Archive for April, 2008

Technology Day at FIT Part V: MVM Louise Guay

Technology Day at FIT: Teaching and learning in Four Dimensions

This brings us to the closing remarks: Virtual Identity and Visual Search was to be presented by Louise Guay, PhD., Founder and President of My Virtual Model [MVM].  I was extremely disappointed that Ms Guay was unable to make it to the Technology Day conference but she did manage to send a video of he presentation. I am including it here .

Louise mentions and illustrates how the Virtual Model and Virtual Home applications augment the users power to extend themselves. She mentions some of the ever expanding brands that MVM works with. She speaks about how the BrandMe application provides the user with access to mix and match (and save) multiple brands as well as post the virtual model to e-mail, blogs or a variety of social sites including FaceBook.

She is very excited about the new MVM Visual Search application and explains when and where it will be released. The video illustrates the data base visual search application that will enable the user to try on literally any product.

Link to my FLICKR images from the conference.

© 2008 All Rights Reserved.

Technology Day at FIT – Part IV

April 29, 2008 4 comments

Technology Day at FIT: Teaching and learning in Four Dimensions

David PolinchockSusan RedaPanel Presentation: Preparing the Next Generation of Industry Executives for the next Generation of Marketing Tools: YouTube and More. Susan Reda, Executive Director of Stores Magazine, Kathy Savitt, Chief Marketing Officer, American Eagle Outfitters & David Polinchock, Founder and Chief Experience Officer, Brand Experience Lab.

Kathy savittMs. Savitt began speaking about AEO – American Eagle Outfitters. Their mission is to be generous with their brand. She stated that, “Content is King, distribution is Queen and the Arch Duchess.”

77E is a dedicated unscripted content entertainment platform on A&E. MTV will run the show. It has unscripted content with social community building blocks via Stylehive, a new media application. Stylehive is a social community where users can share and bookmark trends. [note: another similar community is Stylefeeder]

No sharing between divisions was mentioned by David Polinchock as an example of a growth stifling issue within a company. [note: that is also true in an educational institution.] He went on to state that some of the rules are changing with new instant social community media. An example was described about a customer that had a very unpleasant experience trying on clothing at a well-known retailer – the experience was “twittered” from the dressing room and was immediately picked up and amplified by multiple blogs.

YouTube was mentioned as a new media and postings of the The Charmin Potty Party promotion. The Charmin Potty Party was group of custom designed Charmin Bathrooms set up in Times Square as a Christmas gift to New Yorkers in 2006.

An example of a brand that uses new media technology to their advantage is Zappos. They made use of Twitter  as a promotional community marketing and promotional tool by selecting someone from their Twitter community for a free pair of shoes.

The panel mentioned some  top leaders in the next generation marketing and why they stand out.

  • Zappos Twitter channel – they are using new channels and helping people engage.
  • E-Shirts – took an industry that never changed and to rethink how they do business.
  • Nike ID on  Facebook– a consumer destination for designing personalizing and customizing NIKEID footwear, apparel and equipment.
  • Webkinz – building a social marketing community

When something is launched online there is immediate attention. Relevance is now the criteria. Unscripted content like concerts, music, spring break is not vulnerable but scripted content is vulnerable because when you create scripted content you may get comments that you don’t want.

The panelists felt Second Life would evolve into a mixed reality. They mentioned some RL business ventures and why they “dabbled” in SL but then abandoned it after 12-18 months. Many business people walked away perhaps because they did not take the time to truly understand how to integrate the RL and the virtual world experiences. Businesses did not want to get involved if they did not want to deliver a unique and compelling experience.

One of the biggest problems with a brand trying new things is that they don’t understand the media. Unless they really make a commitment and find their voice they will be lost. The definition of success differs from brand to brand. If the focus is “only” on the product or “only” on the brand you could get in trouble with your message but if focus is “only” on the customer then stupid irrelevant material will not be developed if new media is your content.

The panel discussed “standards” on a site. They stated that standards can be limiting but some people go to a place specifically because they have standards. There is room a a lot of different options regarding standards.

How new marketing tools could impact marketing strategies was a topic of discussion. New media is an unbelievable opportunity to get customer data. [note: the new viral marketing tool that MVM has developed for retailers popped into my mind at this point]

New media:

  • offers a way for companies to get smart.
  • empowers companies to directly engage with their customer base.
  • enables creation of a customer community that can be integrated into a company Website.
  • provides branding authenticity.
  • provides companies the opportunity to engage outside of the bricks and mortar.

Because of the new media tools – people are using brands to do more. And finally the most important statement for last  – companies that focus and serve customers will take on a level of honesty that is contagious.

Raymond Yee
Raymond Yee,
Author of Pro Web 2.0 Mashups: Remixing Data and Web Services presented “Create Mashups to make the Web Your Own.”

Raymond gave an excellent demonstration of what is involved in building a customized mashup with the Pipes Web application. He also demonstrated the Picnik application that is integrated into FLICKR  to photo edit images on the Web.

 Raymond also spoke about the Open Source FLICKR viewer in Sl.  Here is a link to an article about it. This is a fantastic development! Up until now we had to upload each image that was needed to present a slide presentation in SL for $10L each upload. Now it will be possible to use our FLICKR images to project into SL.

 …to be continued.

Link to my FLICKR images from the conference.

© 2008 All Rights Reserved.

Technology Day at FIT Part III

April 28, 2008 5 comments

Technology Day at FIT: Teaching and learning in Four Dimensions

Shenlei Winkler aka Shenlei Flashart in SL

 Round Table Discussions: Virtual World Community Gateway for the Apparel Industry presented by Shenlei Winkler, Director of the Fashion Research Institute [FRI]. 



Shenlei Winkler presents at FIT Technology Day

Shenlei Winkler aka Shenlei Flashart in SL is the lead developer of building a Virtual World Community Gateway, an orientation space developed expressly for apparel industry personnel where they can learn to navigate and use virtual worlds safely and free of any hassles that may exist in the general SL community environment. Virtual world skills will become increasingly more important as new industrial solutions incorporating virtual worlds are developed for the apparel industry.

Shenlei Winkler and Elaine Polvinen meet for the first rime in real life at the FIT Technology Day.

