Highsnobiety

Thought the Balenciaga collab would be Fortnite's biggest-ever coup? Apparently, it wasn't even the game's most important collaboration of 2021 because Fortnite has just revealed its KAWS partnership.

Specifically, KAWS is part of Fortnite's "Fortnitemare" promotion, tying in with the game's Halloween escapades, yielding a skeletonized Companion skin that can be purchased, worn in-game, and then used to re-enact classic Halloween cartoon "The Skeleton Dance."

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Not quite as involved as Fortnite's previous artist collabs but at least it's both thematic and a riff on KAWS' own "Dissected" collectibles.

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Though Fortnite's Balenciaga collab was nothing if not divisive, its path was laid by crossovers like Gucci x Roblox, Louis Vuitton x League of Legends and similar tie-ups.

That is to say, luxury fashion and Esports no longer worlds apart.

Indeed, as Highsnobiety has explored in great detail, the digital worlds of games like Fortnite are the next great frontier for these kinds of companies to conquer.

The KAWS collaboration is a new wrinkle in the equation, as it's the first time that a high-profile artist has joined up with Fortnite.

It's not like anyone was clamoring for it — a lot of KAWS fans are actually reacting pretty despondently on the artist's Instagram post — but it's here and, honestly, it makes plenty of sense.

At this point in his career, especially, KAWS is less artist than collaborative machine. From affordable UNIQLO T-shirts to perfume to boxes of Reeses Puffs, KAWS has co-signed it all.

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In fact, KAWS x Fortnite really is the perfect crossover: mass-market artist + mass-market video game = big bucks. Plus, nearly all of the demographic that plays Fortnite is likely well-versed in the cartoons used as fodder for KAWS' output.

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