Magazine SO-EN, September 2023 issue: Interview VOL.3 Avatar Designer’s ON & OFF

※This article is machine translated.

This article was originally published “SO-EN, September 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, September 2023 issue: Interview VOL.3 Avatar Designer's ON & OFF

VOL.3 Avatar Designer’s ON & OFF

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. In this series of articles, we will learn about the work of avatar designers together with Cocone, famous for his Pokecolo series. In this third installment, we will talk about the two creators of ” Pokecolo,” known as the famous duo.

Emi Hirose

Joined Cocone in 2014.
Creative director of “Pokecolo”.

An unshakable axis of design and trust among colleagues are important.

In order to produce items that customers can enjoy, I make a conscious effort to provide input even when I am off the job. Every day I think about how I can incorporate the scents and breezes I sense with my five senses into my items. That is why I try to relax on my off-days. Eating delicious food, going to the places I want to go, relaxing, seeing what I want to see, and being healed by my guesses – in order to devote all my energy to my work and enjoy it, I cherish this time to myself.

However, when I joined the company, I was just gung-ho. In order to get the job I wanted, I desperately searched for my strengths and appealed to them. I got the job I wanted by using illustrator as a design tool in my previous job, by emphasizing my work speed and the eye-guiding design that only an experienced graphic designer can provide, and by being willing to do anything that others were not willing to do.

I often create colonies (the planet where the avatars of Pokecolo live), and I think about what customers are attracted to first, and it is important that it is the first thing that catches their attention. Thankfully, many hits have been created with the themes I created while searching for the right one. This was largely due to the fact that we had a clear fundamental idea ” we wanted to show,” and at the same time, we had a lot of trust in our colleagues. I can do my best because I feel the trust that they will make it absolutely wonderful.

Representative work: ” Alice and Wonderlands Key”
August 2019 release. Items art-directed by Hirose became very popular. The theme, which will be part 2, has also been announced.

[OFF] Off time to enhance

On her off-days, she enjoys visiting exhibitions and performances to get in touch with both new and old cultures. She also puts a lot of effort into enriching her home, and is currently working on “” beautification project! Filling the interior and accessories with her favorite things is also an inspiration.

Left: The special exhibition ” Taisho Romanticism x Hyakudan Staircase ” held at Meguro Gajoen was an inspiring fusion of old and new culture.
Right: Afternoon tea is homemade and enjoyed at home. The tableware was also carefully selected.

Chiharu Sato

Joined Cocone in 2012.
Creative director of “Pokecolo”.

How to think about experimental creation and how to spend your time off the clock

I had always drawn original illustrations and fan art as a hobby. So I entered a technical school for illustration, and after graduation I worked for another company before joining Cocone. I was in charge of fashion at Pokecolo when I first joined the company. I had loved clothes since I was a child, so I thought, ‘This is the best job I’ve ever had! I thought. As my career progressed, I realized that I needed to have knowledge of realistic fashion as well as illustration. No matter how fantastical the avatar’s clothes are, they are based on real clothes, and it is important to make sure that the materials are matched so that there is no sense of discrepancy. Also, there are some areas of expertise among the creators of Pokecolo. While Ms.Hirose specializes in orthodox and beautiful things, my specialty is in themes and designs that fill in the gaps.

Perhaps there is a large experimental aspect in trying to put into practice a hypothesis that you think ” ” might be interesting.” I think this is an experimental aspect of my work. For this reason, I usually take notes on things that interest me and apply them to ideas. It is a lot of fun when it works out. It is natural that customers enjoy my work, but it is also important that I enjoy my creations. That is why I consider the corporate culture at Cocone, where creators’ suggestions are not denied, to be a positive thing. If you are motivated, you can keep improving at Cocone. It is also a company where people who are good at sharing with their colleagues and who are honest can be successful.

On my off days, I dare not think about anything. On my days off, I go out for a bike ride, take a walk, or get in touch with nature. …… By relaxing during these off hours, I am able to continue working at Cocone, where there is a high level of creative awareness.

Representative work ” Parallel Worlds Prouvgia”
Released May 2018. Ms. Sato was in charge of art direction. At the time, monochrome was introduced in a world dominated by pastel colors.

[OFF] Off time to enhance

Having grown up in nature as a child, Ms.Sato says that touching plants and trees on her off days is her greatest source of healing. She also likes to take walks in unfamiliar towns, and enjoys photographing flowers and landscapes with a camera she bought to take pictures of her cat.

Left: Emme, a beloved family cat. She is also a source of inspiration for my creations.
Right: Going out on a bike ride on a holiday is a refreshing way to empty your head.

