December 4, 2023

To become a Vogue Business Member and receive the Technology Edit newsletter, click here.

Burberry wants more women in esports, the highly competitive, multiplayer video game competitions, in an inclusivity drive that matches the luxury giant’s new embrace of gaming.

Burberry is partnering with esports organisation Gen.G on a four-part educational series, premiering tomorrow, and a scholarship to support an emerging player, in a bid to highlight the lack of inclusivity in the competitive arena of the gaming industry.

Burberry’s collaboration with Gen.G, which operates esports teams in the US, China and South Korea, marks the brand’s first venture into the esports world. Esports is known for major competitions and professional players who earn millions — most of them men. The world’s highest-paid esports players have made more than £3 million each, but only two female gamers have earned more than £100,000 from tournament earnings, according to a February report from spectator sport organisation OGLB. Despite the rising numbers of women playing, there are no female players among the top 300 esports earners, and Sasha Hostynis (known as Scarlet) is the only female in the top 500. They also face toxic online environments, stereotyping and underrepresentation, Burberry notes.

The partnership is Burberry’s first move into esports, though it has already shifted gears into gaming, with characters and accessories for blockchain-based game Blankos Block Party, strengthening its ties with parent company Mythical Games. In March 2021, chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci designed skins for the popular Chinese video game, Honor of Kings and in 2019, the House launched its first online game, B Bounce, wherein players competed for both physical and digital prizes. Last month, Gucci launched Gucci Gaming Academy, selecting four high-performing Eastern European players to support in their professional endeavours, and plans to increase its assistance. Notably, all of Gucci’s sponsored players were men.

Since as early as 2019, with Louis Vuitton’s partnership with League of Legends, luxury has increasingly lined up with gaming and esports, seen as precursors for metaverse projects and virtual goods and appealing to the next generation, which follows esports more closely than they do traditional sports.

The series of videos, which will appear on Burberry’s website, TikTok, YouTube and Twitch channels, includes discussions hosted by gamer and creator Emily Ghoul with experts including Gen Z content creator Jessica Kim; esports commentator Evan “Raynday” Raynr; and president and co-founder of the Latinx in Gaming platform Cristina Amaya. Speakers from Burberry include VP of diversity and inclusion Geoffrey Williams and senior computer aided design manager Lucy Goodyear.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *