no longer need to worry about finding good gloves — they are no longer needed thanks to the heating technology.
Aforementioned function can be controlled via smartphone. A simple, well-designed app for your Android or iOS device can set just the right temperature with just a few taps. Back in the day, the heating technology in clothes was controlled with manual thermostats. But with the invention of advanced Bluetooth connectivity, these are no longer needed.
And let’s not forget about another great function — the smartphone charging capability. The rechargeable, powerful battery which is the energy source for heating pads, can be used for wireless phone charging. It’s a very simple solution, yet it feels a little unreal. With gamer apparel, you can literally wear your powerbank.
One of the newest functions in this product category is listening to music via the built-in earphones. They are embedded directly into the fabric of the hood’s drawstrings. If you’ve ever lost your earphones, remember: it’s much easier to lose them than a whole clothing. Not only is it hard to forget, but also provides a great listening experience.
Although nobody can predict this matter with any great accuracy, the most probable course of development is adding more connectivity. Increasing number of smart functions is added to every IoT device, and discussed products are no exception from this trend. Thermometer, compass, built-in radio or podcast player — there are many ways to further improve such a great category of products as video game apparel.