Ralph Lauren and Snap in first-of-its-kind Bitmoji partnership

Ralph Lauren has announced a unique partnership that enables people to acquire branded apparel for use on social media platform Snap’s personalised emoji service, Bitmoji.

In a significant move for the long-term prospects of the digital fashion evolution, the multi-year collaboration will enable Snapchat users to shop for their virtual avatar in a Ralph Lauren-branded store, all within the Snapchat ecosystem.

Such a move will allow people to dress their character – or their virtual self – in Ralph Lauren attire, and combine it with other non-branded garments.

The digital fashion encompasses six items each for men and women, and is treated in-house as an extension of the physical fashion collection. The move is designed to help Ralph Lauren appeal to a younger demographic, and those dressing their avatars in this manner can showcase their new look in functions such as Snapchat’s Chat,  Snap Map, Bitmoji Stories, and in other digital games.

Alice Delahunt, Ralph Lauren’s chief digital officer, said: “With Ralph Lauren’s respected reputation as a global leader within the luxury fashion space and Snap’s undeniable creative prowess and expansive reach to a younger consumer, we feel inspired to explore disruptive ways to tell our brand’s story, drive social commerce and engage with a new generation in an authentic and empowering way.”

Over the next six months, every polo shirt within the Bitmoji closet will come with the Ralph Lauren polo player logo, in a move that will drive greater awareness of the long-running preppy brand.

Selby Drummond, Snap’s head of fashion & beauty, added: “This partnership is an expansive and holistic venture to bring the Ralph Lauren brand into the digital world.

“Bitmoji is the world’s most personal avatar, and with a new virtual wardrobe experience, it’s possible to feel even more closely and authentically connected to your avatar when wearing the labels you love.”

It is the first time a brand’s design team has created new items initially for a Bitmoji, and the move is part of a wider virtual fashion movement that is expected to change how clothing is produced as well as create a commercial market for non-physical fashion.

Tommy Hilfiger is en route to digital-only design when producing new garments, and Levi’s is ramping up its use of digital sampling to speed up its go-to-market strategy. While these are examples of digital aiding the physical fashion production process, companies such as The Fabricant are leading the drive for digital-only fashion, where items are bought by people solely for use in the online world such as in gaming or social media.

Photo credit: (iStock) anouchka

What’s Hot on Essential Retail?