[ON] This is how Pokecolo is born! Sneaking into the imaginary planning meeting between Ms. Hirose and Ms. Sato

“Subject: A month full of cats.”

Hirose: We will come up with a plan to make September “A month full of cats” .

Sato: I want to put out three projects! At the beginning of the month, I want to put out a catchy cat that you all like to get things going.

Hirose: Shall we look at past examples of Pokecolo? Also, I would like to cover beautiful cats with ” gacha ” in the middle of the month.

Sato: Yes. What should we do with the other one? If we come to “cute, catchy,” and “beautiful, ” what about the last one, ……?

Hirose: I hope we can create a cat theme that will be interesting and fun, something that has never been done before.

Sato: This is the third cat that I still want! Shall we start with the first catchy cat of the month?

Hirose: I want to keep a cat-like silhouette. I would rather have a short-haired cat than a long-haired one, and I want to make the most of the cat’s cute form.

Sato: It is a deformed, illustrative cat.

Hirose: Cats have appeared in many poke-colors in the past, but what kind of motifs should we combine with them to make them catchy and new? How about natural objects?

Sato: The release is set for September. September is not summer anymore, although the weather is not yet autumn. September’s flowers are …… (search) Oh, cosmos.

Hirose: “Cosmos Cat” is a good one!

Sato: Then for the first of the month, we decided on “Cosmos Cat”, a fantasy theme of an anthropomorphic cat! Shall we also anthropomorphize the cosmos and make it a story of their meeting? Next is the ” frame. I’ve come up with a few ideas. First, ” Space Care Cat Room”. Then we have “Ghost cat who gives me rice with “” and “Cat applique that Mom bought for me”. And “Liquid cats of ” flavors”.

Hirose: Oh. Certainly, cats are liquid, aren’t they?

Sato: Yes. Then there’s “Cooking Cats from the Pot,” and finally, “Cats of All Occupations.”

Hirose: I think “liquid cat ” would be absolutely adorable in a variety of flavors.

Sato: Strawberry-flavored cat, milk-flavored cat, and green tea cat.

Hirose: If it is liquid, it would be good to add movement and have the cat come out of the cup.

Sato: Actually, “the universe of Cat ” was also inspired by fruit punch soda. There are cats of various flavors in soda water, and that is the universe.

Nice! This might be a waste of just one. Why not make “Cosmos Cat” the beautiful one and bring “Fruit Punch Space Cat” to the catchy one for the first of the month? Still another thing, I’m trying to think of a different approach for the “interesting frame. I’m curious about “Cats of All Occupations.”

Sato: Hotelier cat, courier cat, guard cat, police cat. If you put ears on the hats, you can make very catchy items!

Hirose: Then a profession that can be easily recognized by its uniform would be good. Let’s put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and think about it once.

Sato: Either the cat is cute and you want that item, or you want to become a cat yourself?

Hirose: I would like to love the cat’s loveliness, which is born from a cross between a cat and its occupation.

Sato: I understand! Cats are very fickle and don’t want to work. So cats who slack off or work poorly are gathered together as “occupational cats.”

Hirose: Wow, that is absolutely adorable! Like how the courier’s cats are already in cardboard boxes so they can’t do their job. If you have or like cats, you will enjoy this as a “cat thing” as well.

Sato: Let’s consider the lineup!

Hirose: I’m not sure I want a “home delivery guy big brother cat” kind of girl because I am so eager to get my cardboard out.

Sato: Holding cardboard cuddle dress. …….

Hirose: with cat! I definitely want that!

Sato: I think it would be good. Also, it would be nice if we could use the “ears” popular in Pokecolo as an advantage.

Hirose: I think the hat you mentioned earlier is cute. I have an image of the deliveryman’s brother wearing a hat, so I would like to make use of that as well.

Sato: Then this time, we’ll go with “all in hats and hair color reflecting ears”. Police cats, courier cats, and the rest?

Hirose: Cock cat! I’ll eat it and I can’t make it.

Sato: That sounds good. I would also like to include clothes that are easy to use since uniforms are not so easy to change.

Hirose: Waitress cat.

Sato: It is a one-piece frame.

Hirose: Let’s also make a headdress with a maid-like outfit! I was wondering if I could include both cute girl kitten eyes and good looking eyes in the lineup with SR. I would also like to have some accessories.

Sato: Yes. I also want to make my hands, tail, and feet meow! Yes, I think I have done it all at once.

Summary of this month

The “novelty” of Pokecolo is born from the spirit of not denying anything and being amused by everything!

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