Levelling up: Insert Coin’s Dan Long talks video game apparel

From classics like Sonic the Hedgehog and Pokémon to new school hits like Destiny and The Division, Insert Coin’s diverse range of video game-inspired apparel has something to suit every type of gamer, all tastefully presented in the brand’s trademark style. Here, we sat down with Dan Long, Insert Coin’s head of communications to find out the story behind this fast-rising fashion brand and what sets them apart as one of the leaders in game licensing.

How did Insert Coin get started?

Insert Coin started back in 2010, and it pretty much began as a reaction to the poor showing of video game merch that was out at the time. A lot of items were either unofficial or just used conventional boxart. Nothing was very inspired and we thought we could offer something a bit different – something that celebrated what we love about games, that helped us take that passion from the screen to the streets. 

What sets Insert Coin apart from other gaming apparel companies?

I think the biggest difference between Insert Coin and other apparel companies is that we always look at how we can make gamer gear that’s both wearable and cool. We look at what trends we can combine with different franchise to offer something different. It’s not just about putting a logo on a piece of merch, but thinking about it from the actual product upwards – and making it something that only real gamers will fully appreciate.

How do you go about working with a new franchise?

We’re lucky to work with so many different companies on such a wide variety of franchises. Every one is different and each offers a new and exciting opportunity. For us it tends to start by getting to grips with the game itself. If it’s a retro or current game, we’ll load it up from our own libraries or, if it’s an incoming release, we’re often lucky enough to get hands-on time with it. The developers and publishers behind games are fantastic to work with and can offer an unrivalled insight into the universes they’ve created.

What have been some of your most successful lines?

Our ranges have covered a huge variety of games – from Assassin’s Creed to Zone of the Enders. Each product tends to take on a life of its own and some certainly strike a serious chord with gamers – whether it’s our Monteriggioni hoodie, Hotline Miami jacket or huge Pokémon range. All our products are limited edition and it’s not uncommon for them to sell out very quickly – even on their launch weekend.

Are there any dream franchises you’ve not worked with?

We’re always looking to add new games to our lineup – and we’re always looking to our community to help guide us about what they want to see next. There’s always something – whether it’s new or old – that people want to celebrate and we’re always quick to shift focus on to new ranges to add to our collection. 

Is gaming apparel becoming more mainstream?

Video games are definitely becoming more mainstream – which is a fantastic thing. It can only be positive to get more and more people into videogames. It means there are more diehard fans too, who will appreciate the deeper references and want to take their passion from the screen to the streets. 

Why do you feel the video game licensing space growing?

The gaming industry is definitely starting to understand that people want to represent their brands in the real world – which is fantastic. Companies are realising that their games – old and new – have a vital role to play, adding an additional connection to the gaming community and bringing everyone closer together.

Are making any inroads to the ESports scene?

eSports is such a huge part of the gaming community now and we are definitely looking at how we can work together with representatives from this exciting side of the industry. Likewise, we’re always eager to collaborate with creators from across the community. Gaming is such a vital and vibrant industry, and it’s wonderful to see it blossoming.

This weekend Insert Coin will be kicking off convention season with an appearance at London’s MCM Comic Con Expo at the Excel Centre, where their flagship products will be on sale with exclusive discounts. Later in the year you can catch Insert Coin at EGX at the Birmingham NEC as well as other industry events.

Through talking with Long and looking at Insert Coin’s portfolio of products, its not hard to see why the brand has become so successful. While unnofficial gaming goods are come thick and fast, Insert Coin boasts a diverse range of products with strong licenses, but most importantly, creative and original designs. To the unitiated Insert Coin’s wares appear as stylish, street-smart clothing but for those within geek culture, there is a whole other layer of connection to be found.

Remember to stay tuned to Licensing.biz for more news and excluive interviews with the biggest names in video games licensing.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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