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Missy’s SL Virtual Internship Interview

November 21, 2009 5 comments

 

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:

  • Virtual Fashion Internship Follow-Up Questions
  • Missy Lavecchia in Jewels of Winter
  • Missy Lavecchia First Solo Show
  • Bella Fantasique – Midnight Sparkle Collection
  • Here is a link to The Fluid Fashion show event that was the culmination of the internships for three fashion students.

    Virtual Fashion Education

    November 21, 2009 Leave a comment

    Buffalo State Fashion in Second Life

    In the spring of 2007 and 2008 I had students participate in a Second Life fashion project that involves developing a series of garments and participating in a virtual fashion show. Here is a link to that 2007 project. We did a similar project in the spring of 2008 but I never had the time to organize and upload it to the Web. The virtual fashion class [link to post below] took place in the fall of 2008 and involved more advanced works in Second Life from students that completed the intro to Second Life class project that I presented in the second half of the FashionCAD class. I have developed an Intro to Second Life for Fashion Learning Module Series that anyone can use.

    You can visit the Buffalo State island in Second Life to see all the student collections. Here is a SURL link to the student exhibit area.  All of their virtual garments are available for free. There is an exhibit remaining from a virtual/real marketing project students did with Sears. Students created replicas of Sears catalog items available free in Second Life and linked to the real item for purchase. The real items are now discontinued so only virtual items are available.

    Part of a real/virtual series developed as part of a virtual fashion project in the fall of 2008. They are located on the Buffalo State island in the fashion exhibit area.

    MueMeu's Fat Cat Tee

    In the student stores that  still remain –  items that are available virtually in Second Life are also linked to real items from the ZAZZLE site.  MeuMeu was a student designer that created a series of virtual tees in her SL store that linked to real ZAZZLE versions of the shirts. Here is a SURL link to teleport you to her store. See video below to illustrate how you would view the real life version from inside SL. Her virtual tee image [right, free in SL] links to her blog posting from the project.

    Some links to previous posts:

    Virtual Fashion Internships

    Yes you are reading the heading correctly, virtual fashion internships are happening in Second Life. How do I know about them? I know about them because two of my fashion students recently completed virtual fashion internships and three students are currently working on a specialized virtual/real world project in Second Life. Who are they working with? They are working on the virtual portion of the project with Shenlei Winkler aka Shenlei Flasheart in Second Life from The Fashion Research Institute. 

    In my next post I will be interviewing Missy, a FashionCAD student that completed a virtual fashion internship in Second Life.

    Shenlei Winkler [Fashion Research Institute in Second Life]

    This all started in the spring of 2009 with students from my FashionCAD class. Last spring I was having a meltdown helping to prepare for the big Runway 2.0 production at Buffalo State college. Shenlei Winkler filled in for me with the FashionCAD students by working virtually with them on the Second Life project. Students signed on to Second Life and met up with Shenlei at the fashion Research institute. Students were teleported to the Fashion Research Institute

    She guided them through various exhibits where they learned how to walk, fly, place items into their inventories, they were able to get skins, accessories, clothing hair, etc. Once they familiarized themselves in Second Life she teleported them up to a special fashion instructional area where all students were provided with a studio/office of their own. You can see a birds-eye view of the studio/office rooms that were created for each student in the images above. Each student was expected to decorate their office/studio room.

    The images above [The instructor] show Shenlei Winkler aka Shenlei Flasheart in Sl gathering the FashionCAD students around her for their lessons in Second Life.  She instructed them during class in the central area and assigned homework.

    There was a  central instructional area and students were posing to be photographed in their new outfits that they created. The Second Life project lasted about 6 weeks and concluded with a fashion Show. Below  is a group photo taken just after the fashion show ended,  Shenlei’s avatar is on the right front wearing a suit.

    Group pose of FashionCAD student and Shenlei Winkler

    Shenlei invited the best students to participate in a virtual internship with her. Missy was one of those selected. In my next post I will interview Missy and we will learn about her virtual fashion internship. 

     
    Here is a link to my FLICKR photo set that shows some of the FashionCAD students being instructed by Shenlei in Second Life.

    FRI offers courses, orientation programs, textbooks, and complete programs available as OAR files, ready to license to other institutions. Individuals are welcome to register for courses directly with FRI Here is a link to learn more about virtual fashion educational opportunities in Second Life.

