Balenciaga has launched Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, a "video game" standing in place of a runway show to showcase its Fall 2021 collection. The browser game, which you can play right here, is more like a virtual tour of different settings and doesn't involve any missions. As you navigate through different zones, beginning with a Balenciaga store, you'll see models wearing looks from the new collection.
Afterworld imagines New York City in 2031 as an apparent dystopia where buildings are decaying but nature is beginning to repair itself. Before the game starts, you're able to choose one of the 50 models that appear throughout as your character — with each listing the garments they're wearing instead of attributes or skills.
Balenciaga used photogrammetry to put the game together, and a press release touts it as the largest volumetric video project ever made.
What about the garms — Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia told Women's Wear Daily he sees clothes as "modern-day armor," which makes a video game an appropriate place to illustrate the new collection. He's taken this concept quite literally with medieval-style metal boots that extend well over the knee and continue to demonstrate Gvasalia's proclivity for absurdist footwear.
A familiar assortment of oversized puffers, hoodies, and T-shirts can also be seen as a form of armor in themselves, enshrouding the body and providing security via comfort. These Balenciaga staples include what appears to be a proper Playstation collaboration, as well as an assortment of NASA-branded goods.
New to collection and further embodying the idea of armor are a hooded blanket coat, a full-body scarf, and flowery scooter jacket that completely envelops the neck. Many pieces have also been carefully destroyed to match the game's decay, including distressed denim and an overdyed trench coat and a puffer coat that uses shredded leftover fabric embroidered on to give the appearance of fur.
Sustainable and unisex — It'd be hypocritical for Gvasalia to create a world where nature and industry find more harmony and not use real-world practices to help achieve such an effect. He told WWD 93.3 percent of the materials used in the collection are sustainable, with upcycling featuring in select pieces like the trench coat. The full collection is also meant to be unisex and uni-size, allowing anyone who can afford it to throw on the pieces with ease.
While calling Afterworld a video game may be a stretch to actual gamers, it's nonetheless an exciting concept that allows the public to partake in the fun. Perhaps by 2031, the runway show as we know it will be dead, too.