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Can’t afford designer clothes? Don’t worry, your Bitmoji can

You wonder how fashion designers keep up: fall, spring, resort, cruise, couture, pre-fall. All this while trying to navigate the shifting sands of the industry. Soon designers may be tasked with creating yet another collection — for Bitmoji. Some already are.

Last fall, the popular app, which allows users to create a personalised emoji avatar, introduced runway looks to its virtual closet. Labels whose clothes were made available free through partnerships with Bergdorf Goodman and W magazine included Michael Kors, Zac Posen, Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein and Diane von Furstenberg. Women can buy a wrap dress and outfit their pixilated selves in the same one.

It was great news for Bitmoji fans, who were long stuck with basic T-shirts and drab monochrome dresses. Now their avatar can step out (on a runway, even) in a furtrimmed parka paired with a miniskirt by Rodarte, even if they couldn't afford the ensemble in real life.

But what about the designers whose carefully crafted wares were reduced to silly cartoons on a phone screen? Tanya Taylor, a Canadian designer, said she had initial concerns about appearing too youthful or unserious. "We have broadened the audience that knows about the brand. It shows we're taking a risk and being playful." Designing for Bitmoji, however, was more complicated than she anticipated. She chose three past looks that exemplified her brand. Then she worked with Bitmoji's programmers to digitise the clothes, a process that took almost three months.

"It felt like we were going through actual fittings," Taylor said. "They would send a PDF, and we would draw on the little avatars: 'Shorten the hem.'"

However, there are fewer fashion options for men: flannels, hoodies, T-shirts, "black label" suits and, for the edgier guy, a Kenzo lion-print sweater in three available colors. Jacob Blackstock, the founder of Bitmoji, wants to expand the men's offerings, but the limited wardrobe suits some users just fine.Read more at:short formal dresses | formal dresses

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