    How Clothes Are Made in Second Life:Part III – UV MAPS

    August 11, 2008 5 comments

    UV MAPS TO CREATE GARMENTS IN SL

     

    Finn1 Flintlock
    Another way to create fashion in SL is to download the UV maps and create garments directly on to the UV maps an upload them to SL and apply them on your avatar in APPEARANCE. Avatar UV Maps are 2D representations of a 3D virtual avatar. The markings on the UV map serve as guides to help with matching the seams of the virtual garments that are created that will then be virtually “mapped” on to the 3D avatar.

    An excellent way to start is to follow Robin Wood’s T-Shirt Tutorial and create your very own T-shirt graphic for your avatar. Robin provides a link to download a ZIP file of the T-Shirt Template and there are links included  to follow the step by step tutorial.

     

     
    Here is a link to a video tutorial I made to demonstrate how you can use Robin’s T- Shirt Template to very quickly make a custom T-Shirt & upload it to Second Life. The next video in this mini-series will demonstrate to you how to create multiple garments that coordinate with the new T-Shirt you created and explains the file permissions on the new garments. It is titled Make Outfit in Appearance, Save it and Set Permissions. Once you created and saved your new outfit you need to wear it and go to the poseballs and take a snapshot to disk – here is a third video tutorial titled Pose With the Poseballs, Snapshot to Disk in Sl. The fourth video this mini-series will demonstrate for you how to make a mannequin for Second Life by extracting the background, making a transparency channel, using the Smudge Tool and uploading it to SL.

    Once you get the idea how UV maps are used by using Robin’s T-shirt template you can download a full set of her UV templates from her site and move on to creating more UV mapped garments. Robin’s site is an excellent resource and there are additional links to how to make lace textures, how to add transparencies, adding patterns to cloth and so on.

    Just like in the real world of fashion there are many different quality levels of fashions in Second Life. Some UV Mapped garments in particular can require an exceptionally high level of digital graphic illustration skills. There are many extremely talented and highly skilled digital virtual fashion design artists in Second Life. SL fashion design artists use their digital illustration skills on the UV Maps to create highly detailed garments from scratch and they often enhance their creations with prim attachments like flexi-skirts, hats, collars, shoes, belts, etc. UV Maps are also used to create a variety of custom avatar skins as well as tattoos.

    There are many beginner SL fashion designers and amateurs that create and try to sell tons of rip-off or knock-offs of fashion items just like in the real world of fashion. Many of the freebie garments in Second Life are created by placing the front and back of a Web image on to the UV Map. Some of these images are then modified and others are just copied “as is” from the real world item. Also as there are technical “product quality” issues in the real world there are also digital quality issues such as “are the seams closed?” “are the seams matched?” What is the digital overall technical quality level of the UV Mapped garment in addition to creative originality of the virtual UV Mapped fashions?

    The creation of TEXTURES correlate indirectly to the creation of surface print patterns for industry that fashion designers in the real world need to make but the skills needed for UV Mapped garments and PRIM building in Second Life are only remotely related to the skills that real world fashion students require. Real world fashion students need to know how to create fashion product sketches [flats or fashion croquees], technical product specification and costing sheets, a variety of client presentation boards as well as to gain flat pattern drafting and pattern-making skills to actually create the garment pattern and then acquire the skill to assemble the garment in the real world. The file organization skills that are required to create and sell fashion garments in SL are excellent organizational and basic business start-up skills for fashion students as well as learning to work in a 3D environment. [ex: store layout & design and fashion show production] The fashion industry is shifting over to multi-dimensional product development for use in design as well as merchandising so gaining 3D conceptional skills in a virtual application like Second Life is a valuable transitional skill for fashion students.

    Here are three excellent links from Natalia Zelmanov’s Blog that explain the UV Maps and how to use them to create clothing in Photoshop. Natalia has a variety of highly detailed and well-illustrated  step-by-step directions on how to build all sorts of fashion related items for Second Life. Robin Wood’s and Natalia Zelmanov’s blogs were a Godsend to me when I first “literally fell” into the virtual world of Second Life.

    Clothing Texture Templates: A discussion of SL clothing templates (Robin Wood’s in particular) and how the flat template files map onto the avatar’s body

    Creating Clothes Pt 1: Making clothes using the Second Life texture maps

    Creating Clothes Pt 2: Making clothes using the Second Life texture maps

    Here is another link from Natalia’s  blog that will show you how to create clothes using the UV maps with GIMP (free program like Photoshop) and UV maps to create a garment. Day 181: Creating Clothes with GIMP

    Next Post in this Series: How Clothes Are Made in Second Life:Part IV – PRIMS

    Previous Posts in this Series:

    Virtual Fashion FRI Spring/Summer 2010 Courses

    © 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.

