It was a couple of hours before the launch event was officially set to begin when I walked into the Lost Knight bar in Los Angeles. Nate Eckman, dressed in a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, sat at a table going over final logistics for the evening. Eckman is soft-spoken and unassuming, despite being on the verge of the launch of his new eSports lifestyle apparel brand, ULT. ULT’s first line of clothing is dubbed, the “Kills” collection. This mostly-black line of t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, and hats is like its designer – subdued and understated. While most of Eckman’s pieces have prominent graphics featured on the back, the collection is monochromatic (with the exception of one cap), absent of bright colors, fabric, or textiles. Guests at the event filled a room that was reminiscent of a small boutique in New York’s famous SoHo, as Eckman took to the stage to quietly address the crowd. He shared a story that serves as the inspiration of ULT. “I stopped an eSports fan wearing his favorite team jersey, an all-over printed nylon baby blue shirt. He said he would be embarrassed to wear it at school or out with his friends. That sucks,” Eckman said. Most video game related attire, like t-shirts sold on shelves at Gamestop and Walmart, feature logos and key character artwork, which are fun to wear at times, but aren’t exactly fashionable. Eckman’s intention for the Kills line and ULT label is to offer video gamers clothing that expresses their identity as video game players, but with sophisticated aesthetics.
“With ULT we want to change that feeling through modern and minimal design, with streetwear sensibilities. We want the fans and players who wear our line to look and feel awesome because the eSports community is amazing and that is what we deserve"“With ULT we want to change that feeling through modern and minimal design, with streetwear sensibilities. We want the fans and players who wear our line to look and feel awesome because the eSports community is amazing and that is what we deserve," Eckman said. ULT will not be limited to casual streetwear though, as Eckman plans to design technical training and competitive gear for eSports players, as well as custom suits, ties, and accessories. Additionally, ULT will feature collaborations with other established designers of streetwear. With its focus on fashion, comfort, and premium attire, ULT’s potential for impact in the eSports community and the video game industry at large is tremendous. Eckman’s first line of apparel can be found at ULTeSports.com. Examiner // Rick Kim