Archive for December, 2009

Towards the Future: A Foundation to Support OpenSim in Education, Science, and Research

December 29, 2009 1 comment

Fashion Research Institute CEO Shenlei Winkler presented the initial proposal for a formal foundation for OpenSim in education, science, and research on Friday, December 11 at a MICA Professional Seminar in Second Life. Shenlei is known to some as a Mass market designer, an educator, a large scale virtual builder in Open Sim such as Shengri La Spirit designed to “push” the performance ability. Shenlei served as executive administrator and grant writer for the SLOAN digital sky survey [SDSS] project . She has  experience working on big projects that have sweeping scope and a variety of collaborators across multiple continents and cultures.

The link above w/slides will open an audio podcast of her presentation. Pasted below is a summary of what she presented – details are in the audio.

When her team of multi-disciplinary collaborators first suggested the possibility of a foundation for Open Sim, Shenlei  stepped up and agreed to champion the community building process and administrative aspects to help make this foundation a reality.

For the past few months multidisciplinary teams have been collaborating and working on different educational, scientific  and research projects on the IEEE  ACM hosted Science Sim grid which now includes about 80 regions or so. Shenlei goes on to mention some of the projects that were developed to support the development of Open Sim. She mentions her side projects of putting together the first ever Virtual world based Fashion Design Conference [ Threading the Needle:The Future of Fashion Design Conference] for a global audience of fashion design students and educators.  These efforts from a multi disciplinary collaboration have yielded a rich repository of knowledge and best practices. She stated that all collaborators and participants agreed that they did not want to see the efforts of the combined knowledge lost.

The vision she presented: “A foundation that maintains a stable distribution of OpenSim to enable new usages for education, science, and research in persistent 3D spaces built and deployed by a federation of organizations and users.”

The mission she presented:

  • Maintain a stable distribution of the OpenSim 3D platform.
  • Document  best practices for the use of OpenSim in science and education
  • Provide a toolkit of content and applications to support these best practices.

The community is currently in a very early stage of a two phase development. The first phase entails determining user requirements  – Shenlei made an open call for WIKI contributions of user requirements –  interested parties to e-mail they thought about this directly to her. More meetings will be set up in world over the next few weeks. Please send your contact information to Shenlei Winkler is you would like her to notify you that an upcoming meeting will be taking place.

This is a grand sweeping initiative and there is a lot of room in this tent for anyone that wants to help and participate. Input is welcome.

OpenSim is a great platform it’s broadly extensible and the artificial limits of the Second Life platform are not present however it has it’s quirks and documentation and best practices will be very helpful for new practitioners. If you are a tester or a technical writer or you just want to help out this is a great way to get involved. The foundation will also provide training and orientation material and may also provide training and orientation programs as well. The foundations will also develop toolkits of content, scripting and plug-ins that will be available to users that are affiliated with the foundation. Having certain basic content classes available to new users helps speed their virtual world emersion

Shenlei states that ” the Fashion Research Institute [FRI ] has provided new default avatars on the ScienceSIM  new users to this grid immediately change into these avatars that are provided. Content like this is important – research finds that work does not get done until the avatar user is content that the avatar is customized to their taste. But beyond basic avatar content new projects may require common scripts, tool such as presentation boards, viewers, land and group management tools. Various plug ins help speed adoption of the successful implementation of ew projects. The foundation can provide a central authority and repository for such references and support services.” Shenlei welcomes any feedback from all users.

Skills that are needed:

  • Administration
  • Documentation
    • Integration user level Admin Developer
    • Development
    • Project Management
    • System Grid Administration
    • Content Creation
      • Building, Graphic Design, Scripting, Integration, Avatar Customization
      • Marketing
        • Collateral Logo name, style book, event planning
        • Grant Writing
        • Management Policies Development
        • Public Relations
          • Social Media, New  Outreach
          • Legal Support
          • Technical Training

Your help is requested to help launch this foundation.

Virtual Retail Sales are Hot, Hot Hot!

December 28, 2009 1 comment

This week there is a MUST READ article by By Jayne O’Donnell, USA TODAY titled,” Unlike reality, virtual retail sales are hot, especially for avatars. ” The article verifies the trends that the Fashion Research Institute has previously concluded. Millions of people are buying virtual fashion items and sales are booming.

There is a section that illustrates CEOS’ AVATARS: What virtual-world execs find fashionable. Mark Kingdon CEO of  Linden Lab, Neil Edwards CEO of Cellufun and Cary Rosenzweig CEO of  IMVU are pictured along with their customized avatars.

Second Life CEO Mark Kingdon states that perhaps the bad economic conditions in the real world are positively impacting sales in the virtual worlds.

“Virtual goods cost a fraction of what goods cost in the real world,” Kingdon says. “You can get a beautiful pair of white ice skates for … less than $2.”

The USA Today article has a short explanation of how the buying and selling process works in a virtual world but if you want to know how it works in Second Life – listen to Missy’s virtual internship interview. Missy’s SL Virtual Internship Interview I ask Missy to explain the entire buying and selling process of virtual fashion goods in Second Life.

The USA Today article goes on to state that:

“IMVU, a social-networking site and virtual world that caters to 13- to 24-year-olds, does more than $2 million in sales each month. Almost all of the virtual goods sold on IMVU are made by users, who keep the proceeds. IMVU makes its money selling the credits used to buy virtual goods. Overall December sales are expected to be up 20% over November, and sales will be about $22 million this year, mostly from the direct sale of virtual credits to users.”

