Fashion and play collide in Lacoste x Minecraft’s new Croco Island

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Image courtesy of Lacoste.

In the futuristic, smoky basement of ESPot – the Parisian gaming paradise opposite the Louvre – is an arena, where four big-name young gamers sat on Saturday in front of 400 invited video game fans from around the world. Like a kind of IRL Twitch, fans watched eagerly as their favorite gamers played an all-new universe within Minecraft, created in collaboration with French label Lacoste, before unlocking it for the public to play as well.

In this new Minecraft world, the classic Lacoste Crocodile has been anchored in the year 2000, becoming the blocky lo-fi host of Croco Island – a fun seaside paradise designed as a playground for self-discovery and growth as a community. Mini-games including word puzzles, treasure hunts, parkour and tennis (a nod to Lacoste’s own origins) are simple yet addictive ways to earn digital coins on the virtual island , while a collection of clothing is available both as character skins and in real life.

Unlike most gaming products, however, this collection is much sleeker. Fitted crop tops, hoodies and tights with an arcade-style print along the hem; pastel-hued polo shirts and tees, sleek black backpacks and festival-ready body bags are just a part of the 30-piece collection. Among the crowd at ESpot, these clothes offered fans a way to show their love of the game through their unique styles. A long-sleeved t-shirt adorned with the capsule’s baby pink logo was paired with Harry Styles beads by one player, while the white print crop top became part of another’s Sailor Moon aesthetic.

Moments before the event kicked off, we spoke to Scott Major, Gen Z gamer, video creator and popular Twitch streamer, about the intersection between the gaming and fashion communities, the freedom to dress in the virtual world and highlights of Croco Island.

Hey Scott, how has playing and the act of playing impacted your own self-discovery?
I think for me it’s being able to express myself in a different way. Growing up in the west of Scotland it was very ‘boys like football’. Being someone who didn’t, finding games was a way to meet people who had the same interest as me and express myself creatively. Producing gaming videos and content on YouTube has definitely helped me be a lot more confident too.

What games helped you discover yourself when you were younger?
I have always been a great player. When I was younger I used to play age of empires with my dad. This then pivoted to World of Warcraft and all online games under the sun of Cartoon town for Club Penguin. I played everything. Minecraft was the first one I found where I felt like I could do whatever I wanted. It’s such a liberating game because you don’t just follow a story, you create one.

What are your favorite parts of Croco Island?
I love all the different minigames. Parkour is challenging but not boring or frustrating. Tennis also translates quite well and is a good way to bring the world where Lacoste comes from. I was a bit skeptical about it at first – on paper I didn’t think it would work – but after playing it now I think it works quite well.

How do you think the game could help players express themselves?
I think Minecraft and Lacoste have built a bridge between fashion and gaming in an easy to understand way. It doesn’t feel forced and it’s part of that immersive world that’s just plain fun to play in.

Do you see any similarities between the fashion community and the Minecraft community?
By playing Java Minecraft, which I’ve always had, you can express your identity through your skin. I’ve had several skins that represent me and my brand, and I like to change them to express a character that I play. I think Minecraft is one of the best games to represent you and how you want to present yourself.

Scott Major and players wearing The Lacoste x Minecraft digital collection in the Croco Island Tennis mini-game.

If you had to create a skin with the new Lacoste x Minecraft collection, which pieces would you choose and why?
The skin I have in the game is what I wore for filming. I like it because it was colorful without being too in your face. But I really like black and white pieces and the layered effect would translate very well into a skin. I would go for the layered contrast long sleeve t-shirt with the Minecraft plaid pants.

A lot of gaming fashion tends to be just graphic t-shirts without much thought. It tends to be made for kids, whereas it’s an older collection, which I like because as a young adult gamer there aren’t many ways to express yourself through clothes. You can also mix and match many of these pieces. The fact that it’s this mix of streetwear and athleisure makes it incredibly comfortable. Like, I’m wearing sweatpants but they look good!

I guess that’s the great thing about digital fashion, it’s not limited by seasons, weather or comfort. You can wear whatever you want.
I know people who have skins that are very out there. A lot of people use it to express themselves in ways they maybe can’t in real life. What you wear in Minecraft, no one cares… but if you wear it in public, people will be like “what?”.

When you create a skin, is it based on what you actually wear or what you might want to wear IRL but don’t?
Kind of both. In Minecraft, my character’s hair has always been blue. I’ve done it before IRL, but I wouldn’t do it again – it was very difficult choosing outfits.

Scott Major and players wearing the Lacoste x Minecraft collection at ESpot in Paris.

You are about to go unlock the world for the public to play. What’s it like to play in an arena full of your community?
It’s weird, it was not understood. I live stream Minecraft and other games to over 1000 people but I’m at home with no one in front of me. Especially with the last two years and Covid, it’s going to be weird to be in a room with a lot of people again. I’m excited to share this space though and show the collection to a group of people who understand the fashion side and the play side.

Do you think the game and the metaverse have the power to unite people in real life?
As someone who has met most – if not all – of my friends through online gaming, I definitely agree. I think the online space has changed a lot and it’s such an easy way to meet like-minded people with similar interests. But also a good way to meet people with completely opposite interests. It certainly made me more aware of different things in the real world in an expressive way and more serious topics that you don’t necessarily understand if that’s not your experience. And imagine how much lonelier the last two years would have been if we hadn’t been able to do things online! Being able to hang out with friends and family or meet new people through online spheres is definitely the way to go.

Croco Island is available now to play for free for Minecraft users, while the Lacoste x Minecraft Collection will be available online at Lacoste.com from March 16, 2022 and in Lacoste stores on March 23, 2022.

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All images courtesy of Lacoste.

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