Games, Identity, and Fashion: Massive’s Concept Artist Scholarship Revealed

In June 2020, we, together with Svensk Form and their project Ung Svensk Form, announced a brand new Concept Artist Scholarship with a focus on fashion, items, and skins in our game productions. Today, we are happy to introduce the recipient of the scholarship: Marie Isacsson. Learn more about her work, her view on the relationship between games, fashion, and identities, and what the future might hold.

“I’m super happy about receiving Massive’s and Ung Svensk Form’s Concept Artist Scholarship! I’ve always been interested in the games industry, but never really known how I could get into it,” explains Marie Isacsson as we call her up to congratulate her.

“Since I’m from the Malmö region, I knew about Massive beforehand, and when I saw the scholarship announcement and David Polfeldt’s vision regarding design, I immediately thought ‘wow, we share the same ideas’.”

Ung Svensk Form is a platform for young designers with the goal of sharing knowledge and raise awareness about new, innovative Swedish design. For a long time, Massive have explored the limitations and opportunities of interactive media, and our partnership with Ung Svensk Form gives us the possibility to take this ambition to a whole new level.

“Marie’s talented work on “Fantasy Land” and her passion for the correlation between physical and digital design sparked our curiosity,” explains Pierre Escaich, Development Director at Massive and one of the people involved in the new scholarship.

“But it was also her craftsmanship and exploration of the identity of gamers that caught our interest, as it explores the boundaries of virtual and digital – between the physical world and the game. This coupled with her strong interest in fashion and how it can relate to the representation of identity in games, we feel honored to offer Marie the Concept Artist Scholarship, and can’t wait to see her pushing boundaries in her future work.”

Marie has a big interest in the role clothes and skins play in games from a fashion perspective, and the connection that fashion has in the relationship between the person who plays the game and their digital persona or avatar. She was intrigued by the bond between the physical identity and the digital, and the role customization plays in building these identities.

Marie’s talented work on “Fantasy Land” and her passion for the correlation between physical and digital design sparked our curiosity.

“For my Master’s project called Fantasy Land – which I used to apply for the scholarship – I explored identities and looked at the impact customization has on players’ presence in games, with focus on MMOs. The reason why I chose to focus on MMOs is that they are different in the way that you actually meet other players, which creates a social relationship with the digital identity.”

During her internship at Massive, Marie will mostly focus on “thinking outside of the box”, but also connect with the cosplay community to better understand their thoughts and feeling regarding fashion, and what it really means to take a character out of a game, from the virtual world, into the physical world and then back into the virtual.

“I’m really excited to get to know the cosplay community better, their engagement is incredible, and I really want to learn more about that side of fashion,” says Marie.

One of the things that also interests Marie, that is outside of the traditional aspects of fashion design, is 3D modelling – as seen in her Master thesis Fantasy Land. Her work with 3D stemmed from a desire to get more control over her own work, and she tells us that she now believes that it’s the future of the fashion industry.

“In many ways, it sometimes feels like the fashion industry is stuck in its old ways, and I believe that with 3D modelling, many of those traditions can be broken. For example, negative hierarchies in the industry, and the broadening of the designer role and building collaborations with other industries – like the one Massive is now starting. I also believe it’s strongly connected to sustainability. With 3D modelling, the design process can be streamlined and the need for physical samples and prototypes can be reduced heavily. There’s just so much potential.”

I’m really excited to get to know the cosplay community better, their engagement is incredible, and I really want to learn more about that side of fashion.

So, the fashion industry could learn some things from industries working with digital art – like the games industry. But what can the games industry learn from the fashion industry?

Marie points out that games often reflect the physical world and includes fashion that somehow already exists, while the fashion industry always has been very good at looking forward and trying to give people what they don’t even know they want.

“It would be interesting to take fashion in games one step further – adapted to the game’s context of course. Expanding the horizons of fashion in games can help create more diverse identities in the customization, for example,” she explains.

Marie’s internship at Massive will start in April, and until then she’s sinking her teeth into Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 to get a better understanding of the game.

“I’m very excited to explore that world, and see everything that the Snowdrop engine can do – the details are just amazing. I can’t wait to come to Massive and learn the ins and outs of the game industry, from people in the industry,” she concludes.

– Ung Svensk Form 2021 is a co-production between Svensk Form and IKEA Museum, in association with Kulturhuset Stadsteatern and the City of Malmö. Read more about Ung Svensk Form here.

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