The Virtual World Community Gateway for the Apparel Industry is located in Second Life on a group of five sims (a utopian micronation in Second Life) owned by the Fashion Research Institute. Shengri La is one of the islands, here is the SURL location to visit the Fashion Research Institute in Second Life.

The Second Life Virtual World orientation space is currently open by invitation only to apparel industry personnel. The gateway is open 24/7, 365 days and trained helpers will be available on a limited basis. Individuals will be encouraged to learn at their own pace with tutorials so they can gain a virtual skill comfort level at their own speed. Shenlei’s contact info is

It is not open to the general public. If you are a member of the apparel industry or fashion educator and are interested in introducing yourself and your faculty/staff contact Shenlei Winkler to gain access to the specialized virtual world orientation gateway she has created for the apparel industry and fashion educators.

According to Shenlei, this virtual world introductory experience will also include a  variety of customization options (provided by some of the top designers in SL) that will include everything a new user will need to develop their own style.

Industrial solutions incorporating virtual worlds are currently in development within the Black Dress Technology (Black Dress) subsidiary that FRI and IBM recently announced to develop an end-to-end enterprise solution for virtual-worlds-based product design for the [real world] fashion industry. This solution will serve small niche fashion product developer as well as mass market private label retailers.

Shenlei spoke about her past experience as a fashion product developer for a multi million dollar retailer. 2D designs are often misunderstood at the factory, presenting the designs in 3D virtual reality would eliminate multiple time wasting errors. A virtual reality product development application will allow real time development. The virtual world design solution that FRI & IBM are currently working on will result in a faster more robust and stable environment for apparel design. It is designed and set-up specifically for [real world] apparel and product designers. This will finally resolve the issue of accurate creative development time as time studies for creative work will be automatically calculated. FRI & IBM are also developing and testing the virtual world platform OpenSim, which is an enterprise alternative to Second Life(tm).

One last note about Shenlei Winkler – to locate multiple posts about Shenlei and the Fashion Research Institute please search within this blog for “Shenlei Winkler” or the “Fashion Research Institute.”

There were plenty of other Discussion Roundtables but alas I could not split myself into multiple personalities to participate in all of them. I would like to invite other roundtable leaders to comment to this post to summarize your discussion. Some of the other roundtable leaders were:

  • [Blogging in Italian] Isabella Bertoletti
  • [Conversations About Design] Leslie Blum [COM DES], Nancy Deihi [TEX/SUR DES], and Gordon Frey [INT DES]
  •  [Education: Product and/or Process] Daria Dorosh from the New Media Institute, University of East London
  • [A Second Life for the Classroom?] Larry Dugan, Finger Lakes Community COllege and Beth Ritter-Guth, Lehigh Carbon Community College
  • [Virtual Astonomy for Hybred Courses in the  Physical Sciences] Joseph Liddicoat [Science & Math]
  • [Online Teaching and Learning in Spanish] Madeline Millan [Foreign Languages]
  •  [Science & Math] [Having Technical Discussions Online]Karen Pearson [Science & Math] Calvin Williamson
  • [Web 2.0: Distributed Creativity and Framing Thought] G. Brett Phares from Marist College
  • [The Information Dimension of the FIT Library] NJ Wolfe [Gladys Marcus Library FIT]

[note: if a college is not mentioned after the name, the person is an FIT faculty member]

Continued on …Technology Day at FIT – Part IV

Link to my FLICKR images from the conference.

© 2008 All Rights Reserved.

Technology Day at FIT Part II

April 27, 2008 5 comments

Technology Day at FIT: Teaching and learning in Four Dimensions

My Avatar Myself - Elaine Polvinen aka Finn1 Flintlock

I was next at Technology Day at FIT to present “My Avatar Myself: How Avatars are Transforming Product Development, Marketing, Retailing and Education.”

My presentation was an expansive overview of how avatars that represent personal representations of the user are totally and completely transforming all aspects of fashion product development, marketing, retailing and how fashion education can respond.

I began my presentation with the OptiTex Red Dress video to illustrate what a multidimensional product development application is capable of producing. I have been totally immersed in researching and retooling on cutting edge technology for fashion/textiles education for the last 20 or so years and I have never witnessed technology transforming as quickly as it currently is now shifting over to 3D and virtual reality.

There is just no way a software application company can keep up internally with the changes taking place in the industry without forming multiple external liaisons and partnerships. In the same vein there is no way that retailers can respond to the mass personalization and customization [MCP] trend that the user centric social community market is driving without shifting to an integrated multidimensional product development and/or retailing application. The user is totally driving the market that is requiring these transformational changes. Fashion education in turn can successfully respond to this transformational technology and market trend by also forming liaisons, partnerships and linkages with industry and other fashion educators on a global level. Sharing resources, knowledge and skills regarding this shift over to multidimensional product development, MCP marketing and retailing will enable a quick and positive response to prepare future entry level professionals for the fashion industry.

Elaine Polvinen and Beth Harris meet for the first time in the real world at the FIT Technology Day.At the time I was researching for a manuscript I was working on last fall, one of the reasons that OptiTex caught my eye was because they were the only apparel/textile application I could locate that had formulated a variety of highly successful partnerships and/or liaisons that resulted in novel and creative  pre-marketing, and MCP marketing applications (in addition to a relatiively uniform level of development of multiple modules). This company was definitely ahead of the MCP social community trend that is currently taking place in the fashion industry. Technology leadership today is a precarious position to be in for any company especially when you have a multidimensional application that requires cutting edge development for multiple modular applications. It’s a high speed, high stakes race to the future – correctly predicting and preparing for future trends at the warp speed that is required for todays software applications. Quick response is a definite stratigic market positioning advantage.

