Image by @GwynethJones
When Bitmoji, the personalized cartoon avatar, was released in 2014, it caught on quickly and spurred a lot of copycats like Facebook and Reddit. Three years after the company was acquired by Snapchat, the simple 2D Bitmoji became “World Lenses”. Instead of a flat image, your avatar can now exist in a 3D form. You can also make it dance, jump, skip any way you want in augmented reality. Yet, the fun is not over. Snapchat's latest Bitmoji launch may create another ripple in the fashion world.
3D avatar unleashes human creativity
Snapchat lenses’ virality comes from its fun and personalized 3D experience. Not only can you animate an avatar but also layer it on top of reality and perform different acts such as hanging on a swing, playing the guitar, or doing yoga. You can then make a clip and share it with friends across various social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Messenger, etc.
Image by Ian Hughes
Image by Mitchell Shilling
If you think this would only attract a very niche audience of tech-addictive teenagers, think again. As of today, a whopping 70% of Snapchat’s 280 million daily active users have Bitmoji avatars linked to their accounts. It seems everyone has a bit of craziness inside after all. Like Gasbee’s founder mentioned a few years ago in an interview with Verge, 3D avatars give “a little glimpse of the craziness that everyone has” and “unleash people’s personalities.”.
Yet, Snapchat’s ambition is far from over. Last July, the company re-launch its Bitmoji. In addition to having the personalized avatar only in augmented reality, users can now access them in their profile. According to TechRadar, the Bitmoji archive comprises over 1200 combinations of body poses, facial expressions, gestures, and backgrounds.
How to access these in your account?
The set-up comes in 3 simple steps:
First, you open the app and choose “Bitmoji Deluxe” in My Profile.
Next, click the Profile icon and scroll down to Bitmoji.
Choose “Create an Avatar” and follow the instructions.
Voila! You now have a 3D Bitmoji for your profile.
Image by @GwynethJones
It’s no easy feat to turn the huge 2D library of facial features, hairstyles, outfits they already have into 3D, but Ba Blackblock, Bitmoji CEO believes the uptaking was worth the effort. As he further explained to The Hollywood’s Reporter:
"It’s not just about having an avatar [where] you have a picture of yourself — that’s pretty easy. It’s more about what can you do with that avatar? What part does it play in your digital life?
Not everyone is comfortable putting photos or videos of themselves online. Bitmoji, in a way, I’ve always thought of as a kind of digital id. It really is this essential representation of not just what you look like, but your personality."
3D Bitmoji and digital fashion
Digital fashion refers to clothes that exist only on the screen. The process of designing, making, purchasing, and fitting clothes on persons is 100% online. By using 3D designer apps like Clo3D or Marvellous Designer, digital designers can make clothes that look so real you can actually feel the texture and materials of the fabric.
The most exciting part of digital fashion is its ability to break out of the physical box. Unlike physical clothes that are static, virtual garments can change their size, colors, and adapt to different settings such as photos, movies, video games, and apps. Their existence is not just limited to one picture or closet.
Read more: Cracking The Code Of Digital Fashion
Although many creative businesses have tried to bring digital fashion closer to the world, Snapchat’s latest launch may give it another boost.
As we already see in gaming, players invest in expensive skin games to give their characters a visual edge and status enhancement. When people spend more time in the metaverse, buying virtual clothes for their avatars may become a norm. This will be a great opportunity for digital fashion makers to get their products in front of the bustling community of 280 million innovative users.
But the potential doesn't stop at virtual garment trading. Snapchat's Custom Creation Tool might allow users to translate virtual items into real-life, buyable objects. For example, last June, in partnership with Pride Basics, Snapchatters can print their own flags and get shipped to the doorstep.
Here’s the sweet spot sustainable companies can fill in. Instead of making clothes from the on-set which uses up a lot of money, materials, and natural resources, companies can produce clothes only when a customer places an order.
The digital platform can become a testing ground for their new fashion ideas. If users find the outfits of their digital avatars cool enough, they may feel compelled to make a purchase, which brought the company a second stream of profit. The process can contribute to less waste and a more sustainable fashion.
A reality that seems too good to be true, but if realized may transform the entire fashion and e-commerce landscape. After all, technology can do a lot of good to us if we use them right.