At last night's launch party for the Los Angeles based Ultimate Media Venture's new ULT eSports apparel line, founder and lead designer Nate Eckman regaled the large crowd with a story.
A while back, he ran into a kid wearing a Cloud 9 Jersey. Nate struck up a conversation and the kid told him that Cloud 9 is his favorite eSports team. When Nate asked if he ever wore the jersey to school, the kid answered that he would never because his classmates would laugh and tease him. eSports were for nerds and wearing the bright light blue Cloud 9 shirt would make him a target for the ridicule with which you and I grew up and, unfortunately, continues to exist.
This meeting inspired Nate to create ULT apparel, a minimalist, exceedingly wearable line of t-shirts shirts, hoodies, accessories, and other items that eSports fans can wear to school, a bar, or a park and not feel gaudy. ULT's goal is to allow eSports fans to express their fandom, without sticking out attracting unwanted attention.
Nate has lived in LA for 10 years. He loves his city and wanted the ULT line to reflect its art and style. In addition to Nate, ULT has seven designers, all of which come from the LA street art scene. Indeed, if you examine the "ULT Kills" line, it looks to have pulled its style directly from the side of an Echo Park or Boyle Heights wall. I also live in LA and I love this town because it embraces creativity better than any other city in the world. For example, you can be an attorney, but also write about eSports on the side and people view that as perfectly normal. Thus, the fact that LA is home to a serious attempt to blend eSports and modern fashion is no surprise.
ULT's website may have just launched this week, however they already have a plethora of items to kick-start the aspiring eSports fashionista's wardrobe. The launch party highlighted men's and women's t-shirts, hoodies, zip-ups, jackets, and hats. However, ULT does not plan to stop at the fans. Going forward, Nate hopes to partner with eSports teams and produce technical gear and accessories to wear during tournaments. Additionally, ULT will launch a "Caster Couture" line of suits for eSports broadcasters.
Nate, like me, believes eSports are the future. Some kids play football, Nate's son plays Mario and "slays it." ULT wants to make eSports even more acceptable to the younger generation. From what I've seen, it is off to a fine start.
For more on ULT apparel, visit http://ultesports.com/