Founded in 2016, We Are Nations are a global company with it’s focus solidly within esports merchandise. We sat down with Co-Founder, Patrick Mahoney and CEO, Alex Romer to discuss the origins of We Are Nations and their thoughts on the esports fashion subculture.
Before founding We Are Nations, Patrick and Alex’s backgrounds are within the music and sports industries respectively. Patrick has worked in the music industry for 30 years, working with bands on their merchandise and selling it to other retailers. “Five years ago, when we were looking for something else to expand into, we were introduced to esports... the first event I went to was ESL Cologne in 2016 and I was blown away by it. The first thing we noticed was it was the same audience of people that would show up to our Panic! At The Disco shows, but instead favoring males over females. We thought this was an interesting counterpoint to explore”
Alex has worked within branding and licensing within the sports sector: from the 2002 FIFA World Cup to Wimbledon and the 2012 London Olympics. “I had a consultancy for a decade, advising everyone from the ATP Tour [Tennis] to Formula 1 across licensing, merchandising and retailing...so my background stems from the sports side.”
When describing We Are Nations, Patrick explained: “What We Are Nations is is evolving.”
“The core idea has never changed, how can we come into a new field of entertainment?” The main focus for We Are Nations for Patrick and Alex was combining their expertise on the audiences they’ve previously worked within and merging that into the new esports sector they’ve introduced themselves to. From the original objective of providing general teamwear, the brand has since evolved into developing on-stage wear, fanwear and lifestyle “streetwear” as distinct collections.
“Esports has no traditional cultural borders, it truly is global.” (Alex)
When describing how the fashion industry has changed over time, Alex described, “Fast-fashion and the immediacy of fashion has come into play, so if you see something on Amazon, you can get it the same or next day. eCommerce and shopping from home has had a massive influence. Not only because of the immediacy of purchase, but it’s allowed more entrepreneurial brands to speak directly to their consumer.”
“I think fashion has changed because sourcing and printing garments locally means you don’t have a massive corporate supply chain...in fact, the smaller entrepreneurial businesses have out-done larger companies because they move quicker.”
Discussing the development of the esports fashion subculture, Alex sees esports as a young sector that is still finding its feet. “The consumers involved in esports and gaming have multiple interests across different media and take their cultural cues from different sources. We try and reflect that in what we do”
As founding members of Esports Fashion Week, Patrick and Alex respectively: “It is a testament to esports on becoming a global presence. Esports Fashion Week was something that I am glad has started and I am honoured to be a part of it from the very beginning.”
“The establishment of Esports Fashion Week will bring together many positive, yet different views and interests in regards to esports and it’s role within the fashion industry. Esports fashion has the potential to become one of the future leaders in the cultural stakes.”