Clarissa Cruz
April 04, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Who would have thought geeks would be into playing dress-up? Videogames, traditionally the province of nerdy types, have become the latest catwalk for beautiful characters dolled up in designer clothing and accessories that are also available in stores.

In EA’s Def Jam Fight for New York, players can dress their characters in designer Marc Ecko’s best-selling orange rhino-logo sweater. A Japanese design team created the edgy couture worn by the characters of Capcom Entertainment’s Resident Evil 4. And in an FFNY cameo, bauble-designer-to-the-stars Jacob the Jeweler guides players in selecting gems that are painstakingly re-created from his actual stock. ”As games become a mass-market medium, they have a similar effect on the public that movies do,” says RE4 producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi. ”Cool characters influence styles and fashion.” Not to mention give the style-challenged a chance to embrace fabulosity — if only on screen.

While the designer cameos were initially gratis in exchange for free publicity, videogame placements are becoming more formalized, involving lucrative contracts. ”Everybody is cha-ching, cha-ching,” says Ecko. (EA would not disclose how much it pays its designers.) Unlike his dabbling peers, however, Ecko created the concept, wrote the script, and designed the clothing for Atari’s upcoming Getting Up. ”I figure if Ralph Lauren can make paint,” he says, ”I can make a videogame.”

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