Esports fashion with Emily Rand: Exploring the 'Frosk Fit'

Fashion became a focus for Indiana "Froskurinn" Black when she moved to Australia to work on the League of Legends Pro League English-language broadcast team in 2014. Provided by Riot Games

Hours before the League of Legends European Championship kicked off its 2020 competitive season, English-language caster Indiana "Froskurinn" Black posted a picture of her outfit to Twitter.

It was a smart combination of comfortable streetwear (a yellow hoodie and grey sneakers), a light grey open blazer with a low stance, and matching grey tapered pants that toed the line between joggers and dress pants.

"[We] want to have fun expressing themselves in fashion, makeup and style," Froskurinn said of the LEC broadcast. She later recalled a shoot for their opening LEC video where she brought her own wardrobe to the shoot.

"I think I put on some lipstick, a hat and my leather jacket, and coming around the corner Andrew "Vedius" Day exclaimed, 'Whoa, Frosk! You look completely different!' I responded, 'Yeah, I know, right? The power of fashion!' And it's that simple. You can completely change your mood, vibe, tone, anything with fashion."

Froskurinn, or Frosk as she's called in LEC chyrons, has not only made a name for herself because of her League of Legends insight but as one of the most fashionable casters in League of Legends. She's influenced and inspired myriad League of Legends fans, casters, content creators and journalists, by being unapologetically herself. Fashion is an outlet for Frosk alongside her casting style; they both put her personality on display.

"On broadcast, I try to exude power suit and mix traditional masculine cuts with feminine patterns and fabrics," Frosk said. Her LEC opening day outfit was an example of this, combining tailored basics with a pop of yellow from her hoodie. "I always try to play a balance between femme and butch and find it fun how anything I wear becomes 'edgy' due my visible tattoos, so there's always a game backstage where I try to push more and more extreme to femme or hyper-formal."

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Frosk has always had an interest and eye for design. She has done graphic design work and production graphics on multiple broadcasts, from the first startup English-language League of Legends Pro League cast in 2014 to the official Riot Games cast for the Chinese league. It wasn't until she moved to Australia to be a part of that official Riot LPL cast that she honed in on fashion as another way to express herself artistically.

"It was a byproduct of having access to a new me, essentially," she said. "I was at an age where I was still figuring out who I was and going on that life-changing adventure gave me the jumpstart to reimagine how I expressed every facet of myself, including fashion.

"It then went to the next obsession when I came to Berlin and met my current partner. She's a theater and costume designer and much more stylish than me."

Over the past few years, Berlin, the home of the LEC and its English-language broadcast, has become a burgeoning fashion capital driven by streetwear, sustainable eco-friendly fashion and cutting-edge fashion technology. Together with her partner, Frosk explored and delved more into fashion, which has led to a variety of looks on the LEC broadcast.

"I actually struggled a ton in my early esports career," Frosk said. "I looked f***ing awful. And people always post old photos of me at events wearing sparkling blazer, and it physically pains me. Because there were no other women around me coming up, I could only look around at the other guys and mimicked their fashion sense."

Frosk's evolution in fashion sense has coincided with her journey through esports. She describes them as parallel paths that weren't directly linked but ran alongside each other. Her fashion journey began with a desire to express her gender presentation and sexuality through fashion: Presenting herself as a more androgynous or masculine figure fell in line with established LGBQT+ presentation and helped her reflect on herself personally.

From there, she expanded her horizons by trying to bring her own flair to broadcast outfits.

"When you're sitting at a desk and everyone looks like a waiter in waistcoat and rolled sleeves, you think that's what you're supposed to be wearing," Frosk said. "I used to buy men's suits and have them tailored down to my body shape/size, but recently women's suits and androgynous styles have become popularized, and now it's extremely easy to find women's suits in more fashion-forward cuts, colors and fabrics.

"Esports is in such a unique position where we are a broadcast about video games. I think we sometimes try too hard to look like a newsroom or Monday night football and should lighten up. Push boundaries and break rules."

Frosk frequently posts "Frosk Fit" photos of her broadcast or everyday outfits to Twitter, where she also interacts with fans. This has led to lengthy Twitter threads of others in the League community posting their own outfits while chatting about how to style esports team merchandise and streetwear. Frosk encourages those people as well as other content creators, broadcast talent and journalists to reach out if they want to talk fashion, particularly other women in the esports space.

"There's a clear intersection between esports and streetwear, and I saw an opportunity to interact with that," Frosk said. "In my view, streetwear was the original cultural currency in the late 80s/early 90s. Esports falls along the lines of internet obsession just because of how it acts as the primary medium for our community, so we as a community are essentially plugged directly into pop culture in both mainstream and gaming."

She added that gamers need to be comfortable, which makes loungewear and athleisure obvious fashion choices out of necessity; gamers, be they pros or casual competitors, are seated for hours on end in front of a computer monitor.

"The cultural currency comes into play because our society has drastically changed how we create community with the extension of the internet and social media," Frosk said. "What once was a symbol of 'cool"'and 'exclusively' for underground cultures like hip-hop and skate/surf lifestyles is now widely accessible and gated by price and availability."

Frosk also spent years in Shanghai with the LPL broadcast, where esports teams may put out several clothing lines a year and fans are much more in-tune with fashion, trends and the general culture around streetwear as it has evolved to include gamers. She praised LPL teams and more specifically EDward Gaming for their multiple clothing lines and branding.

"The designs are just so much more thoughtful than what I see in the West," Frosk said. "You wouldn't know it was EDG merch unless you understood the culture of the team and the in-jokes, and I think that's where it's really the peak of performance."

Other teams that meet Frosk's expectations are 100 Thieves and Cloud9. She and her partner were both impressed with C9's recent spring line with Puma and praising them for seeking out women's opinions on that portion of their clothing line and ensuring that the options weren't simply a carbon copy of the men's line. Designing clothes for women, and generally being more inclusive, is Frosk's No. 1 piece of advice for organizations that want to design strong merchandise lines that will earn them loyal fans and customers.

"Gamers come in all shapes and sizes," she said. "Make clothing that makes all shapes and sizes feel f***ing cool. And use models of various sizes to show people what it'll look like on them. A lot of esports fans can struggle to find confidence to really push the boundaries on fashion, teams can make it easier by making it clearer by diversified models and examples.

"Less track suits, more staples. Hats. T-shirt. Hoodie. Those are the primary staples for brands and the biggest sellers. Make those staples neutral, and then have your jackets and joggers accent/push boundaries."