Proud to be working with FlyQuest as their designer, Phien Le tells us how the eco-friendly message inspires her designs.
FlyQuest is a team that’s out to make a difference and win some trophies on the way. The most eco-friendly team in the LCS, FlyQuest has carved a unique space for itself. The theme forms the focus of the team’s content as well as merch. We spoke to the team’s designer Phien Le days after they launched their brand new 2022 Spring Collection. Featuring hats, hoodies and some shirts, the new collection is also made of recycled items.
This coverage is powered by Women in Games International.
Q: What games do you play and which Esports titles do you follow?
Phien: I currently play VALORANT& Apex, but I follow NA LCS & VCT at this moment.
Q: What are some of your works that you are most proud of?
Phien: The FQ Women’s Flightwear line was definitely one of the projects that I am very proud of. We were able to provide more options for women so that they can have a choice on how they want to express themselves.
It was definitely a long process since we wanted to make sure it was comfortable, that the quality of the garment was good, and that it was flattering and inclusive for all body types.
"The FQ Women’s Flightwear line was definitely one of the projects that I am very proud of. We were able to provide more options for women so that they can have a choice on how they want to express themselves."
This was made for women by women. Not only were we trying to empower women in esports, we wanted to do more by donating 50% of all net profits to support Women for Women International, and we ended up donating $5,000 to the non-profit org.
Another project I would have to say that I am really proud of would be FlyQuest's 2020 World’s jersey. It was definitely difficult at first because not only did I learn a new art technique during that time, but I had to combine a bunch of elements into one design without making it look chaotic.
In the end it turned out amazing and I was really grateful for the opportunity to design a World’s jersey. I am honestly still in shock at how the world got to see my jersey design. To this day, people still mention it in threads or comments.
Q: Can you give us a glimpse into your approach towards the design process?
Phien: The first step in my design process is working with the marketing team to figure out what quest or initiative is the main focus. I spend time researching and looking for inspiration, I’ll make mood boards to start and build out different concepts from there.
Most of our quests and concepts revolve around nature so I like to spend time in gardens and in nature to find more inspiration. From there I’ll start sketching and mocking out a few different designs for each concept that I present to the team. We work together to pick which concept we wish to move forward with and create several designs until it’s approved by the team and partners.
Q: Coming to the Spring Collection, who and which things were your inspiration with the Spring Collection?
Phien: I took a lot of inspiration for the Spring collection from our 2022 Go Green initiative TreeQuest and Tricia’s love and appreciation for nature. Spring makes me think of cherry blossoms and different Japanese aesthetics– like origami sheets, patterns and Japanese gardens. I then take these elements and add my own twist and style to them.
Q: How do you feel working with FlyQuest, (a team that is so focused on its eco-friendly message?)
Phien: I am proud and honored to be working with FlyQuest, especially since one of my roles is to help spread awareness of important topics that we are dealing with in society through design. I am glad that our team focuses on being more than just an esports team by trying to make an impact on the world one step at a time. This includes donating money to different charities and switching all of our merch to eco-friendly products.
FlyQuest Phien: "My favorite part about designing in esports is the fact that we are able to do so much with design compared to other industries."
Q: How does staying within FlyQuest’s eco-friendly message, and the use of recycled materials affect your design process?
Phien: Our eco-friendly message inspires my designs! While it does not affect my design process too much, there will be cases where we are limited to specific garments. I look forward to more options in the future as the fashion industry continues to slowly transition to more of an eco-friendly process overall.
Q: What, according to you, is your favorite part about designing in (specific to) esports?
Phien: My favorite part about designing in esports is the fact that we are able to do so much with design compared to other industries. Of course there are rules and limitations to some degree, such as our jerseys, but everything else we can branch out and have fun with.
I love seeing how each team showcases their creativity and breaks out different trends throughout the years. As a designer for FlyQuest, I also try to break those barriers, especially the idea of what an esports design should look like.
Q: How much do you have to factor in the community reaction while designing? Do you have any examples of how the potential of a reaction affected your design process?
Phien: Not only does the community reaction motivate me to design more, but it does factor a lot in what I design in my upcoming projects. Since I am designing for the community, I want to take their thoughts and feedback into consideration.
Luckily, feedback has been mostly positive, but if someone wishes for a specific garment or design, I definitely note that for the future. For example, I had a few fans who mentioned that they were allergic to polyester so in our future collections we added options without polyester. Without the community, I wouldn’t be where I am today, so I am super grateful for their support and their feedback.
"I think many teams, including FlyQuest, are trying to break the barrier that you can only wear esports apparel during events or when their team is playing, so changing up the style will diversify our collections and opportunities for fans to show support"
Q: In esports, there are a few teams that tend to focus a bit more on lifestyle designs, but most teams stick to ‘esports jerseys’ as their entire merchandise. Is branching out to lifestyle designs the only way a team can find success in esports merchandising?
Phien: I think branching out to lifestyle isn’t the only way for a team to find success in esports merchandising, but it creates more options for the community to show support for their favorite teams and reach a wider audience. I think many teams, including FlyQuest, are trying to break the barrier that you can only wear esports apparel during events or when their team is playing, so changing up the style will diversify our collections and opportunities for fans to show support
Q: Now I want to go the other way and ask you, is there any reason for teams to NOT branch out to lifestyle designs?
Phien: I personally think there are no cons to branching out to lifestyle designs unless it does not fit within their style or brand guidelines. But other than that, I feel like adding lifestyle designs to your merch will overall benefit them since everyone has different tastes and it caters to different audiences.
Q: Besides FlyQuest (of course), which are the top five esports merchandise designs in your opinion?
Phien: This is definitely a tough question because I feel like every esports team has their own style and uniqueness to their merch designs. If I had to choose five that stood out to me, in no particular order, I would have to say 100 Thieves, Team Liquid, C9, Sentinels, and Space Gaming. I love how they take into consideration every aspect of their apparel and design. Also, I appreciate the variation of designs that cater to different audiences.