I found them one night, deep down a TikTok rabbit hole. A collection of videos edited in the same style as the “fit” clips where influencers show off their hottest fashions set to the latest viral song – except these videos took place entirely in GTA Online.
The main account responsible, @gtabxddie (opens in new tab), has millions of views on videos like a kitted-out character doing a TikTok dance while a fighter jet soars overhead in slow motion or tutorials on how to get their top-tier fits for your own GTA Online character – typically by way of glitching. Commenters beg for more fit details, or pick their favorite look out of a collage, throwing out words like “base” and “tryhard”.
Not long after I like a few of these videos, the TikTok algorithm starts throwing some Red Dead Online clips (opens in new tab) into my feed. Just like the GTA online videos, these feature a Red Dead Online character walking or emoting in a variety of outfits, with tips on how to get the outfits yourselves. Most of them seem to be obtained in ways that won’t make Rockstar cringe (i.e. without glitching) and focus on either historical accuracy or bold color schemes.
These are the worlds of the GTA Online and Red Dead Online fashion underground and its inhabitants. TikTok and YouTube tutorials garner millions of views, Discord groups discuss the efficacy of suspenders, and subreddits lament the lack of new content. I reached out to people in both communities to learn more about how players are expressing themselves through their fits – and what lengths they’ll go in order to do so.
In Red Dead Online, players can spot a purported ‘tryhard’ (or ‘griefer’) a mile away – and they’ll do their best to avoid them. Tryhards often wear historically inaccurate outfits that are either all-black or all-white, and it’s these players that some find are more likely to randomly start a fight. “Players that initiate a lot of PVP violence tend to dress in all black with dark coats, big hats, bandoliers across their chest, and bandanas over their face at all times – or, they may try and dress more similarly to their GTA characters,” a Red Dead player known as JP tells me via Discord.
The frontiers of Red Dead Online aren’t filled with players looking historically out of place, however. There are subcultures in this Wild West, wearing their identities on their chests. Some players seek to look like a historically accurate NPC (and create roleplay identities around those characters), others try to recreate Arthur Morgan’s specific outfit, while fans of old Westerns look to Hollywood’s gunslingers for inspiration.
In the Red Dead Online fashion discussion Discord, players post pictures of John Wayne in films like Rio Grande or The Alamo next to their attempts to recreate his looks in-game. They offer each other advice on how to get an outfit just right, pointing to store items that could help complete the look. They reference Man vs. History, a YouTube channel that shows players how to create historically accurate soldiers, Mexican vaqueros, and outlaws. These time-accurate cosplayers are the bread and butter of Red Dead Online. They hold fashion competitions, help each other with outfit recreations, and lament the lack of new content from Rockstar.
The Discord group is quick to scoff when I ask about tryhards, with one person dropping an image in the chat that’s a collage of characters wearing full-face coverings, beanie-style hats, and all-black outfits with the word “TRYHARD” emblazoned over it. “Clint Eastwood didn’t wear three metric tons of leather in thirty-degree [Celsius] heat,” writes a Discord user who goes by JGL. He’s not wrong there.
The baddies of GTA Online
Kat Avocado (opens in new tab) is a GTA Online content creator with over 11,000 subscribers on YouTube. Her videos showing players how to create hyper-feminine, baddie-style outfits that look like they belong on a Savage X Fenty runway have hundreds of thousands of views. Kat’s characters don nipple pasties and corsets juxtaposed against gun belts and tac vests in a bold display of feminine badassery. “A character in a multiplayer online game running up to you and shooting you down with an assault rifle while wearing a garter belt and bustier is an aesthetic I’m here for,” laughs Avocado.
That aesthetic reminds me of the aforementioned gtabaddie’s looks – ‘baddie’ outfits that say, “I’m feminine, but don’t fuck with me”. Tattoos, tight clothes, and tactical gear make for looks Rihanna would be proud of – but that aesthetic isn’t every GTA Online player’s vibe. There are tons of different identities unique to GTA expressed through clothing, an unspoken language of cloth that the casual player or outsider would never understand.
