Head over to the Fashion Research Institute’s Shengri La blog [by clicking the link above] and read Shenlei Winkler’s post about hosting two Buffalo State College virtual fashion interns. The students are preparing their real/virtual collections for the Runway 3.0 event May 1st in Buffalo, NY.
I would like to include a link to the Bella Fantasique blog that Missy started when her virtual fashion brand concept was developed in the summer of 2009. If you would like to visit Missy’s Bella Fantasique store in Second Life to see all the virtual fashion garments she has developed for yourself here is a SLurl to teleport you there. If you do not want to visit in-world yet but would like to see Missy’s fashions here is a link to her fashion products on the XSTREET Marketplace. You can purchase something there and have it delivered in-world to you or to someone else as a virtual gift.
After Missy’s SL Virtual Internship Interview ended and I uploaded the podcast, I thought of some additional questions others may have for Missy regarding this entire virtual internship experience. I sent the questions to Missy and her responses are below.
1. Are your Second Life experiences relavant to any of your fashion education classes? If so in what way?
My Second Life experiences are related to two fashion classes I have taken at Buffalo State college thus far, FTT208:Introduction to Fashion Technologies and FTT308: FashionCAD. Both are fashion CAD classes, using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Once I learned the basics in those two classes, I was able to learn so much more about those programs.
2. Do you feel that the experiences that you are simulating in second life regarding developing a brand and coordinated fashion lines, presenting and merchandising your brand integrates and simulates the knowledge and skills that you are learning in your fashion education classes?
If anything else, Second Life inspires me. I am eager to create and design garments and have the ability to change what I am making with a simple click of a button, instead of having to completely redo a sewn garment. I am faster at finding ways to get things done more efficiently in my fashion classes.
3. Are your fashion design and merchandising related experiences in Second Life providing you with a clearer picture of what is involved in the real world design and merchandising process? If so how?
Second Life is making having a fashion line real to me. It’s a fast pace enviroment and putting your ideas into Photoshop and Illustrator and then into Second Life virtually shows an image of what my designs would look like on a body, without the cost of materials and sewing time. I like seeing the progression of sketches to actual garments, and it cuts time so much shorter to see it on a virtual body first to make sure everything looks they way I want it. I also have always had a love for marketing and the business side of fashion, and I get to do this in SL by running my store and modeling. So it’s the best of both worlds… literally. [note from e.polvinen: Missy really does mean this literally because the Lindens $L she makes from selling her virtual fashions are easily converted into $US dollars.]
4. Would you recommend a virtual fashion design and merchandising experience to other fashion students?
I absolutely would recommend virtual design to other fashion students because that is where technology is taking us. If we have the programs available, it doesn’t hurt to get familiar with them, in order to make presentations and amazing concept boards. So many things are done now with the computer, so why not make fashion with it too?
From my own experience as a professor teaching fashion students introduction to fashion concepts in Second Life for the last three years, it is an ideal platform for developing unified fashion garment/line /brand concepts, building presentation skills, organizational skills, fashion terminology, business and marketing skills…and it’s an opportunity to makes real $$$.
Other blog postings related to Missy:
Missy’s Virtual Fashion Internship
In this Virtual Fashion Internship podcast I am asking Missy questions regarding the virtual internship PowerPoint she submitted to me upon completion of the project. Missy aka: Missy Lavecchia in Second Life is one of two Buffalo State Fashion Technology students that completed a virtual internship with Shenlei Winkler aka Shenlei Flasheart from the Fashion Research Institute in the summer of 2009. We are viewing the PowerPoint as we are discussing the internship.
We have been attempting to schedule this interview since September. After multiple postponements we finally managed to complete it in my campus office last Wednesday. I did not even notice the traffic noise in the background [including an ambulance] until after the interview was completed. We were viewing Missy’s PowerPoint as we discussed her reactions to the entire virtual internship experience.
You will hear in the interview that she developed a concept board for her brand, a color palette for her collection, presentation boards and packages as well as a customer service policy. Once her collection was completed she participated in a well attended virtual fashion show titled Fluid with two other interns.
Other blog postings related to Missy:
Here is a link to The Fluid Fashion show event that was the culmination of the internships for three fashion students.
Here is my post from the http://fitsl.wordpress.com/ summerizing my Presentation at FIT last Friday 11/30/07 and today 12/04/07 along with Beth Harris, Shenlei Winkler, and Nyla Kazakoff. Here is a link to some Flickr images from SL. Hopefully Beth or Shenlei will add some RL images.
FITat SL POST: ELaine Polvinen:
Teaching Fashion in a Virtual Environment
Left to right: Shenlei, Elaine and Nyla in SL
Elaine is wearing one of Nyla’s fashions
Beth spoke about her first experiences in SL and that she too was questioning the value that a virtual world could provide to educators. She spoke about how excited she felt when she arranged to meet up with a RL friend that she had not seen in a long time in SL. The emotional connection she experienced meeting that person in SL was totally new to her and far more connected then she thought could be possible in a virtual world. She has been researching the teaching possibilities every since.