A multidimensional system empowers the user to work seamlessly from 2D to 3D and back to 2D again in real time. And most important to retailers is to develop the product in digital content from square one. This equals BIG $$$ and time savings as well as enabling pre-marketing and MCP options. Why even discuss the lack of global sizing standards when parametric sizing is possible and fit models can simply body scan themselves into becoming the 3D virtual avatar dress forms that are then used to design and create a brands garments on? A brand can focus on developing sizing standards for their target customers. Multiple functions were displayed in the presentation that are mentioned in previous posts:

 Where is this mass customization emerging from? Think Webkinz – a multi-million dollar success story that involves exceptionally cute little furry avatar creatures that young children love. And who knows a young WebKinz addicted child that only has one Webkinz? Purchase of these little avatars enable entry into a very special social community that empowers the owner to do all sorts of things on line. And just to keep the purchases strong there they “expire” after one year, while others are forced into “retirement,” and there are continual introductions to new Webkinz [see video below]. Open your wallets!

Club Penquin is another on line social community that markets to young children leading to Barbie online and the Meez social community. The ability to make the animated Meez gifs in such a variety of backgrounds and movements had led kids to string them together to make some creative videos [see video posted below]. Search for Meez on You Tube. Oh yes I almost forgot all the Meez clothes are available for purchase at Sears. Sweet marketing concept.

The Club Penquin avatars have also inspired some creative YouTube videos

The crème de la crème of this trend for the youth market is the Sims and H&M “Where Fashion Design and the Virtual World Meet,” branding and promotion that created the Sims2 H&M Fashion Runway product. The on line Sims2 H&M Fashion Runway community votes to select the best design that will be produced for the H&M product line – what a creative and unique personalization and social community concept. This is an excellent virtual preparation for an emerging fashion design student.

Where is this social marketing trend moving after youngsters, tweens and teens? Try the MVM BrandMe personalized model trend that is rapidly expanding into fashion products. MVM  develops customized user centric applications specifically for retailers that empower the user to personalize their shopping experience and share it with a social community or “push” it to a blog or e-mail.  Viral marketing strategies for retailers are a reality with the MVM Dressing Room and Home Products Outfitting Solutions. Retailers can track buyer’s preferences and offer promotional items based on those preferences. [note: search MVM and/or BrandMe for previous blog posts]

Duel virtual and real world marketing is already taking place. Examples are House of Nyla and the Playboy line developed in partnership with Second Life fashion designers. Virtual World Product Life Management solutions for the apparel industry are currently under development as evidenced by the Black Dress Technology Subsidiary that represents collaboration between the Fashion Research Institute and IBM. A gargantuan virtual world is currently under development in the form of the Cyber Recreation District in Beijing China that has the potential to impact the world economy if successful. The need to download a virtual world application in order to access it may soon be a thing of the past with multiple developers [MetaPlace and SocioTown] to name a few] racing to release the most successful 3D virtual world that is easily accessible via the “flat Web browser” we currently use.

How can education prepare students for the 3D and virtual transformation that we are currently undergoing? Introduce them incrementally to a virtual experience like Second Life. Getting acclimated to a virtual 3D experience will provide them with the ability to think and conceptualize in 3D. Whatever the application they will be required to work on in the real world will be – they will already be halfway there because they have experienced and achieved a level of comfort by completing simulated fashion related projects in a virtual world. Projects like developing fashion collections, exhibits, brand logos, fashion show production, store layout and design, 2.0 Web applications, simultaneous real world/virtual world marketing and promotion.

If fashion education does not initiate the type of quick response solution (that students are taught with regards to the real world) to the unprecedented transformational technology shift that is taking place over to 3D, they run the serious risk of becoming redundant and obsolete and could actually be the driving force for industry to develop private training institutes.

Avatars are permeated throughout product development, marketing and retailing. Their use has multiple benefits for industry in the form of cost effectiveness and quick response, pre-marketing and MCP options. The use of multidimensional applications provide retailers with digital content to pre-market a product to a social community similar to the MCP Sims/H&M branding/marketing concept on a grand scale.

Virtual worlds hold great promise for product development, just-in-time manufacturing and multidimensional retailing. How will industry, retailers and education respond? This is like a massive multi player game of musical chairs [or Survivor] to see who survives and prospers by responding to the users [that are driving the MCP social marketing trend] and by creating strategic linkages.

continued on … Technology Day at FIT Part III

Link to my FLICKR images from the conference.

© 2008 All Rights Reserved.

Technology Day at FIT – Part I

April 26, 2008 5 comments

Steven Zucker and Beth Harris. Technology Day at FIT: Teaching and learning in Four Dimensions

Kudos to  Beth Harris, Assistant Professor, History of Art at FIT. She carefully sowed the seeds that started this entire Technology Day Conference at FIT yesterday . She did a wonderful job of presenting an overview of all of the transformative 2D, 3D and virtual technology changes currently taking place in the real world and the effect they will have on the educational world.

Steven Zucker and Beth Harris are pictured above. Read Steven’s post on the conference here. Beth Harris started the conference off by introducing Dr. Joyce F. Brown, President of FIT to give the welcoming remarks.

Here is a link to the Bio page for the conference speakers.

The Keynote was The Second Life of Fashion Design: Meta universe as Prototype Platform W. James Au His book is coming out this month — The Making of Second Life and James keeps the blog, New World Notes.

James began the presentation with an explanation of the basics of what a virtual world like Second Life is and how it works on a grid of servers. He spoke of the principles of SL notably: Impression as opposed to consumer. The goal standard in SL is creativity and commercial engagement. Be-bop reality – user created art and mirrored flourishing – the more stuff you do the more important you are in Second Life.

James went on to explain to the group that in SL users make unlikely friendships and alliances based on creative affiliations. He noted that religion, memorials and non-profits are widely represented in SL.  In the area of SL fashion – they are now merging RL and SL brands represented by the Playboy brand that includes SL designs as noted in his article Smart Bunny: Playboy Sells Fashion Created and Co-branded by Second Life Designers.

A novel and relatively new use of virtual reality is the Wickpedia concept for creation of 3D architecture in Second Life.  James mentioned the primary groups in Second Life were: social gamers, role players, fashionistias, capitalists and innovators.

I was kind of disappointed that he did not include educators because from my point of view (as an educator of course) Second Life is expanding on an ever expanding large scale. There are literally hundreds of educational institutions in Second Life. NMC currently has 50 Sims in Second Life and is continually growing. NMC serves over 80 colleges alone in Second Life. Here is a link to NMC’s plans for 2008.

Janine Hawkins aka: Iris Ophelia also presented to the Technology Day Group. She covers fashion for New World Notes and is the Editor of Second Style in SL. She has been a SL fashion journalist since 2006.