    Intro to Second Life: Part I

    March 24, 2008 1 comment

    Sorry it has been so long since my last post but I have been very busy with teaching and traveling to a conference. I will try to make up for that this week during spring break.

    A new beginning Second Life Class project in my current FashionCAD class is starting every Tuesday on the Buffalo State Island. I will try too post what we are doing week to week. During the last two hours of the four hour class on 3/18/08, I demonstrated what it was like to walk, fly, text and look around in Second Life. I teleported to the Buffalo State island and showed students what other students have completed in past Second Life projects.

    Then I asked students in the class to sign up for Second Life and their assignment for the next class  [after the spring break 3/31/08] was to complete the self-tutorial on Orientation Island and send me (via-email) their real name and their SL avatar name.

    Here is a link to the last Intro to FashionCAD project post in my spring 2007 FashionCAD class.

    To be continued in this post… Fashion CAD OpenCourseWare Basic Function Series: Intro to Second Life for Fashion Students

    On another note, there was a recent article printed in Buffalo Business First March 17th by Tracey Drury about the Second Life projects at Buffalo State titled, “High fashion, virtually with cyber designs.”

    Teaching and Learning in Four Dimensions, April 25th, 2008 at FIT

    Teaching and Learning in Four Dimensions will be the theme of Technology Day at FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology] in New Your City on April 25th, 2008.

     The deadline for submitting a proposal is March 15th. Proposals should be no more than 250 words. Possible topics include innovative approaches to online learning, teaching with technology in a specific discipline, hybrid (blended) learning, collaborative teaching models, best practices in using instructional technology, faculty support models, assessing student learning with technology.

     Here is the Technology Day at FIT link.

    I will be one of the speakers, my presentation is titled, My Avatar Myself: How Avatars are Transforming Product Development, Marketing, Retailing and Education.

    Also presenting will be:

    • W. James Au & Janine Hawkins, “The Second Life of Fashion Design: Metaverse as Prototype Platform”
    • Shenlei Winkler, Fashion Research Institute
      Leveraging the Power of Virtual Worlds for Product Design
    • Raymond Yee, Author of Pro Web 2.0 Mashups: Remixing Data and Web Services
    • Mary Ellen Gordon,
      Dressing for Two: What Avatars and their Humans Buy and Wear
    • Louise Guay, CEO of My Virtual Model

    IBM Presents The Future of Fashion Product Development & Shopping

    February 8, 2008 2 comments

    shenlei_pd4 

    Several months ago I mentioned an article titled, ” Will your SL wardrobe soon be coming to a closet near you?” by Scarlett Qi posted about her product development work in the SLNN Business News.

    If you remember – Shenlei Winkler has been mentioned in previous posts relating to her activities at Prim & Proper in Second Life but also relating to her partnership with IBM in the virtual product development project. Shenlei Winkler is the Director of the Fashion Research Institute.

    Here is a link to a great video relating to the virtual product development project Shenlei Winkler has been working on with IBM….
    MUST WATCH VIDEO LINK>IBM Creates the Chic Accessory for Designers  In Tuesday’s Random Acts of Fashion, Kristin Bentz shows how IBM’s virtual technologies can cut down on design costs.

    shenlei_pd1
    Shenlei Winkler demonstrating virtual PLM solution.

      

    Shenlei invited me to see the virtual (PLM) solution area that is featured in the video – some images of the visit are posted here….it was quite impressive. There were costing sheets, color swatches, multiple color and pattern presentations, and a 3D fashion product that you avatar could see from all angles. could instantly be made to modify the color and pattern as well as the product itself. This is cost effective quick response at “virtual warp speed.” As the video above states this virtual “real time” product development process “reduces the cycle time, reduces the error rate and reduces the cost.”

    shenlei_pd2

    A press release announced today (2/7/08) by IBM titled: New IBM Podcast Gives Listeners a Glimpse Into “The Future of Shopping,” has a podcast titled “The Future of Shopping,” the fourth episode in its 2008 series of conversations with thought leaders on how technology will change everyday life. Here is another link to the podcast announcement from MSN MONEY.

