This Beanie’s For You: CLOAK, Parasociality, and the Search for Belonging
This is CLOAK. This is our clothing brand. But more importantly, this is your clothing brand. — McLoughlin and Fischbach, CLOAK Mission Story
When Mark “Markiplier” Fischbach and Sean “Jacksepticeye” McLoughlin, two of the most prominent gaming YouTubers in the world at 22 and 20 million subscribers respectively, launched their CLOAK brand of athleisure wear for gamers, an interesting reaction sparked up from the ashes of its release. Selling the product line to the public as a long term dream of theirs, and the high-end brand was immediately snapped up, selling out of its pre-order run within a half a week. But its basic designs, dubious quality and bizarre “It’s for you but not for you” parasocial marketing mission has caused as much skepticism as it has success. Taking a deep dive into CLOAK and what it offers pre-launch, one meets the cults of personality around both men and sees what it is to milk YouTube in an age where sincerity creates cash. (more…)
Lisa Fernandes is a middle-aged writer with a nose for what’s happening in the media, from nerd culture to the mainstream. Formerly of Firefox.org and NextProjection’s TV Department, she’s also on staff as a reviewer at All About Romance. Inquiries for work may be set to missmelbouvier (at) gmail (dot) com.