"As a wannabe rich person, I'm happy to indulge in this virtual world sporting digital Valentino."

Kim Duong
September 08, 2020
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Kim Duong, Nintendo

Animal Crossing: New Horizons came barreling into our pandemic lives much in the same way that rageful hunger does: suddenly and all-consumingly. Those who have downloaded the Nintendo Switch game know that this isn’t some regular life simulation video game. No, it’s magical, addicting, and the perfect escape for lonely quarantine days.

In this alternate universe, I can spend my days peacefully decorating my island, conversing with my cute animal neighbors, and becoming a millionaire off of fishing and harvesting fruit alone. It truly is the superior reality (to hell with this global pandemic one!). In Animal Crossing, I can be whoever I want to be—and from a sartorial perspective, I can wear all the designer clothes I want to wear.

One of the many great features on Animal Crossing is the design tool which lets players create unique and interesting clothing, pixel by pixel. From here, you can create any design you want—like, say, a T-shirt with your face on it (which you can then gift to every one of your villagers and make your own personal fan club island) or a full digital recreation of a Chanel Cruise 2019 look. While the former sounds like narcissistic fun, the latter is what I’m drawn to, especially as someone who’s not quite ready to dish out the big bucks for a sweater (Marc Jacobs x Magda Archer ‘My Life Is Crap’ Sweatshirt, I’m looking at you).

But because I lack both the skill and patience to sit down and create these designs pixel by damn pixel, I’m grateful for all the players who consistently take the time to do so. Because of them, my little Animal Crossing avatar can now catch bugs and chop down trees in a luxury designer ensemble for the low, low price of $0. People have replicated Fendi logo sweaters, old Celine dresses, Gucci button-ups—there’s even that viral Strawberry Dress by Lirika Matoshi—and it’s all just a game code away.

Animal Crossing fans aren’t the only ones recreating these designs either: Actual designer labels are hopping on the trend and sharing virtual versions of their garments with the masses. Marc Jacobs partnered with the popular Animal Crossing design code Instagram account @animalcrossingfashionarchive to bring some Marc Jacobs pieces to the Animal Crossing universe. Sandy Liang even held a pop-up shop via Animal Crossing in which she invited players to come by the event, mingle with other players, and browse the free virtual designs.

In the midst of this global pandemic, Liang shared in a press release, “Getting together with our pals isn't possible in the same way right now, so we wanted to find some small way to get dressed up and have fun.” And isn’t that the perfect point?

Countless industries have been negatively impacted by this pandemic, including fashion, with designers pulling out of fashion week and countless brands pausing production or closing their doors permanently. Animal Crossing offers an idyllic virtual escape, and I, as a wannabe Rich Person with a closet full of designer goods, am happy to indulge in this virtual world sporting digital Valentino.