Fulllife: when former board sports and dotcom executives turn to gamer apparel
The barriers between videogaming and fashion are blurring. Gamers are a popular demographic nowadays, with Nicolas Ghesquiere designing clothes for League of Legend heroines, Valentino’s fun foray into Animal Crossing and Longchamp’s with pokémon icon Pikachu. Gone is the scruffy geek look, contemporary gamers are a chic bunch.
Four French dotcom and board sport businessmen have zeroed in on this new trend. They are the co-founders of digital infotainment broadcaster Melty, Alexandre Malsch and Bruno Maugery, together with the former president EMEA and CFO of Boardriders, Thomas Chambolle, and the former head of design and product development at DC Shoes and Element, Philippe Vial. Together, they decided to create a lifestyle label inspired by the videogame and e-sport culture.
A project founded on the finding that over 70% of French consumers say they play videogames at least occasionally, and that the market is worth $120 billion worldwide and $5 billion in France alone.
The new label is called Fulllife, and its collections will include “comfy, directional apparel, with quality clothes that are sustainable and eco-responsible. [Fulllife] will also feature a range of tech products specifically designed for videogamers and professional e-sport players,” said Fulllife’s founders in a press release.
No product has been dropped yet, but Vial's design savvy ought to guarantee the new label will be stylish. Fulllife is touted as a digital native vertical brand, and the relationship with its consumer community will follow the conventions of the e-sport world, whose potential the label is keen to tap. While brands like Element thrive on the association with skateboarding, Fulllife intends to become a must for videogamers, appealing not just to pro practitioners but fans too.
The videogame market has been booming for some time, and the lockdowns imposed almost worldwide have given it a further boost. It is a sector that, like any sport, has both occasional practitioners and regular competitors. The number of e-sport enthusiasts, a well-established demographic in Asia and one that is increasingly expanding in Europe, is growing by leaps and bounds. In 2019, the e-sport industry is said to have generated a global revenue of $1.1 billion,
and it is still in its infancy.
While physical sporting events, both at amateur and professional level, have been severely affected by the pandemic, and their business model seems in jeopardy, e-sport is taking hold. Two years ago, entry-level e-sport sponsorship deals were still relatively affordable, but the figures are steadily escalating, especially now that sport equipment brands are serious about this business, and have been signing cheques worth several million euro in order to sponsor e-sport tournaments and teams, chiefly in South Korea and Asia, the discipline’s leading markets.
Lifestyle labels however have not really dared to engage with the e-sport and gaming community yet. Fulllife is playing to win, an opportunity that is coveted by others besides its founders, who have already raised €2.5 million to get the venture off the ground.
The first funding round has tapped a bank, Pyrénées Gascogne Développement, of the Crédit Agricole group, and a group of business angels, comprising influential French figures from the world of sport, the web and fashion. Among them, Jean-Michel Aulas, founder of software company Cegid and owner of French top-flight football team Olympique Lyonnais through his family holding company Holnest.
Also, Olivier Mathiot, president of The Camp, vice-president of France Digitale and co-founder of PriceMinister; Thierry Debarnot, co-founder and president of Gaming Campus, the first European training campus for the videogame industry; Marc Jalabert, a partner of Acequia Capital and former GM Marketing and Operations at Microsoft France; Jean-Philippe Hecquet, former CEO of Lanvin and Sandro; and Geoffrey La Rocca, president of the Digital Century Group and former general manager of Teads.
A group of businessmen with complementary know-how, whose resources and advice are likely to ensure a bright future to Fulllife.
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