    Here is another interesting IBM fashion-related video link. It’s part of IBM’s “immersive retailing experience.” This video is titled “IBM’s 3D Device Too Sexy for the Catwalk.” Talented Blonde Kristen Bentz shows you how IBM will bring the catwalk into your living room – changing the face of fashion and retail. Here is a link to a Retail Technology blog post about it.

    Watch the videos and listen to the podcast …

    shenlei_pd3

    Several months ago Shenlei gave several presentations at FIT in NY and Nyla Kazakoff from the House of Nyla and I also presented – but Nyla and I presented virtually from inside Second Life.

    Here are link to Shenlei’s  posts titled:

    Meet Shenlei Winkler aka: Shenlei Flasheart in Sl

    Shenlei Winkler: Virtual Product Development

    IBM & Apparel Retailers: Why advocacy matters to retailers

    Virtual Fashion @ Target

    December 22, 2007 Leave a comment
    target.jpg

    I have been waiting for a video of the target virtual holograph fashion show that was held in Vanderbilt Hall at the Grand Central Terminal in New York City several weeks ago, November 6 & 7th, 2007. Here is the link to the Target news release about the “world’s first model-less fashion show.” I don’t think I would have chosen to promote the show quite that way.

    According to Renata Espinosa from the Fashion Wire Daily in the post titled, ” No Models, No Problem: Virtual Fashion Show Turns Grand Central Into Runway,” dated 11/07/07

    “While the holographic projection was too fast-paced and far away to distinguish any of the individual looks from one designer to the next for commuters just casually passing through the terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall, where the virtual show was staged, it was nonetheless an eye-catching spectacle. “

    I enjoyed the video. I thought the presntation was really creative and exciting but I agreed with comments that pointed out the speed of the show. The design of the display left me somewhat disappointed that the virtual fashions were not able to “pop out” of that flat screen. Watch it for yourself and see how you feel about it.

    Here is a link to the NY Times review by Eric Wilson. I was able to locate tons of pre-show announcements but not too many post show reviews. I think people were excited about the holograph technology but seemed to be dissapointed that the show ran too fast to get a really good look at the fashions. I must say that is usually my main complaint with “live” models wizzing by so fast that I cannot focus on the fashion items. The other issue I noticed in comments was about the design of the exhibit – that big circular stage-like “Target” object below and in front of the screen just made the viewer wish that those virtual holograph fashions could walk right out of the flat screen towards the viewers to make it really appear three deminsional, something along the runway holograph concept in the Diesel videos below. In that show, the abstract holographs were projected along the runway to enhance the live models. The feedback for that show was positive except that some felt the holographic effects overshadowed the the primary focus of the show – the fashions. Kuddos to both Target and Diesel for breaking out of the box and “pushing the boundries,” with these virtual shows.

    Target virtual holograph fashion show video above and Diesel videos below.

     Here is a link to a post about Diesel’s Spring 2008 fashion show in Trendhunter Magazine Holographic Fashion Show – Diesel’s Fashion Show Adds New Dimension (VIDEO)

    China: Virtual Red Star Rising

    December 20, 2007 3 comments

    I don’t know if you are aware of the various virtual world activities that have been taking place in China in the last several years… if your not – you should be because there is one gargantuan virtual project that has the potential to “rock” the status quo of western economies and transform product development, sourcing, distribution and retailing on a global scale.

    Chinese Second Life Competitors

    There is an excellent review and detailed comparison of the two primary Chinese Second Life competitors, Hipihi and Novoking in the Masters of the Media blog post dated 10/24/07 by Pieter-Paul Walraven  titled,  Virtual Worlds in Modern China.

    Novoking allows users to integrate popular 3D graphics software like Maya and 3DMax. Hipihi as lots of features and a fast learning curve compared to Second Life. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Chinese government regulates virtual worlds.

    The Paul Walraven post has multiple links to additional sources for both Hipihi and Novoking.

    Linden Lab entered into an agreement with RTMAsia recently to have RTMAsia act as direct representatives for Linden Lab in China, responsible for the development of business partnerships, management of business operations and liaison with media and industry bodies.

    VIRTUAL RED STAR RISING: CRD

    crd.jpg

    The Beijing Cyber Recreation District is the one gargantuan virtual project that has the potential to “rock” the status quo of western economies. There have been posts about this project since the beginning of 2007. This virtual mega project currently underway in Beijing incorporates partnerships between private industry and the Chinese government. I guess government “partnerships” are the way the Chinese government will solve the virtual regulation issue.

