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Brief Published: 16 Jan 2019

Retail’s Avatar Opportunity: Fashion for Virtual Alter Egos

(clockwise) Gucci X Genies; Carlings and Yoox

The increasing popularity of reality-bending, computer-generated influencers is extending beyond social media, with consumers hungry to have their own personal avatars. Savvy brands are warming to the outlook with tech for dressing their virtual alter egos, including digital fashion items they can buy. We highlight three early-stage ideas with major potential.

  • Gucci: The fashion powerhouse offers a digital version of its collection on Silicon Valley avatar-creation and messaging app Genies. Supporting avatar-to-avatar communication within its app, Genies invites users to create digital clones of themselves, choosing from one million customisation options including personality types, eye and hair colour, and skin tone. Available since late 2018, users can outfit their avatars with 200 Gucci pieces. In future, they’ll be able to purchase items (both digital and real) seen on their friends’ avatars through the app in one click.
  • Carlings: Countering fashion’s eco-unfriendly reputation, in December 2018, Norwegian brand Carlings launched a digital-only streetwear collection. To wear and digitally own the items, consumers upload an image of themselves and pay between €10-30 ($12-35), depending on the style. 3D-motion designers digitally add the garments to consumers’ images, which are then shareable on social media. Profits are donated to charity WaterAid. Concepts that replace physical products (and their associated environmental cost) with digital equivalents offer an increasingly important slant on championing sustainability.
  • Yoox: When Italian luxury e-tailer Yoox relaunched its app in December 2018, it introduced Yoox Mirror – a virtual fitting room including  a digital avatar called Daisy, which can be fully customised (height, weight, body shape and skin tone) to resemble consumers. The images can then be saved to a wish list – upgrading standard lists. Alternatively, users can upload a picture to receive an avatar that looks just like them. See also Gap x Tango: AR Dressing Room.

For more on the importance of feeding consumers’ personal brands, see Teen Destinations. For more on retailing products for avatars, see Beauty’s Digital Illusionists.