“There’s sub-communities within the GTA Online community. Kind of like cliques in a school,” says Avocado. “There’s the casual players who wear ‘out of the store’ outfits, usually thrown together with whatever they think looks good. Then you have MC groups – the leather vest, patched people who go for biker-chic vibes. Next you have tryhards – there are tiers to tryhards in GTA Online fashion. You can be an ‘out of the store’ tryhard – mostly black clothes, mouth rebreathers, and skate shoes. From there you graduate to matching tryhards – color-coordinated ones who have Power Ranger looking, Tron-esque tops, matching joggers, and helmets.” This is just a snippet of the various levels and groups within GTA Online, but Avocado insists your style “really does correlate to who you are as a player.”
Kat Avocado isn’t the only creator showing GTA Online players how to get the best fits. The /r/GTAoutfits (opens in new tab) subreddit is full of players asking for help with all-black fits, riot police outfits, and ’80s rocker looks. Since GTA Online lacks the historical grounding of Red Dead Online, fashions are much more varied and out-there, with players drawing inspiration from Stranger Things, The Mandalorian, and much more. It’s unclear what clique those players fall into, but it’s most certainly not Kat’s.
There may be fashion cliques in GTA Online, just like there are in Red Dead, but one thing remains constant across them: a burning desire to express oneself through virtual clothing.
The general consensus across both the GTA Online and Red Dead Online fashion communities is that Rockstar isn’t adding enough new clothing items to either game. “There are so many things people wish for, like different holster positions, actual straight gunbelts instead of the sagging ones we have right now, being able to have an open or closed vest, more neckwear options,” Red Dead Online Discord user Jtl500 tells me. “There’s a whole list of hopes and wants players have for fashion ever since Online came out – more realistic and grounded stuff.”
That’s why the most sought-after GTA Online and Red Dead Online looks are often the results of exploits. For example, a glitch for a specific Naturalist garment lets players just wear the hood of an animal pelt, resulting in some cool (and terrifying looks). “The most recent new one just got patched – you could glitch out and save this cool Ned Kelly armor from a specific story mission,” laments Jtl500.
On the GTA side of things, many players rely on time-consuming glitches to make most (if not all) of their outfits. “You have to have a certain level of patience. Things can go wrong easily,” says Avocado, who tells me about two main methods of glitching clothes in GTA Online. The first is a “very destructive” glitch called the Component Transfer Glitch, which requires you to delete your secondary GTA Online character and lose previously saved outfits on your primary character. The second is the Savewizard/Save Editor method that only works on a PC. It requires two third-party software downloads, as well, so you can see how this process starts to eat away at your playtime. But for players like Avocado, this method is worth it: “It essentially allows you to select clothing components from dropdown menus so you’re able to build outfits with components that we typically can’t put together in-game.”
I ask her if Rockstar has added enough fashion content in GTA Online. She responds: “The fashion content that has come out recently is now attached to extreme grinding-retrieval methods…It puts barricades on potential outfit creations and makes the process of GTA fashions more of a struggle. I understand the point of view, gameplay-wise. Logging time into a game is their goal, but the quality of life overall of GTA Online has declined.” Despite this, she says that a large population of GTA Online players stick around because of their “interest in creating and finding new ways to put fashions together.” And as I chat with the denizens of Red Dead Online’s fashion police, it’s clear that they feel the same way.
While Red Dead Online and GTA Online have both attracted strong role-playing communities, the players I spoke to believe that the fashion front is severely lacking. Rockstar isn’t making updated clothing a priority, leading to communities going to extreme lengths to properly define their characters. While that may be for good reason (Rockstar is still populating each of these games with regular free content drops to expand the experiences elsewhere), it frustrates those who view clothing in these online worlds as a means of virtual representation. So while Rockstar shows no signs of changing its approach to costuming, the fashion-forward players of Red Dead Online and GTA Online are refusing to quit. They are plugging away on Discords, TikToks, and YouTube videos every day, showing us new ways to look badass, historically accurate, or base.
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