    The Beijing Cyber Recreation District is the “online counterpart” to Beijing’s China Recreation District (CRD), a real-world mega-project that will boast entertainment and shopping; the center is set to open in time for the 2008 Olympics, according to the AP, the Beijing Cyber Recreation District with support from the Chinese government is currently undertaking the worlds largest (80 square kilometer complex) virtual world development. As of 11/26/07, over 200 game and multi-media content producers were currently working on site in western Beijing.

    According to an article in the Virtual World News 11/26/07 titled, “China’s Grand Virtual Worlds Plan – A First Hand Look.”

    “The CRD’s goal is to create a virtual economy providing infrastructure and platforms through which any business – not just those based in China – can come in world and sell their real-world products and services.  While a concerted effort will be placed on bringing Chinese businesses and consumers in world, the effort is worldwide and open to businesses and consumers from any country.  The entire project is expected to launch in June 2008.”

    Here is a link to an article from Gigaom titled, “Chinese Government Gets Into Virtual World Business,” by Wagner James Au, 11/27/07 that has more information on the project.

    An article in Computer Weekly titled, “China uses virtual worlds to transform business,” by John Riley, posted 11/02/07 states that the CRP project currently underway in Beijing plans:

    “- to use virtual worlds to supply customized goods to consumers across the globe. So far 200 manufacturers have ­located to the physical CRP site, ready to receive orders from virtual world customers when the project formally opens next summer, prior to the Beijing Olympic Games.”

    Clothing manufacturers will be the first group to offer the service. On 11/14/07 it was announced that the CRD signed Berkam Group, one of the world’s largest clothing makers and the first entrant into the Virtual Economic Zone.  The CRD is committed to developing an open, secure and accessible environment that can easily handle currency conversions. Wow this is really a big deal that can totally transform product design, development, sourcing and supply chain.
    The article the goes on to say:

    “Swedish companies are leading the way in collaboration. Paynova is providing international online payment services, and MindArk, which produces the Entropia Universe virtual world, is helping provide a virtual world infrastructure. CRP is also working with MasterCard, Visa and the China Everbright Bank to build a financial platform, and with suppliers including IBM.”

    Gemma Simpson in her article titled, “China’s virtual plans are out of this world,” 06/06/07 in silocon.com states:

    “An estimated 10,000 jobs will be created in China on the back of this deal, with staff working from home inside the Entropia Universe.”

    According to an AP article in MSNBC, 10/15/07 titled “China plans virtual world for commerce,” the Beijing CRD will evolve into a “far bigger” version of e-bay.

    In fact, the CRD founders state that this virtual world project “will help the manufacturing superpower evolve into an e-commerce juggernaut.” Whew, that is a scary concept because a “juggernaut” is a force that is unstoppable and will crush everything in it’s path. Read that last sentence defining a “juggernaut” over – slowly – several times.

    A primary goal of the project is to promote just-in-time manufacturing and to get rid of the middleman by providing “direct links between tens of thousands of Chinese manufacturers and millions of individual customers around the world. “

    In the AP article in Linexinsider by Rachel Konrad posted 10/27/07 titled, “China’s Virtual World Plans,” Chi Tau Robert Lai, chief scientist of the virtual world states that the ambitious Beijing CRD virtual world project,” in addition to connecting factories with people outside China, the project will allow businesses outside China to tap the nation’s burgeoning middle class.”

    The Victor Keegan article I posted earlier from the Guardian  titled, “Virtual China looks for real benefits,” expresses concerns about what will be left for the western world to do to generate $$$ if this Chinese virtual world directly connects  manufacturers to the consumer and eliminates the middle man.  Right now the western worlds are benefiting financially from huge wholesale and retail markups on Chinese manufactured goods. I have to be honest – from the individual point of view as a consumer and from the perspective of an entrepreneur this is exciting news but what effect will this have on the overall western economies? I guess we will all have to adjust to the transformational changes this project has the potential to trigger. There are some cynics out there regarding the feasibility of success with attaining the CRD goals but I have absolutely no doubt at all that the Chinese will succeed in all of the goals (including Interoperability, secure virtual ID and open access) they have set out for this virtual mega-world project.  One thing I do know is that the US economists and pundits either are in a state of denial or they have absolutely no understanding about the transformational impact this virtual project can have on the current world status quo. They also consistently underestimate China’s strategic long-term focus – they are deluding themselves.

