Magazine SO-EN, may 2023 issue: Interview VOL.1 “What does an avatar designer do?”

※This article is machine translated.

This article was originally published “SO-EN, may 2023 issue” and is reprinted with permission.
photographs : Jun Tsuchiya (B.P.B.)
hair & makeup : Kanna Hidaka

Thinking with Cocone

How to become a fashion designer working in the virtual space?

Magazine SO-EN, may 2023 issue: Interview VOL.1 "What does an avatar designer do?"

We spoke to…
Ms.M.M. Design Team Leader of “Pokecolo Twin”
Ms.N.U. Creative Director of “Pokecolo Twin”

What does an avatar designer do?

Today, attention to “avatar” spending time in virtual spaces is growing much more intense. In this context, the work surrounding avatars is being hotly regarded as a profession for the new era. Together with Cocone, famous for his Pokecolo series, we have started a new series of articles to learn about the work of avatar designers! In this memorable first installment, we will introduce the basics of avatars and the work of avatar designers.

Please tell us again about your “avatar”!

so-en: Recently, more and more people have avatars. What role do avatars play in the first place?
N.U.: Until recently, the main purpose of avatars was to project the person you wanted to be into an avatar and express yourself in a way that was difficult to achieve in reality, but recently their role has been expanding. An avatar is a business card of one’s “likes,” so to speak!

so-en: Like a tool for self-expression?
N.U.: Yes. For example, “Pokecolo Twin” allows you to have multiple avatars, so you can express your favorite relationships and their fashions, such as buddies and twins. You don’t necessarily have to project yourself into the avatar, but you can move the two characters you have created and look at them. Of course, some people create an avatar and someone else as their alter ego, or recreate their favorite relationship in the real world, such as parent-child or sibling. Avatars have become an extension tool to realize “likes” by embodying tastes, personalities, and abilities.
M.M.: Some of you enjoy storytelling as an extension of playing with dolls when you were little, while others are creative in how they coordinate fashion and interior design in a wonderful way.

so-en: Cute 2.5-headed avatars “Pokecolo” “Pokecolo Twin” are certainly imaginative.
N.U.: The functional beauty of a moving avatar is its 2.5 head height, which allows it to wear not only realistic trends but also clothes that are far from them in a more natural way. For example, they can hold a stuffed animal, wear sweets and flowers, and other fashionable outfits that would be difficult to pull off in real life.
M.M.: Cocone’s avatar designers use real-life clothing as a reference when creating their designs, and the ability to “deform” a 2.5 head avatar is a real testament to their skill.
N.U.: We create the items, but it is our customers who actually create the free style. We believe that the main attraction of our company is that anyone can become a stylist and try their hand at a wide range of fashion genres.
M.M.: It is easier to let one’s individuality explode than in real-life coordination, and it is also interesting that it is easy to expand the circle of people who share the same interests. You can enjoy it alone, but once you have a favorite coordinate, you want to show it to someone.

so-en: It is possible to have intense communication mediated by “likes”, isn’t it?

N.U.: There are various communities in the “Pokecolo” “Pokecolo Twin” space. Not only to share “likes” with each other, but also to share and encourage each other through the hardships we face in our daily lives. We would be happy if you could use this space not only for fashion, but also as a tool to take small steps forward in your daily life.

What are you designing and how?

– The Pokecolo series is attractive for its highly themed “Gacha” include fashion items, hair & makeup, and even interior design. How do you design them?

N.U.: First, the creative director (hereinafter referred to as “CD”) will give you a subject, such as “an elegant theme using flowers ” The art director (hereinafter referred to as “AD”) will then set a more specific theme. For example, the AD decides, “Since flowers are elegant, we will use a Japanese theme with lilies as the main flower, ” etc. The AD also decides on the item lineup, delving into the worldview, including what kind of storyline, setting, and direction each gacha will include.
M.M.: The CD checks that the worldview has no overlap with other themes or the past, and once cleared, the AD finally assigns each designer the task of designing an item. 2 or 3 teams are in charge of one gacha, and the team composition changes for each gacha.
N.U.:The avatar designers at Cocone design the clothes based on the situation. The avatar’s movement is also part of the design, as are the effects and facial impressions such as eyes and mouth.
M.M.: Sometimes the assignment is determined by the designer’s personality and areas of expertise, so if the designer has a favorite field of fashion or personality that I like, I enjoy working more when it comes to the relevant theme.
N.U.: At the same time, it is a job where people who have a curiosity about fashion in general, who like working with their hands in itself, and who want to learn about many different things can make it big. I studied evolutionary ecology, so I didn’t actually come from the fashion field at all. I continue to work at Cocone because I enjoy learning about new fashions and changing my values through my work at Cocone.
M.M.: I, too, had a chance to start designing when I became a working adult. I am now a team leader, but when I was a designer, I enjoyed thinking of things that others did not make and how to design items such as kimonos and umbrellas that were restricted by the avatar structure.
N.U.: It’s OK if you don’t understand the structure 100% at first, but we are all experimenting daily to draw something better.

How to become an avatar designer working at Cocone

– We now know what avatar designers do for a living! What qualities do you think are necessary to work at Cocone?
M.M.: To be able to understand “cute “! Now it would be nice to be able to capture the clothes in three dimensions. You need to be aware of the naturalness and cuteness of movement and poses.
N.U.: I think that interest and concern for fashion is more important than drawing ability. People who like to see how people dress and analyze their outfits will easily grow after joining the company. People who like interior and landscape paintings show their talent in creating “Cocolium” (*the space where Cocolon, the avatar of Pokecolo Twin, lives).
M.M.: Material lovers and people who are good at collage are also good.
N.U.: Those who have experienced that the clothes they want are not sold in the world are also suitable for avatar designers. I wish there were clothes like this that actually don’t sell or can’t be worn! We are waiting for all the readers of “SO-EN” who have thoughts like I wish there were clothes like this that actually can’t be sold or worn” at Cocone (laughs).
M.M.: What is important is to be able to take in new and interesting fashions, and to create new genres and world views on your own!

Three articles for avatar designers

1.Ability to arrange what you think is cute
2.Absorptive power
3.Antenna power and curiosity

SO-EN, May 2023 issue


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