In our ever changing world, it seems as though the latest ‘fashion craze’ or ‘style’ is the geek / gamer look. (Something I’ve been sporting before it was popular!) With popularity comes more sales outlets, but with so many out there, which do you choose and which are the best? I’ve sifted through countless sites, and listed six of my personal favourite sites in order of greatness (1 being the best), so you know where to look next time you’re wanting to stylishly suit up.
Quite possibly America’s biggest geek online store, ThinkGeek stocks an incredible amount of gadgetry, clothing, toys, figures and and so much more. They have your general nerdy toys, genius, innovative and problem-solving gadgets, and all the usual creative shirts. But perhaps where ThinkGeek shines is in its licensed gear. Many game companies have turned to ThinkGeek to produce some products inspired by, or directly from their games. One of my personal favourite pieces is the various gels taken from Portal 2′s Aperture Labs. These fully licensed collectables are no generic reproduction, they come in branded tins as if they were ripped straight from the game. Another for you Minecraft lovers is the officially licensed Minecraft foam sword / pickaxe, another sterling piece of game merchandise from ThinkGeek. However, there’s always a downside, and with ThinkGeek being an American outlet, shipping costs start from £30, so you must be willing to invest to get the best.
As the UK near-equivalent of ThinkGeek, Firebox is the geek’s paradise. Covering the fields of films, games, TV, and the plain wacky, Firebox are one of the more eccentric sites out there. Whatever you can think of, Firebox probably will stock it, and a lot of the products available you may have seen on BBC 2′s ‘Dragon’s Den’. They pride themselves on solutions to everyday problems that we don’t even know of, the usual weird and genius products, and the downright unnecessary. True gamers may feel insulted, asthey only seem to stock the now clichéd: Pac-Man, Angry Birds, and SNES pad gear. Whilst still pretty different products, it’s not really the branding we want. But if you’re hunting for birthday / Christmas gifts, Firebox should be your first port of call with an unending list of ideas / products which the receiver is guaranteed not to own.
J!NX are the all clothing, all licensed, all awesome pick of the crop, boasting fully branded shirts, hoodies and more from Minecraft, Portal, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Diablo, Starcraft, and more to come in the future. Their designs, though licensed, are not simple reproductions, they’re 100% original, and some of the most creative designs I’ve seen based on these games. Many gamers would be happy to be seen wearing these shirts every day, but not all. The only flaw with J!NX is that their shirts are aimed at ‘mass niches’. Only fans of Minecraft would buy a Minecraft shirt, and the same goes for all of the other brands. Although they cover a few different games, their shirts appeal to only audiences of their select games not every gamer like many other sites.
Possibly the biggest UK based cult store, Forbidden Planet sells a massive variety of items including: comics, figures, manga and more. However they also deal in clothing. Their website along offers a range of tees, hoodies, caps and more all geared towards the ‘geeky’ side of the market. Doctor Who, every geeks favourite television program is perhaps their most popular product choice, and even a few of their tees are flattened versions of previous Doctor’s costumes. Star Wars — every geeks favourite film is another popular inspiration, you’ll be able to find anything and everything Star Wars related within. Gaming is also covered though, with many unique exclusive designs from games like Alice: Madness Returns and Battlefield 3. Shopping at Forbidden Planet either online or instore is an affordable and great choice for all.
Unlike Forbidden Planet, GamerPrint is entirely focused on gaming related products. Their main products are hoodies and t-shirts, all at the affordable price of £30 and £15 respectively. As a fairly new site, they currently offer fourteen designs to choose but more are coming thick and fast, at the rate of nearly one per month. Each design is both extremely unique and also fairly subtle, so much so that only other gamers would truly understand their inspiration. These original designs are simply brilliant and so clever in their execution. Unlike some sites however, GamerPrint’s designs are mainly from modern games, notably: Halo: Reach, Portal 2, and Dead Island. So GamerPrint is the best choice for younger gamers as its modern inspirations will be something many will understand, not having to look into to fully understand.
1. Insert Coin
Simply put, Insert Coin Tees are incredible. Not only are the team the most friendly, passionate, and interesting people in this industry, but they pull off some of the best, most innovative, and clever designs I’ve ever seen. With designs inspired from Mass Effect, Halo, Zelda and so many, many more, you’re completely spoilt for choice. Like GamerPrint, the designs are especially subtle yet still so vibrant and inventive. Now their reputation in the industry has built up, they’re even beginning to produce officially licensed tees and hoodies. However, this corporate co-operation doesn’t take from their creativity, their licensed Sonic tees stick with their now classic style, as do their latest creation: official Assassin’s Creed hoodies complete with a peaked hood. Only Insert Coin could design so geniously. With tees priced at £20 and hoodies at £30 it’s well worth your purchase, as a t-shirt that you’d happily and proudly wear any where, and a hard wearing shirt of the highest quality. Any self-respecting gamer should be wearing Insert Coin.
At London’s MCM Expo, our own Sam England interviewed the Insert Coin team. Listen below to hear about the company’s design choices, how they began, and what they stand for in the industry.
So, what do you make of this geek culture resurgence? Where do you go to find your geek clothing – and what’s your favourite item of geek or gaming attire that you own?