Avattire: Avatars Step Into the Dressing Room

Video and online gamers are familiar with avatars, the fantasy characters they use to represent themselves in online forums and games. A Santa Monica, Calif.­–based startup company wants to bring the avatar concept to fashion retail.

This summer Avattire Inc. updated its app, which is available on iTunes and Androids. Avattire users can create avatars and make wardrobes on smartphones and computers.

This online fashion play will have real-world uses. People can plan their personal wardrobes with this app. They also can design clothes, said John Botti, Avattire’s chief executive officer.

Currently the company describes its app as a 3-D mobile styling tool to create looks for women and men. As graphics technology for mobile phones improves, Avattire users will be able to build exact avatars of themselves. The leap in graphics technology is forecast by many to improve the e-commerce experience and shopping in general.

“We can’t completely replace the dressing room, but we can get pretty close,” Botti said.

Avattire formally started business in 2014 and currently has 100,000 users who reside all over the world. The company is currently seeking a second round of seed funding, Botti said.

It’s a “fashion inspiration” tool, said Anjulei A. Aurelio, president of Avattire. To see what they look like in a certain color or a fabric, people can upload a pattern or image to create a garment for the avatar. Currently the app offers an option where users can customize a T-shirt, jacket or leggings with their own designs. One of the most popular activities on the site is for users to design their own phone cases. To make products, Avattire sources American manufacturers, Botti said.

Eventually, Botti and Aurelio hope to partner with brands. In the future, the app will handle clothing sales from outside retailers and brands. Currently, the company states that it can help build 1 trillion looks, ranging from tank tops to evening gowns.

To start using Avattire, new users give the app their measurements to create an avatar. They also give their height, weight, dress size, shoe size, skin color and hair type. The app can customize body types into individual looks. Navigation tools on the site allow users to control the color of a cyber garment or hairstyle.

Users can invite their friends to share avatars and have discussions about different looks on a wide array of currently popular social media.

The company also hopes to find uses for the avatars on AI devices such as the voice-service assistants Amazon Echo and augmented-reality technology. Future uses might entail syncing physical wardrobes with a wardrobe on Avattire; it could possibly be used to track clothing in one’s residence.

Ryan Sit, founder of e-tailer aggregator Everystore, forecast that this will be a big deal for fashion.

“You can imagine in five to 10 years from now, everyone will have an avatar model of themselves. All fashion that you see online will be shown how it will look on you,” Sit said. “This is the area Everystore is focused on advancing now and in the coming years.” Sit also served on a partner network advisory board for etailer eBay until May of this year.

New technology is poised to improve the development of avatars. The release of the iPhoneX, scheduled to be released this month, will offer a 3-D depth-scanning feature. It will help create accurate 3-D renderings of one’s surroundings—rooms, roads and people.

Graphics technology has come a long way, Botti said. When he worked for video-game companies 15 years ago, he had to film boxers in high-tech studios in order to make avatars of the athletes for video games. Less than a generation later, people will be able to make avatars of themselves with their phones, he said.