    The Chinese Virtual world, “now under construction, will have all the infrastructure (server farms, communication links, electricity, banking links, logistics etc) needed to make this the world’s one-stop shop for consumers and producers.”

    The Keegan article goes on to state that the current planning is for 150 million avatars and 7 million on at any one time but planning is underway for “billions of avatars” that will eventually be supported. Seven million avatars on at one time totally blows away the current Second Life capacity of about 40,000 at any one time.

    According to the CDR.GOV.CN site on a 11/08/07 posting

    “The fast growth of the virtual world industry drives lots of governments in the world thinking that to own the key technologies of virtual world will be the quickest way to become the winner of international economy in the future. ‘China Virtual Economy District’ has provided an idea of a brand-new business model of virtual world industry to help traditional enterprises become virtual enterprises easily.”

    The implications and impact of this Chinese virtual world currently under development will have on western economies cannot be overstated, The ultimate goal is to repeat in the virtual world what China has already accomplished in manufacturing!

    reBang has an excellent post on this subject titled, When Retail Goes Virtual.

    The next Virtual Worlds Conference will be April 3-4, 2008 in NYC.

    Virtual Worlds Management Industry Forecast 2008


    Digg!

    Virtual World R&D Goals: Interoperability, Secure Virtual ID, Open Access

    December 19, 2007 Leave a comment

    In the article titled: Open borders sought for virtual worlds by Scott Hillis 10/10/2007 in Boston.com

    “Interoperability is emerging as a key goal of the nascent virtual world industry, which attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in investment on the hopes that video-game graphics and rich 3-D environments will supplant flat Web pages.”

    The current virtual world closed proprietary systems limit growth. An analogy (on a much smaller scale) would be to compare today’s virtual world limitations to the early years of industrial CAD Textile systems. All files that were generated by these industrial CAD systems were proprietary. If the user designed something in an off the shelf application (that developed a variety of user friendly functions and tools far more rapidly because the mass market drove the development) they could not import it into the CAD system or even export it out. There was a huge user generated demand in the industry to allow universal file formats that could be imported and exported from the closed proprietary systems. That is when TIF, TGA’s and BMP files (universal raster file formats)  were introduced to these systems. Even the hardware systems for these industrial applications were proprietary at one time. The demands of the customer base drove and opened the development then just as it doing now with virtual worlds.

    Virtual world users today are driving the demand for a secure virtual identity, open virtual worlds and interoperability.  As soon as an open, secure system is developed everyone will flock to it immediately, closed systems that choose to remain closed will fast become obsolete.

    Currently there is simultaneous research into development of a secure virtual identity along with “Freeing the Avatars” to become transferable between different virtual venues. Hillis referred to it as a “virtual passport.” Once the avatars are transferable a secure virtual Identity application is critical to practicability for commercial use.  In a recent interview Louise Guay, Founder of My Virtual Model stated , “MVM’s mission is to create the standard for the virtual identity. This is also one of the many goals of the recent partnership developed between Linden Lab and IBM. Here is the official announcement.

    According to a previous post titled: Part IV: MVM – Competitive Advantage in the Near Future (BrandME – Personal ID)

    “BrandME will also include a user ID feature to protect the users virtual identity. MVM currently works with companies like Fidelity, Bank of America.  Big corporations are seriously looking at the virtual identity concept because as people are revealing so much personal information and storing it –they need to have the protection, safety and support of big companies.”

    In case you were not aware IBM has a huge presence in Second Life. They (IBM) have a series of private and public islands in Second Life. According to their Innovation & Research Web page titled, “Virtual worlds come to life at IBM

    “IBM has been experimenting on extending virtual worlds for business in three key areas: virtual commerce and work with clients to apply virtual worlds to business problems; driving new kinds of collaboration and education; and experimentations on pushing the limits with a broad community on what might be possible in virtual worlds.”

    To be continued…

    Jewels of Winter Fashion Show

    December 17, 2007 Leave a comment

    I attended the Prim & Proper Jewels of Winter fashion show today in Second Life and it was exceptionally beautiful. All of the fashions that were in the show are available at Prim & Proper’s flagship store located in the nature sims of Shengri La. All fashions are created by Shenlei Flasheart (aka: Shenlei Winkler in real life.)

    Meet Shenlei Winkler aka: Shenlei Flasheart in Sl


    Here is a view from behind the seats before the show started.


