Why Don't You... Wear Gucci and Thom Browne While Paying Off Your Debts to Tom Nook?
Yes, this is an Animal Crossing fashion editorial.
I am not a "gamer." Two weeks ago, Nintendo released a new version of a game called Animal Crossing, and in my various social media channels, people celebrated this release by saying things like "it's the perfect game to play during quarantine" (The New York Times agrees). The game is simple: you move to a deserted island with two other inhabitants and, uh, Tom Nook—the raccoon owner of said deserted island. You spend your days fishing, chopping wood from trees, and selling what you find so that you can pay off the costs of moving to the island (it's... not not a capitalist hellscape, but cute!!). In the process you get to make your own furniture, upgrade your dwelling and the island's infrastructure, and you slowly create a bustling town (after two weeks of playing, there are now five residents on my island, a museum, a general store, and a resident services center). The real draw to the game is that if you have friends that are also playing the game you can "visit" their island and hang out with them—something that would be "cute" in the days pre-COVID, but now that virtual hangouts are the only thing we've got, being able to hang out with your friends, and "have a picnic" or "go fishing," and then document that hangout via screenshot is just a little bit funnier than merely changing the background on your Zoom happy hour.
Many things in this game are customizable, chief among them clothes (you can also create artwork for the walls of your little house!). I didn't realize how cool this function could truly be until I came across the Nook Street Market Instagram account. Here was one of the Animal Crossing characters wearing a Simone Rocha two-tone dress, there was another rocking a Sandy Liang fleece, and is that... a Barragán dress? It was genius.
The account is the brainchild of Vivian Loh, a photographer and graphic designer, and Michele Yue, a DJ and designer. "We were both creating clothes and just sharing them with each other," Loh explains, "but Michelle had the foresight to make it into an actual thing!"
"It definitely started as a joke!," Yue adds, "I wanted the name to be after an iconic department store in New York, and so of course it had to be Dover Street Market." In little over a week, the account has already amassed over five thousand followers, because not only are they recreating their favorite looks in the game, through a sharing function built-in to the game, they are able to share the looks with other players. So even if you've been living in an assorted array of sweatpants for the past month, when you meet up with your friends in your little island, you can dress up in the things you'd probably wear IRL if you had somewhere to go.
"I think it’s adorable, and I love that people can feel glamorous in their islands," Yue says, "It feels like a cute community." Community is, of course, the thing we need the most right now. We also need really great fashion that will allow us for a bit of joy and escapism, so I asked them to put their characters, Mixu and Vivi, in some of our favorite spring dresses. —Laia Garcia-Furtado