Virtual Fashion Project Spring 2007
It’s been far too long since I posted to this Virtual Fashion Technology Blog and much has happened since I traveled to Toronto to participate in the IFFTI concerence at Ryerson. I will try to catch up with the last several months of activity this weekend.In the last 7 weeks of the spring 2007 semester, my class completed a Virtual Fashion Project that led to some exciting discoveries of how virtual simulations can enhance and expand fashion education.As soon as I returned from the IFFTI 2007 conference, my class started really getting into the Virtual Fashion project that we had planned for the second half of the Fashion CAD course in the Fashion Textile Technology Program at Buffalo State College. The project involved Second Life and Virtual Fashion PRO®. It was purely an exploratory undertaking. I first heard of Second Life last fall (2006) when I saw an article by Andrew Lavalle published in the Wall Street Journal online about a virtual fashion designer making a living on designing virtual clothing. The entire concept was hard for me to take serious as virtual worlds were not in myt “digital relam” up until that point. But It peaked my interest and I began to think about exploring the possibilities of simulating fashion education concepts in Second Life.
That initial curiosity lead to formulation of a BSC SL Campus Pilot Group and the SUNY Research Foundation sponsoring an educational island in Second Life for campus projects. We set up a WIKI to document our exploration. Here is a link to a video clip the campus group created this past summer.
The results for the multidisciplinary field of Fashion were exciting to say the least. Multiple aspects of fashion design, development, merchandising, advertising and promotion can benefit from developing custom project simulations in the virtual world.For example, the virtual world would be an excellent environment for simulated development of a virtual business plan, theme, store layout and design, branding, product development and marketing. All the aspects involved in real world production of a fashion show can be simulated in the virtual world as well as fashion product design, development and presentation.The virtual world of Second Life provides students with the advantage of gaining a specialized conceptual skill set from working in a 3D virtual reality environment that is free to access. This open source virtual world will begin to prepare students for emerging employer expectations.3D virtual reality course materials and development in Second Life will also pave the way for exploration into the possibilities of development of long distance shared courseware and student/faculty/program collaborations.
I have placed extensive documentation relating to the process of the Virtual Fashion Project on the BSC WIKI. I have also compiled a FAQ page to address the many questions others have asked me about the project.
The final projects from the students for the 7 week virtual fashion project involve a SL virtual fashion show video (example above) from each student, an in world virtual fashion vendor exhibit and professional portfolio layouts created in Virtual Fashion PRO® (example above). Students designed the garments and surface textures.