In an earlier guest post FRI: Virtual Fashion Internships by Shenlei Winkler [CEO of Fashion Research Institute], she summarized current retail fashion trends for the virtual world:

“we think the virtual goods marketplace will burgeon rapidly. In 2007, virtual goods accounted for $2.6 billion in sales.  Although the total value of virtual goods pales in comparison to the $1.7 trillion apparel industry, this market compares very favorably with the accessories market which generates about $1.8 billion in sales.  Various analyst reports indicate that the virtual goods marketplace is set to double in 2010.  Fashion designers are often encouraged to move into handbags and other accessories to add a new revenue stream and enable brand extension.  With virtual goods slated to open up further in 2010, designers should definitely consider this new niche market they can readily move into which can help them generate more sales in a completely new area.”

The growing trends of virtual fashion sales and the translation into real currency for this market translates into viable reasons for fashion education to begin addressing the niche market of virtual fashion.

Bella Fantasique – Midnight Sparkle Collection

December 9, 2009 2 comments

Here are the images from Missy Lavecchia”s Bella Fantasique – Midnight Sparkle Collection. These are the fashions created for Missy’s first solo show in Second Life last Monday evening titled “Jewels of Winter”.

You don’t actually have to be in-world to purchase these virtual garments. You can go to the Xstreet SL Marketplace, purchase them there and they will automatically be delivered to your inventory in-world or if you purchase them as a gift they will be delivered to your gift recipients inventory in world.

Here is a link to Missy’s Bella Fantastique – Midnight Sparkle collection at Xstreet. If the link does not work correctly go to Xstreet SL Marketplace and search for “Bella Fantastique – Midnight Sparkle.”

Links to other related blog postings about Missy:

Missy Lavecchia First Solo Show

December 7, 2009 4 comments

Missy Lavecchia had her first solo in-world show and exhibition this evening from 7-8pm ET with Jewels of Winter. The show was well attended and the fashion model exhibits were exquisite. I tried to catch some snapshots but I was having technical issues – I only caught a  few images. I was having difficulties with my video capture as well  – what I did manage to get was choppy but it will give you can idea of the exhibits. [UPDATE: Here is a link to Missy’s Bella Fantasique – Midnight Sparkle Collection that was exhibited at her first solo show.]

The setting was a magical winter wonderland. You teleported in to a circular boardwalk that spanned around the exhibition area. The outside perimeters of the boardwalk had mini exhibits with Missy’s fashions and the central area of the boardwalk had multiple models skating and continually moving about. All exhibits had large wrapped presents and the tags contained the fashion garments that were for sale. The prices were exceptionally reasonable.

Kuddos to Missy and also to her in-world mentor Shenlei Winkler from the Fashion Research Institute.

Here is a link to her XStreet fashion items.

Other blog postings related to Missy:

  • Missy’s SL Virtual Internship Interview
  • Virtual Fashion Internship Follow-Up Questions
  • Missy Lavecchia in Jewels of Winter
  • Bella Fantasique – Midnight Sparkle Collection
  • Missy Lavecchia in Jewels of Winter

    December 5, 2009 3 comments


    Please try to attend the student fashion installation in Second Life this Monday, December 7th from 7-8PM ET [4PM SLT/PT] for Missy Lavecchia, a Buffalo State fashion student. Missy has been interning for the past 9 months with  Shenlei Winkler [aka: Shenlei Flasheart in SL] from the Fashion Research Institute. This installation will represent Missy’s first solo show in Second Life.

    Shenlei Winkler, CEO pf the  Research Institute states that:

     “Missy will be showing formal gowns developed in rich jewel tones in honor of the holiday season.  Her gowns, fittingly enough, will be presented in an opulent winter wonderland of snow and ice.  A dozen gorgeous models and 4 handsome gentlemen callers will showcase Missy’s romantic gowns in a tableaux befitting the set.

    Please join us on Monday December 7th, at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT in Shengri La Second Life to celebrate the outstanding work of this star performer as her models show her work with aplomb.

    Here’s the SLurl Link to teleport you into SL for Missy’s show: The set will not be open to the public until 7 pm ET promptly – early arrivals will just end up wandering aimlessly around in our marketplace so please wait until 7pm ET to teleport over.”

    Missy has the Bella Fantastique boutique in Second Life. Here is a SLURL link to her boutique.

    Other blog postings related to Missy:

  • Missy’s SL Virtual Internship Interview
  • Virtual Fashion Internship Follow-Up Questions
  • Missy Lavecchia First Solo Show
  • Bella Fantasique – Midnight Sparkle Collection
  • First (Ever!) Virtual World-Based Fashion Design Conference

    December 2, 2009 Leave a comment

    Head on over to Shenlei Winkler’s [FRI] post detailing last minute preparation for the Threading the Needle Fashion Design Conference

    Patterning History:
    Preparing for the First (Ever!)
    Virtual World-Based
    Fashion Design Conference.

    I visited the conference area in the images below. Shenlei orientated my avatar and provided it with clothing, hair, skin and shoes. Thank you Shenlei! Here is a link to the FRI orientation page. I visited the conference area where I will be presenting.

    I managed to snap an image of Steven Zucker obsessing about his avatar’s nose. It look just fine to me Steven! 🙂

    %d bloggers like this: