It wasn’t long before Ng started spending the money on booster boxes of Magic cards that Braindead fans spend on his clothes. It happened quickly and, according to Ng, extremely naturally. It turns out that people who play magic are the kind of people he loves. “Magic is a consumer product, but there is one thing about games and games that is really interesting – there is a sense of community that comes from actually playing together.”
It’s the kind of community that Ng says couldn’t have come from collecting sneakers, which feels far nerdy to him than gambling. Even though he has a brand that sells sneakers, he doesn’t like the hypebeast culture in the industry. “People meet over sneakers and whatever, but it’s just like you’re standing around shopping and then just waiting for the next time you shop. That’s just not my mood. “More his mood: a collection of t-shirts, pants, tote bags, hats and a bespoke suit with art and typography from Magic history.
Most of the clothing adjacent to games don’t actually speak to Ng’s new community. The search for clothing for gamers leads you into an abyss of unbranded t-shirts with raised eyebrow text and boring logos that are harmless at best and often worse. The next brand to drop a must-have esports collaboration will be the first.
This has happened to Magic: The Gathering before. In September, the game with K-Swiss released a limited edition sneaker with a rarely used logo of one of the game’s most powerful characters, Jace Beleren. The shoe has an uncomfortable shape, a sickly blue, and for some reason glows in the dark. But apart from its rough appearance, it hardly feels associated with magic. Bad cooperation, explains Ng, “does not exist in connection with clothing, but in connection with goods”.
Braindeads Magic: The Gathering Capsule Collection is set to change all that. Most of the collection consists of short- and long-sleeved T-shirts, as well as a zipped jacket adorned with a lightning-fast dragon, a full suit printed with cards, a few hats and a few tote bags. All of the art in the collection comes from Magic cards themselves, but not from the way tournaments are played. These are the cards you would find in your local game store’s collection bin. These cards are basically worthless, but you may have loved it the first time you opened a booster pack. The art is next played intact Magic: The Gathering typography and its trademark “Mana” symbols. And as Ng followers will expect, there are a couple of new twists in the Braindead logo, including a head holding a handle of playing cards.
Perhaps this is Braindead’s trademark: clothing that embraces their community. Ng has done it before: climbing gear made by The North Face for people who actually climb. Movie merch made with A24 for people who really love movies. And now, yes, playing clothes for people who play proudly.