    The Jewels of Winter stage.

     


    Here is a link to more of my FILCKR images of the show.

    Virtual Worlds & China….

    December 12, 2007 Leave a comment

    Prim & Proper’s winter runway show: Jewels of Winter

    December 11, 2007 Leave a comment

    FIT @ SL VIDEO

    December 9, 2007 Leave a comment

    This is the FIT@SL video post from the presentations at FIT 12/4/07.

    Watch the Video!

    It’s a MOV file that needs Quicktime and it takes a bit long to download but I think you will enjoy it.

    Fashion + Virtual + Technology

    December 8, 2007 4 comments

    I received an excellent link about virtual technology and the fashion industry from JeanRicard Broek this evening. It’s called Tech and fashion just off the runway, posted by Candace Lombardi, 12/04/07.

    One of the links was all about the meeting at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston this past Tuesday. The event was hosted by Moda e Technologia.There were some big players there including Linden Labs and MVM.

    The talk there was about the fashion industries virtually developing worlds that focus on the themes and lifestyles that they try to develop with their fashion collections and brands.

    The hope is that infusing fashion into the virtual worlds will pull in shoppers that otherwise would not even think to venture into the virtual worlds. I respectfully suggest that they focus primarely on the tweens that are already addicted to the various proprietary virtual worlds. The only way you will get the masses to shop in a virtual world on a mass market level is through the Web Browser – get busy developers…..Linden Lab? IBM? MetaPlace? MVM? Free the Avatars for all of us!

    Boy oh boy do I agree with the quote from Dennis Valle, director of media interaction at Dolce & Gabbana, who said that “the move to digital is a big jump that will require teaching a whole industry a new vocabulary and explanation of context.”

    Hey Dennis – the move to digital was 20 years ago – the move now is to 3D virtual reality – I believe that is what you were referring to. The move to virtual is now rapidly converging from all directions and if you think it’s going to be a big job to teach the industry how would you like to try to change the monolithic educational system to respond to today’s fast changing virtual technology advances?

    I loved the question that the audience asked of Louise Guay from MVM, they must have delighted her.

    The other article in CNET News titled, ” CAD software is the new black
    By Candace Lombardi, 12/07/07

    Now this is an area (CAD for textiles & apparel) I definitely have expertise in because I have been researching, teaching, retooling and developing coursework in this area for about 20 years now. In fact, the title of my M.F.A. thesis was “CAD Applications for textiles,” (are you ready?) in 1989!

    Actually the article was quite through with mentioning the major CAD players except for the BIG exclusion of OptiTex – the top of the line unparalled 3D product development application and of course SymmetryWorks and ClicDesign plug ins for Adobe. Here is a link to my previous post on Optitex: It’s a Reality: Optitex Enables Total Integration 2D>3D>2D Fashion Product Development

    avatar-jeans-dress-444x548.jpg
    Do you believe this?

    Lectra and Gerber are very, very big players but their 3D applications are late comers and are behind the application development and upgrading of OptiTex.  Did you see the promotional Gerber 3D virtual images above with the ragged white pixels  around the virtual figures? I don’t even believe that one. They both have loads of other fashion/textile/product development related software though.


    I don’t get it?

    I must say I downloaded and explored the (Lectra) Kaledo 3D Trend application (pictured above) several months ago and for the love of me I could not figure out why someone would want to do 3D virtual trend presentation in a proprietary application (that they pay $$ for) when they could do exactly the same thing and much more (trend presentation and product development) in Second Life (which is free) and actually present it to your clients in a virtual setting similar to the product lifecycle management solution that the Fashion Research Institute is developing with IBM.

    The article concludes with the Lectra Americas President David Rode stating that “he’s very interested to see how fashion executives respond to the idea of designing for avatars and extending their visions into the virtual space.”  Quite frankly, so am I. Good luck David getting the fashion executives to wrap their 2D minds around that virtual vision, you should journal that research project.  You will have your work cut out for you as I am sure some of them are still struggling with the digital transformation that took place 20 years ago. I hear from various industry sources that the need to continually upgrade hardware/software just to keep pace with the rapid advances currently taking place in the industry is not always welcomed or understood…in this country at least.  I think you may have more luck with the product lifecycle solution or the 3D virtual Web Browser that will surely come soon…. FREE THE AVATARS!
     
    Thank you JeanRicard.

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