All but the most hardcore of hardcore gamers probably won’t immediately identify with the name “The 52,” but it — not surprisingly — has its roots in gaming. The name is a reference to 1952, the year that Alexander S. Douglas programmed the first computer game, Noughts and Crosses, at the University of Cambridge. The 52 is a new brand of clothes designed for gamers, by gamers, but that will appeal to everyone.
Despite the fact that video games are a billion dollar plus industry, there is still a stigma towards gaming that is hard to shake. For many years, video games have been a niche; a subculture with limited cross appeal. But recently, things have changed. The average age of gamers has risen, meaning that what was once an industry for an easy-to-dismiss younger group is now dominated by the heavily sought after trendsetting demographic with money to spend.
Generally, when you think of clothing related to video games, most of the fashion is either an in-joke, or something that is targeted to a very specific group. A guy wearing a t-shirt of the Lich King might garner an appreciative head nod from a fellow World of Warcraft player, but the widespread appeal would be minimal. Similarly, you might find a t-shirt on the back of someone looking to squeeze the nostalgia out of retro design, but while a picture of an Atari symbol might be considered cool and hip, it is not an accurate representation of the modern gamer.
The 52 is a clothing company that wants to prove that it is possible to design a brand of clothing that will appeal to gamers, but also reach a more mainstream audience. The 52 currently offers a decent selection of t-shirts and accessories that deconstruct the iconography of gaming and reconstruct it with a flair that is hard to overlook or dismiss as belonging to a niche. With deeply stylized designs, the clothing line of The 52 is both stylish and trendy without sacrificing the core that it represents: gaming.
For The 52 to gain mainstream appeal, it will need to overcome the inherent prejudices that the industry can generate. If the designs continue to redefine our expectations, they might just pull it off.
Check out The 52’s offerings at www.the52wantsyou.com.