Janine spoke about the fashions in SL and mentioned some of the top SL fashion designers as well as the promotional impact that SL fashion publications have by focusing attention on talented new SL fashion designers from all over the world. She mentioned that Japanese designers were very talented but had a language obstacle marking and promoting their designs in SL. The SL fashion publications spotlighted the Japanese designers and drastically reduced and/or eliminated the language obstacle once the SL fashion buying community was aware of their high quality designs. Janine also mentioned that some SL designers are finding success with marketing and promotional strategies for the virtual shopping community. Free items, social events, blogs, virtual community building are all tools of the marketing trade in SL. She spoke about why Sl can be a marketing tool RL businesses and how RL businesses can get it right. Most RL businesses don’t really understand the virtual platform and how to translate their brand values over.

Some SL Designers that Janine spotlighted in her presentation:

Dressing for Two: What Avatars and Their Humans Buy and Wear, by Mary Ellen Gordon, PhD, Managing Director of Marketing Truths.

This presentation was from inside Second Life. Mary Ellen Gordon worked so hard on this presentation and the large projection screen did not seem to do justice to getting a clear view of the various models she had arranged especially for her presentation. On top of that there was a region shutdown 10 minutes into her presentation. She did manage to continue it a bit later in the session.   PowerPoint and/or video link to post Mary Ellen’s research of fashion preferences and buying habits in SL. One strong point I remember from the presentation was that in SL people tend to purchase the reverse of what they purchase in RL.

Pasted below is a link to Mary Ellen Gordon’s Presentation PowerPoint that she  generously is sharing that includes brand new research done by Market Truths.


Read an interview with Mary Ellen here.

continued on…  Technology Day at FIT Part II

© 2008 All Rights Reserved.

FRI & IBM: Community Gateway for the Apparel Industry

April 22, 2008 3 comments

For those of you that do not already know of Shenlei Winkler, she currently is the Director of the Fashion Research Institute [FRI].  She has approximately 30 years experience designing in the RL. Pasted below are some past posts about Shenlei and the work she has previously done in Second Life and is now doing in partnership with IBM in OpenSim virtual product development for the apparel industry.

 Shenlei is a master builder and fashion designer in Sl. She recently closed her Prim & Proper store on Shengri La in Second Life to devote full time to the OpenSim project she is working on in partnership with IBM. FRI recently announced that they broke the 15,000 prim limit in SL.

 Shenlei has announced a recent press release on the Fashion Research Institute site as well as her blog. The information is so important to the apparel industry that I will post most of the announcement here.

 Fashion Research Institute Announces the Formation of Black Dress Technology Subsidiary
posted 4/9/2008

Fashion Research Institute, Inc. (FRI) has launched a subsidiary, Black Dress Technology (Black Dress), to develop an end-to-end enterprise solution for virtual-worlds-based  product design for the fashion industry in conjunction with IBM, FRI’s technology partner. 

 Black Dress will provide a virtual world experience specifically developed for apparel and accessory designers.  This virtual world, expressly created as a product design  environment, will offer a fundamentally new work flow addressing critical issues facing the fashion industry, such as ensuring manufacturability of designs and decreasing substantial sample costs by at least 30%.  In addition, this “green” solution reduces the carbon footprint of the fashion industry.  Users of the Black Dress solution will ultimately be able to enter a virtual world, receive training on the systems, and take a design from concept to prototype – with every step short of actual manufacturing being done virtually.

Black Dress will offer an IBM-backed and -developed enterprise solution providing a simpler and more intuitive user interface than currently existing products, apparel-industry-oriented software, and scalability for businesses of all sizes.  Users of the technology could see sample creation costs decreased by 60% or more and time to market cut by as much as six weeks per collection.  Additionally, management and executive staff can have access to real-time business statistics so they can make immediate, informed decisions. This technology solution was showcased in the IBM booth at the National Retail Federation Show in January 2008.  

A mid-sized design house implementing a Black Dress Technology solution could save millions a year in sample costs and dozens of weeks of development time, enough to put into development and production one full collection or two mini-collections. This, in turn, could allow this company to generate additional tens of millions a year in gross revenue.

 “Black Dress will be competing in a $1.7 trillion global industry, where the rapid turnover of in-house IT systems clearly tells us there’s a huge need for an improved solution.  We intend to deliver that solution, in a way that serves the unique needs of both the creative design staff and executive management.  In fact, we see our solution as finally allowing management to monitor and manage the previously unmanageable design process without disrupting the delicate creative process,” said Winkler.

In the article titled “Alternagrids Offer Choices,” by Phoenix Psaltery published 3/18/08 in the Metaverse Messenger. Shenlei is interviewed about the OpenSim community gateway for the apparel Industry project she is working on with IBM.

 According to Shenlei, “if we want virtual worlds to truly succeed, then there needs to be a robust more stable platform out there. And businesses, in fact, will pay to resolve the technology issues. And once the tech issues get resolved, then we can start to see an Influx of consumers, at which point (Business to Consumer) plays start becoming very interesting. That is the crux of the issue.

 Here is a link to Shenli Winkler’s Blog titled: Shengri La: Utopian Micronation

A group of five sims (a utopian micronation in Second Life) are owned by the Fashion Research Institute. Shengri La is one of them – more information about the sims are in the Psaltery article. The ShengriLa sims are open to the public. Shenlei has welcomed people to visit but has stated that Shengri La has two very simple rules – please be polite and do not leave trash behind.

Shenlei is a big supporter for designers in SL and she has established a Saturday market on Shengri La for SL designers. New designers are welcome to set up tents down on the boardwalk. The rules for exhibition are: no adult content; no charge; 20 prims a designer and keep everything inside the specific tent.

Fashion CAD OpenCourseWare Basic Function Series: Intro to Second Life for Fashion Students

April 21, 2008 4 comments

I am working on the Intro to Second Life for Fashion Students audio/video series on my  Fashion CAD OpenCourseWare site that is now available to anyone for non-commercial use. The level I & II Basic Function Adobe series (TeacherTube, YouTube and BlipTV) videos have already (at this post) had about 23,000 views since I bagan uploading them last December. Educators are more then welcome to use these basic function videos as resources for Fashion Photoshop and Illustrator courses. My own students view the videos that I create directly from the college servers.