Nyla [House of Nyla] spoke about how her virtual SL development is extending her RL designer brand on an international level and Shenlei Winkler [FRI] spoke about her research with the speed and cost effectiveness of product development in a virtual world. Shenlei is a RL fashion design product developer on a mass market level. She stated that the entire fashion product development process is currently undergoing rapid transformation over to virtual development. Development in a virtual world will enable fashion product developers to instantly “connect virtually” to work on design, develop and prototype a new product in a fraction of the time it take in the RL. Here is an article titled, ” Will your SL wardrobe soon be coming to a closet near you?” by Scarlett Qi that was posted today about her work in the SLNN Business News.
Nyla and Shenlei will be posting their summary on the FIT @ SL soon.
Beth and Shenlei were there in person and Nyla and I were in Second Life. This was a real experience for me especially since I was in the middle of a SUNY Project LIVE presentation at Monroe Community College last Friday and I left to participate virtually in the presentation at FIT. Talk about multi-tasking! At the same time my BSC students were watching audio/videos that I made to cover our weekly class scheduled at the same time. Whew! Technology is wonderful ….when it all works.
When it doesn’t you must always have a plan A, plan B, plan C, etc.
There is an interesting quote in the article “Virtual style? In Another Life, “9/19/07 in the London-based Financial Times by Sabrina Dent, alias Sabrina Doolittle, of Linden Lifestyles, Second Life “is an excellent platform for building relationships, cementing brands and building consumer loyalty – yet few real-life brands are doing those things correctly” adds Dent.This article is an excellent resource for anyone interested in retail branding and marketing in Second Life – it’s a must read. It addresses how Second Life can change the way we shop – but from what I have been seeing – avatars of all types are already changing the way we shop. My Virtual Model and E-Mees are well on their way to achieving that retail marketing goal – virtual worlds like Second Life are the logical next step. Here is an interesting piece about the making of the sidebar image (pictured above).
What happened? I know that iVillage ran Virtual Fashion Week in Second Life last February designed to coincide with Fashion Week but the overloading of avatars attempting to attend caused extreme “chaos” and ‘delay” as one blogger put it. Currently there are limitations of about 40 avatars per sim for live events in Second Life. I see the iVillage event used 4 sims so that would expand avatar limit to 150-160 for the event.
The in-world show can be viewed here and at the Girls Night Out at the i-village in Second Life site. It looks like they had great plans in the beginning but the limitation of virtual worlds are for major events are still a major obstacle. Some bloggers that attended expressed their frustrations. The concept was really great but it was ahead of it’s time – technology needs to catch up with it. The dilemma is that as the technology advances and the capabilities increase – users need to also upgrade to keep up. I spoke to some members of the iVillage group to ask if they had any communication from iVillage about events and happenings since the Girls Night Out Show in SL last Feb. No one has heard a thing – including myself. I did teleport over to the i-village Loft on Sheep Island (39,156,25) but it looks very vacant there – the HUD Tour was not working. One of my contacts stated that repeated attempts were made to contact iVillage regarding in-world events but there was no reply.
iVillage was ahead of their time planning for too large an event in Second Life but they started out with the key to building a successful virtual marketing strategy. They promoted well in the real world, started a group in-world and they created an on-line Girls Night Out blog in the real world – but it seems that they did not follow up. The last entry in the iVillage blog was Feb 2007 and no in-world events that I am aware of occurred since the Girls Night Out show . If I missed something or If anyone knows what is going on there – please let me know.
You can see from reading my previous posts that retailers like H&M and Sears are discovering that the secret to virtual marketing is by first embedding and integrating the brand and/or product into a social networking and/or game virtual environment. iVillage seems to have had the ball early on but dropped it after experiencing a setback based on large mega in world events that experienced technology constraints and perhaps too large of a learning curve for users new to virtual environments. Maybe they should have shifted their focus to regularly scheduled smaller in-world social events and worked to build on the social connection of the real world blog with lots of interconnectivity to the main iVillage site (especially the avatar related links). There is the “virtual hair stylest at iVillage, that is powered by the Hairstyler.com. iVillage also has the MVM and the Makeover O-Matic: Virtual Makover on their site. The virtual makeover lets the users customize hairstyles, make-up and accessories.
Makes one wonder if their media strategy and marketing company bit off more then they could chew with this start with a bang end with a fizzle virtual promotion campaign.
Perhaps the article from Communication Overtones titled” How to Successfully Promote Your Company in Second Life,” sums it up well. They concluded that to build a successful brand, companies need to create experiences vs. destination. I will add to that by suggesting that building social communities in controlled self-contained virtual environment like the H&M and Sears marketing strategies are currently doing will enhance and strengthen the brand identity as well as serve to provide a smooth transition (learning curve) for the target market to move seamlessly into a larger virtual environment in the near future.