When I taught one week customized Adobe workshop for retailers the first two 8 hour days consisted of reviewing level I & II of Adobe Photoshop basic functions and Level I & II Illustrator basic functions. All designers come into a company with differing Adobe skills background and these basic function reviews got us all to the same level to address specialized skill building functions that a company requests.

This spring is the second time I am teaching the Intro to Second Life for Fashion Project as part of my FashionCAD class. This project is only for a 6-7 week portion of my 15 week FashionCAD course. In addition to many other projects involving skill building in Illustrator and Photoshop, students develop several garments in Virtual Fashion PRO. It s a jam packed highly accelerated course.

 Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod

 My apologies for uploading the raw video of  the Buffalo State Island fashion Project by mistake and linking it here – I managed to get the edited version of the TeacherTube video uploaded and posted to this WordPress Blog with VodPod.

This video will provide you with a tour of the fashion project areas on the Buffalo State island in second Life. It starts out in front of the Research building and shows you how to copy or buy for $0L flexi skirts and use the video tutorials. Then you fly to the students work pier and can copy/or buy for $0L the Franimation Overider. There is an example of the student fashion vendor exhibit there as well as a new Jim Wheeling vendor for you to copy and/or buy for $0L. A student example of a Brand Logo board is also there. Then we fly to Poseball area and pose our avatar to position it for a Snapshot to disk. Next, we fly up to the Fashion Runway and wear the Franimation Overider and practice walk up and down the runway.

 Now it’s time to teleport over to the student fashion collection vendor exhibits from last springs Intro to Sl project. Then we walk over to the Sears Industry exhibit and dress our avatar in one of the garments. Now we visit three of the student fashion boutiques and wear some of the SL items and check out the same items in RL on the students ZAZZLE pages. The tour concludes by showing you how to operate the fashion project slide show in the big black box over the exhibit pier.

The goal for the Intro to SL project is to get acclimated to Second Life as quickly as possible and begin immediately creating fashion garments using the Appearance Menu, then they add their custom textures to flexiskirts [after they practice with the ones on the BS Island] and build simple prims to add to the fashion outfits they create. Students have already researched color palettes and developed a series of print and weave patterns for previous assignments. They can convert these previous assignments for uploading to SL.

Some of the assignments for this project are:

  • Snapshot of fashion outfit created in Appearance
  • Create and upload a T-Shirt using Robin Woods T-Shirt Tutorial
  • Snapshot of T-shirt on posed Avatar
  • Four complete fashion garments w/ snapshots Created in Appearance with a combination of flexi skirts and simple prims.
  • One outfit w/snapshot using a portion of the outfit that was created using Robin Woods UV template.
  • Posed mannequins w/ transparent backgrounds of all fashion garments uploaded to SL Presentation
  • Presentation packages created and loaded with fashion outfits [all permissions opened]
  • Fashion Vendor exhibit (Jim Wheelings SL Vendor) customized with your textures and loaded with Fashion Collection.
  • Develop Fashion Brand Logo and Upload.
  • Create image of entire SL fashion collection.
  • Select music from Creative Commons and practice walking with animation overrider.
  • Place fashion vendor exhibit in display area
  • Create video of Fashion show.

After my first introduction to SL last spring students communicated on a feedback questionnaire that they really liked flying and making fashion in Second Life. They were not too crazy with the file organizational requirements. This is something as an instructor that I find very valuable for students, since organizational skills are critical for working professionally in groups once they are in the real working world. My belief is that one of the most important skills the fashion students gain from their SL experience is to learn to conceptualize, create and work together in a 3D virtual environment. The fashion product development and marketing worlds are moving swiftly towards multidimensional applications.

I have tried to set up my OpenCourseWare Website with a breakdown summary of the sequence we work on with the Intro to Second Life project. I use an ANGEL teaching site with the class and I post notes, communicate directly with students and post grades there. We meet in RL and SL and I do multiple demos during class. This semester I have tried to reduce the stress, increase the student skill levels and also reduce my need for repetition by creating a series of videos with audio for the projects I assign.

I use links to popular SL video tutorials for general Getting Started in Second Life introductory skills. For the specialized fashion skills we work on I have created a series of about twenty videos i uploaded to Teacher Tube. I plan to modify and update them this coming summer but I wanted to get them posted quickly to serve as an aid for others wanting to integrate a SL fashion Project into their classes. My students use video links to the servers at the college.  Here is the Link to my Intro to Fashion Stuff in Second Life Group page on Teacher Tube.

On my FashionCAD OpenCourseWare site I have posted a series of ten modules for Intro to Fashion in SL. I have placed the TeacherTube videos on the appropriate pages in addition to notes and assignments. The flexi skirts, textures, [112,110,25 on BS island in SL] animation overriders [92,13,23 on BS Island in SL] that are used on the video tutorials are all on the  Buffalo State Island in Second Life. Here is a link to a note I included explaining why I created the Intro to SL Fashion series. You are welcome to use the material on a non-commercial basis for yourself or your classes.

Adobe Photoshop Level One Introduction to Adobe Photoshop Basic Function series

Level Two: Photoshop Functions

Adobe Illustrator Level One: Introduction to Adobe Illustrator Functions

Level Two: Illustrator Functions

Practice Assignments: Level One Adobe PS & ILL Basic Functions

Introduction to Second Life for Fashion Students

SURL – BSC Fashion Student exhibit in SL

Second Life II: First Virtual Fashion Class

April 20, 2008 3 comments

 Last Spring 2007 I had several posts relating to the first BSC Introduction to Fashion in Second Life Project on this blog.

I am currently working with a new Intro to Second Life class this spring [Intro to Second Life: Part I]  and I will share more of that in the next post, but I also completed a class last fall 2007 that I would like to share with you in this post. [note: see Register for College Level Intro to Virtual Fashion in SL [fall 08′]}

I finally got a chance to document the assignments and links to some student work from a class I held in the fall of 2007 titled Virtual Fashion. This class was a continuation of the Introduction To Fashion in Second Life Project that I incorporated into my FashionCAD class the previous spring. The class began with introducing students to various Web 2.0 applications that they could incorporate into the virtual fashion class. I have posted a series of assignments that students completed in the class.

Assignment #1:
Establishment of a WordPress Blog: Student set up free WordPress bolgs to document the project we worked on in the Virtual Fashion class.

Assignment #2:
Establishment of a FLICKR sites. Students set up free FLICKR accounts to upload Second Life images that would be linked to their WordPress blog.

Assignment #3:
DEL.ICIO.US accounts Students set up DEL.ICIO.US accounts to keep a record of the Web research they conducted.

Assignment #4:
BLOGHUD accounts Students set up free Second Life BLOGHUD accounts to document their Second Life explorations.

Assignment #5:
The first assignment (and WordPress entry) involved visiting some Second Life fashion establishments. We all had an excellent in-world treat visiting Sheliei Winkler’s [aka: Shenlei Flashart]. Shenlei is the director of the Fashion Research Instituteand is on the cutting edge of integrating virtual world product development for the fashion industry.  Shenlei who is a master builder and fashion designer in Sl and RL was an excellent presenter to the fashion students that were new to Second Life.

Assignment #6:
Each student set up a free Zazzle account and upload designs to it. ZAZZLE is a site where you can upload your designs and potential clients can choose custom items to purchase with your design. The designer earns a percentage of the total cost of the item. It’s a wonderful intro to mass customization and personalization business experience with no overhead costs to the designer. They posted an entry on their blog.

Assignment #7:
Students uploaded about 10-12 repeat pattern textures to Second Life. Students could also use high resolution versions of these designs to place on various ZAZZLE products. They posted their texture collections on to their blogs.

Assignment #8:

Go and purchase a Loop Rez Deluze in SL and sue it to develop your own flexi skirt designs. Here is a link to ged’s anti-blog, there is a link to a link to a tutorial there.

Assignment #9:
Virtual Store Layout and Design Project – Students developed their own virtual world fashion boutique concept and built their customized version in Second Life. An example of MeuMeu’s fashion boutique in different stages of construction is displayed below, beneath that is Jade Seilings fashion boutique and under Jade’s is Fausto’s Boutique. Student posted these entries to their individual blogs. SL locations of individual student boutiques in SL on the Buffalo State island are:

Jade Seilling [aka:Christina Jade]: 210,47,37MeuMeu\'s SL Fashion Botique
MeuMeu: 212.24,31
Fausto: 242,15,34
Sleena Ivory: 205,72,38

SURL – BSC Fashion Student exhibit in SL

Go to the Buffalo State island. Open the MAP and click on it to activate the red circle location icon. Type in the coordinates listed above for the different boutique locations and teleport over.


Chrintina Jade's botique


Assignment #10: Simultaneous real world virtual world marketing project.
Students developed their custom ZAZZLE page to include 10-12 designs and replicated these RL designs in SL to place into their customized SL fashion boutiques. They created product presentation packages in SL that included a pose of their avatar wearing the t-shirt they designed. The permissions were set on the SL presentation packages so that anyone could get a free copy of the t-shirt for their avatar to wear in SL. Each presentation package also included a Web link to their ZAZZLE page that had a RL version of the same design that could be purchased in RL. The presentation packages are displayed in their customized SL fashion boutiques. They posted this entry on to their blogs. Below are examples of MeuMeu’s SL ZAZZLE packages [larger images are on MeuMeu’s Webblog.]




Assignment #11:
Industry Project – During the course of this class we had an opportunity to collaborate with a contact from Sears. Each student located two RL items for sale on the Sears Web site and developed replicas of those items for SL. Web links to the RL item were added to the SL item. Since this project was completed in the fall of 2007, all the RL items from the Sears pages were sold out – all that remains are the SL items. All completed SL items were sent to the Sears contact to conduct some in world marketing research on simultaneous virtual and real world promotion. The location of the Sears student exhibit on the Buffalo State Island in SL is 228,82,38


Sears Project in SL with Buffalo State Fashion students

Assignment #12:
Virtual Fashion Pro and POSER – the last project in this class involved developing custom garments in Virtual fashion Pro and exporting them to Poser. In Poser student posed the fashion and photographed them for their professional portfolio. An example of MeuMeu’s poser example is posted below.


Here are the WordPress blog links for some of the Virtual Fashion Students that participated in this project:


BSC RUNWAY Fashion Show 2008

April 19, 2008 2 comments

The Fashion Textile Technology Programs Fashion Show Production class headed by Erin Habes successfully completed their RUNWAY Fashion Show at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery last Friday 4/11/08 as part of the Friday night at the Knox Gusto Program. Here is an article by Phyllis Camesano titled, Fashion Week Comes to Buffalo,” that was published just before the show.

 Kudos to Erin Habes owner of Sweet and Dirty fashion Boutique in Buffalo, NY [and her class] for leading and amazing production that consisted of fashions from local boutiques and selected senior collections from David Brinson’s Apparel Design Senior Project class. Congratulations are also in order to The apparel design seniors in David’s class that exhibited their collections.

 There are several videos posted on CW23 but there are no direct video links for me to include here. You would have to visit the CW23 video page and select the following videos from the list:

  • Lydia: Buff State Fashion Show Red Carpet [before the show]
  • Lydia: Buff State Fashion Show [the show]
  • Buff State Fashion Preview [ reviewing the collections]
  • CW23 Fashion Show [construction madness]
  • Here is a link to the gallery images from the Buffalo State Web site: BUFFALO STATE FASHION SHOW PHOTO GALLERY

OptiTex #6: What Else and Why?

April 19, 2008 1 comment

There are several more videos I will share with you in this final post of this OptiTex Outside of the Box Technology Series.

The integrated collaboration and development goals of the OptiTex product have resulted in a unique multidimensional  product development tool for the Fashion industry that is leading many to ask is it real or is it virtual?

 The OptiTex cloth rendering and animation engines are exceptional. I will share two more videos [posted below] to demonstrate that in this final post of the series.

 In a past post I mentioned that companies and/or brand could use the OptiTex multidimensional application to develop their own set of sizing standards either by inputting body scans of the fit models or using a plug-in for standardized industry dress forms.

Companies and/or Brands can also globally centralize the fabric/material testing and  input the individual cloth properties such as bend, stretch, shear, damping, shrinkage, weight, thickness for the OptiTex fashion product developers.

3D Chalk/Vector Tool

Another upcoming development in a future version will be the OptiTex 3D Chalk Tool [see video above]. It is another example of expanding communication options by working simultaneously in a multidimensional 2D>3D environment. It enables the user to sketch notes anywhere on the 3D image. More important to me then the 3D Chalk tool is the vector Pen Tool. This handy little Pen Tool enables the user to position the 3D image in any rotational view so that a technical vector flat sketch can easily and quickly be drawn over the 3D fashion product. This is an exceptional technical spec tool. The user can very quickly develop front, back and side technical specs from the 3D rotational views. This feature will be available in Version 11.


This brings us to the end of the most recent OptiTex series. You may be wondering why I have focused so much on the OptiTex product?  Quite honestly I an a fashion/textile technology addict for the past 21 years. I started out transferring all my traditional, aesthetic and technical skills over to 2D technology in 1987 and have been retooling ever since. I love all aspects of Fashion Technology and the OptiTex product is the first product I have come across over the years that truly integrates all the separate aspects (on an equally high quality level) of fashion technology ( first 2D and more recently 3D) that I have been working on for the last 21 years like garment pattern development, marker making, technical specs, texture mapping, print,  weave and knit surface CAD design, [and more recently] 3D fashion product development, simulation and animation.

Yes, there are many other excellent high quality widly used industry flat pattern development and marker making applications like Gerber, Lectra, Assyst, PAD and 3D applications like Maya and 3D Studio MAX.  Quite honestly some of the most widely known fashion applications in the industry have only recently realized the critical necessity of integrating 3D technology into existing 2D applications and the highly significant impact the resulting quick response, cost effectiveness, global fitting standardization, pre-marketing and marketing uses this multidimensional application will provide for the fashion industry. In house development on some integrated 2D/3D integrated systems has been uneven. Not all companies embrace external partnerships and collaborations like OptiTex has with established leaders in industry.

I can tell you from many years of first hand experience in fashion education with struggling to integrate different technology applications that there is nothing like a turn-key integrated equally high quality multi-application system for all aspects of fashion product development. It is an exceptional educational tool for visually teaching students how their 2D flat-pattern designs will look on a 3D form.

I wanted to share the results of my years of hands on experience and research with you. If I run across another similar high quality integrated system I will share the results of my new research with you…

OptiTex#5: Flattening Technology

April 11, 2008 2 comments

OptiTex has developed a new flattening and stitching technology. Here is a link to a flat pattern to 3D video. How you may be asking is this flattening technology different? The difference is that you can trace directly onto the 3D virtual avatar/mannequin form to create a 2D flat pattern piece that can then be stitched together.

This powerful feature is possible because of unique partnerships and/or linkages that OptiTex has formed with leaders in the 3D rendering, simulation and animation industry.

When I first reviewed this video I had to watch it several times. Each time I watched it I was looking at it from a different perspective. Try it – review the video three times, each time you play it wear another hat. First wear the hat of the product developer, then the retailer, and finally the educator.

This flattening technology really powerfully illustrates the fact that the OptiTex product is the first fully integrated multi dimensional product development package that empowers the user to work in real time from 2D to 3D to 2D again is a smooth seamless back and forth workflow. Change the measurements in the number fields and you will instantly see results on the 2D flat pattern of on the 3D virtual model avatar form. The 3D rendering, cloth and animation engines are just as advanced and high quality as the 2D Marker making and flat pattern development applications are.

As a fashion product developer think about how much an application like this can shorten the development time and cut costs as a result. As a retailer think about the 3D imagery created during the development process – and how this 3D imagery can be used to market (and pre-market) the product online using a personalized avatar. Remember how Virtual Product Presentation was using the imagery? Here is a link to that VPP stitching process that they also are using to market their pattern making service. You instantly have access to a 360 degree rotational view of the product to use on your marketing Website. Instant access to this digital 3D imagery will eliminate steps and cut costs. You can even pre-market your products using this technology. As an educator this application will teach students how to conceptualize their 2 patterns being pieced together and sewn into a 3D garment right in front of their eyes. What an educational tool!

  1. Start by directly tracing the patterns pieces you want directly on the 3D virtual avatar/mannequin form.
  2. When you have the desired number of pieces, make any changes to your lines or add notches or buttons.
  3. All you have to do to create your 2D pattern pieces from your tracing is click directly on the traced pieces that you created on the 3D virtual avatar/mannequin form.
  4. Your 2D flat patterns will be instantly created in real time on the opposite side of the same screen.At this point you can make any modifications you would like to the 2D flat pattern.
  5. Once your 2D pattern is complete, click on the 2D pattern seams that you want to have stitched together.
  6. Once the pattern seams that are to be stitched together are identified and marked, simply place (click place icon) the pattern pieces into the 3D window.
  7. Stitching process is completed.

The Flattening Technology will be available for sale in V11.

OptiTex#4:3D Digitizing Directly on to the Avatar?

April 7, 2008 3 comments
3D digitizing


The OptiTex multi-dimensional integrated product development application has developed a feature to enable the user to digitize styles directly onto the 3D virtual avatar/mannequin form. It is currently being tested in V10 and will be available to the public very soon.

Do you know what a digitizing table is? A digitizing table is a big flat table that you use to input your large pattern pieces into the computer. It’s kind of like a glorified scanner. In fact I have seen big drum scanners that people insert large pattern pieces or  images into to input them into the computer. 

BSC digitizing

Students carefully tape their basic pattern pieces onto the digitizing table then they use a mouse type tool to click the grain line, the notches, the darts and all around the perimeter of the pattern piece to input the points into to the computer. You click a specific code when you are done and voila – your pattern piece has been transfered into the patternmaking program on the computer. You are now ready to input grading/sizing rules and/or make styling modifications to your basic pattern.
Once the 2D flat pattern is in the computer patternmaking program the user is not really able to make freeform intuitive styling lines easily onto the 2D flat pattern.

As a computer  flat pattern designer did you ever wish you make some changes to your 2D flat pattern by drawing/digitizing directly on to the 3D avatar/mannequin form – say maybe to visually add a graceful styling line to the neckline in real time and at the same time actually “see: where and how the line will appear on the  sample size 3D avatar/mannequin form? Well now you can. This new 3D Digitizing OptiTex feature will empower the user to digitize lines directly on to the 3D virtual avatar/mannequin form and the pattern modifications on the 2D flat pattern will instantly be generated for you in real time. This is an amazing feature for creative pattern development.

Many computer pattern design programs have a function that will allow the user to  “digitize” directly onto the 2D flat pattern piece, but up until now you were not able to digitize directly onto the 3D avatar/mannequin form and see the results in “real time” on the 2D flat pattern on a split screen.

Watch the video below to see how the user can simultaneously work in 2D and then 3D and back again to 2D. All pattern modifications are taking place in real time.

This 3D digitizing is currently in beta testing and will be available in V10 in 2008.

OptiTex/Siemens#3: FIT Technology Bernina MyLabel

April 4, 2008 6 comments
Bernina MyLabel

An innovative example of a strategic product development partnership that resulted from the parametric sizing technology between Siemens PLM Software, OptiTex and Bernina resulted in the new Bernina MyLabel product. The Bernina MyLabel product has the potential to transform the home sewing market.


[press release 28.01.2008 Siemens PLM Software Announces New Use Of D-Cubed 2D DCM In Garment Design Software Industry]

Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of Siemens Industry Sector and a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services, and OptiTex Limited of Israel, a leader in 2D and 3D CAD/CAM fashion and textile design software, today announced the use of the D Cubed™ 2D Dimensional Constraint Manager (2D DCM) parametric solver by OptiTex in the My Label application for home-based fashion designers. My Label is licensed by OptiTex to their partner Bernina International for shipping with Bernina’s sewing machines.

 MyLabel is an innovative 3D FIT Technology product that was recently introduced to the home sewing industry. The concept behind MyLabel is very simple, “good fit is everything!” It is a response to the home sewers demand for the mass customization and personalization trend that is being met by creative linkages. The response to the introduction of this product has been exceptionally positive – apparently home sewers have been anxiously waiting for a good fit solution!


Is it a pattern making software? No it’s a “fit” application. There are about twenty classic garment pattern styles programmed into MyLabel. Accurate measurements are everything so Bernina has a MyLabel measurement kit and offers classes in how to take accurate measurements [if customers feel the need]  at the Bernina franchises.

Bernina MyLabel3


Once the user inputs in their personal measurements the 3D dress form avatar/mannequin morphs into a body size reflection of the user. There is a large fabric library to select fabrics or the user can scan in a fabric swatch of their own to view on the garment. The user has a wide choice of buttons, embroidery or machine stitches to select from in their custom MyLabel garment development. There is a limited pattern modification available for users to shorten, lengthen, widen and narrow existing styles.

Once the garment is completed the user can save, print or e-mail the customized 3D model to friends or post it on to a blog. The pattern can be printed tiled and then taped together or the user can take the file to a copy center and have it printed out on a wide scale printer. Step by step instructions are also available to be printed out for each pattern.

Here is a link to a blogger that actually purchased and is using the MyLabel application. She has feedback and images of several MyLabel custom projects.

Here is a link to the Bernina Gallery.

The MyLabel application has a free download trial version so you can see for yourself how it works if you are interested.

I got a kick out of reading this blog entry in the “Patterns, Fabric and Thread – Oh My.” blog. The entry is titled, “Hey looks, it’s me!,” is dated Sunday, November 18, 2007 when the writer first heard about the MyLabel product and downloaded the demo.

All I can say after observing the positive home sewer market response to using 3D virtual avatar/mannequins in Bernina MyLabel is that industry and education better respond to the rapid transformations taking place in technology as well or they will be either out of business or obsolete.

Previous OptiTex posts:

OptiTex#2: FIT Technology

April 1, 2008 8 comments

From a product development perspective, the dress form avatar/mannequin is the most important element in a creation of the garment, this is where the measurements are determined and the final look and feel helps determine whether the garment really fits or not. According to Yoram Burg, President of OptiTex, initially the market did not accept the virtual prototyping so openly only two years ago.

Modulate is a critical part of the OptiTex solution to developing accurate fit.
The application is a unique interactive, parametric, one of a kind, made-to-measure software engine. Each parametric style fits a particular set of dimensions that belong to specific people or represent particular manufacturing requirements. This enables brands to develop their own individual and customized set of sizing standards based on the targeted brand market user.

Dispite the advancements in technology, there still was initial skepticism with regards to avatars accurately reflecting real life (RL) measurements. OptiTex technology has come a long way since then and additional new technology developments as well as creative and strategic partnerships and/or linkages with companies, developers and educational institutions have made customers realize [and experience for themselves] that a well designed avatar/mannequin and a well designed multi-dimensional product for manufacture as well as marketing is something that is based on accurate information and the highest quality rendering/annimation/cloth engines.

The benefits of using 3D avatar/ mannequins for fashion product development are perfect fit, mass customization, cost effectiveness for design, development, prototyping and e-commerce marketing.

3D Customized Avatar/ Mannequins


A variety of well-designed accurate 3D avatar/ mannequins and customized accessories are continually being developed at Optitex. The company is actively seeking partnerships with makers of widely used industry forms to develop specialized plug-ins that will replicate avatar/ mannequins for well known industry forms such as Alvaform. [pictured below]


The 3D avatar/ mannequins currently under development have a wide range of body types and represent many age groups. The are fat and muscular controls [pictured above] as well as advanced posture controls [pictured below].



Individual companies can choose to develop their own customized set of avatar/ mannequins [based on their targeted brand customer] by having their fit models input their body scans into the OptiTex system. [example of body scan input pictured below]



Body scan data can be set to be linked into the OptiTex application.


Annimated FIT Technology

The OptiTex application will also be introducing animated FIT technology (above video) in V10 in 2008. This animated FIT technology enables the user to animate the custom sized avatar/ mannequin while wearing the custom designed garment and visually analyze the garment fit during wearer movements.

Other Optitex Posts:

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