Many people like to have huge “rezday” parties and all that. Being who I am, I mostly threw parties every year for my STORE instead. Since she (I guess lool) was born barely a month after I was into Second Life. (And I remember my Very First Sale too!) Not to mention being a retailer, a Fashionista, a Dressmaker, a CEO if you must – was my initial raison d’etre, and my focus really hasn’t changed much over these past six years. (And strange I’ve not yet even logged into SL once today either eeee! Just in a more reminiscing mood I guess…)
There aren’t that many people on the grid, much less clothing designers who were around before (GASP!) flex prims and even (eee!) sculpties for that matter. Online has its own time-space continuum and things move so fast longevity is rare, and rarer still in Virtual Worlds and even more so in Second Life.
I’m just glad I’m still around and I think I’ve weathered the changes pretty well, all things considered. Despite Linden Lab doing things like (yeah was just talking about this in AmberSpam the other day) having the eye creation template be backwards, huge seam line-up flaws on the sleeves and pants creation templates, and decided to implement flex on the prim “upside down”. So you couldn’t just make a previously static skirt into a flexi skirt via the Features tab – oh no! You had to start from scratch.
Many people wanted their favorite Ambergris gowns or dresses flexified, and I did a few one-on-one requests, but instead of re-creating some of my fabulous works into flexi – I just started fresh. Hey by that time I was trouper, and had learned a lot (including The Art Of The Flex) from my Mentor, Simone Stern. – I could handle it!
What I almost could not handle was finding out the feature that USED to bump you off anything you were sitting on, standing on, dancing on (pose ball, chair, dance ball etc) when you went to switch outfits – was actually a BUG…. That they took oh some THREE YEARS to get around fixing. Silly us, just thought that was How It Was And Ever Shall Be. I can’t TELL you how many work arounds I tried with the types of shows and displays I wanted to do, with models on rotating pose stands, switching from outfit to outfit….And here all that time it was a simple fix.
Somehow it was just worse it was a MISTAKE and not just “an SL thing”. Like how in RL a dress or a gown is usually a one-piece garment, but in SL you have to make a top and a skirt separate and make damn sure your seams match so it looks like the one-piece garment its supposed to be. Hey thats just How It Is in here.
You want to know how it felt as a content creator when SL got all hoity toity with their brand and copyright protection, and STILL. To this DAY – could give a heck about OUR brand and copyright protections? (wait, you do not want to know, really you DO NOT) There is a good reason the name of my store bears my Avatar’s name. And subsequently my copyrighted dot com website, and also this design blog. I took my cue from my very savvy mentor Simone Stern of Simone! Design. You do what you can to ensure whatever protections you can squirrel up.
I used to be the only Avatar on the grid with the first name: Ambergris. That lasted about two years. Now there’s lots more. But I dare any one of them to open up a business bearing THEIR name. Sorry. No Can Do Ma Petite ChouChou. Momma Spank. However, my name is by no means unique. Out in the Real World there’s an island resort named Ambergris Caye. (Now there’s one in SL too lool). There is also some obscure rock group named Ambergris. And yeah, also the whole “Morbid Secretion Of The Sperm Whale” that USED to make you rich if you found some. Now they process it synthetically. (to aide in the staying power of perfumes) But I still think if you found some of the natural stuff, it would bring in a pretty penny. I wanted my biz to stand out.
But enough about whale secretions. (ewwww!) What have things been like in SL these past 6 years? Bumpy. Fun. Crazy. Sad. Frustrating. Fantastic. Just like RL in many cases. That’s why I its called Second Life right? Many don’t like that name, but I think its a good fit. There is much you can here that you couldn’t possibly do in RL. Many of my clothing designs reflect that. Many people “get” that – a lot don’t. We are funny creatures, human beings. Here is a world where we can FLY and create dragons as pets…. and all you want to do wear is jeans that look exactly like the ones you’re wearing in RL. I don’t get that. But I DO get retail, so as much as I think its weird – yeah I have boring old look like RL jeans for you to buy if you MUST.
If that gravity-defying bustier on my Out-Of-This-World gown frightens you too much. Here: wear a pair of these SAFE JEANS. There you go.
A dragoneering friend of mine recently commented on my fashions saying something like: “They look painted on”. Which didn’t mean skin-tight when I queried him for more information. What I think he meant was that they look like ART. Like paintings like pictures like THAT. He said that was one of the things he loved about my stuff and likewise sent many friends to go shop at my store. Me Likey!
And it IS Art to me. I paint, I draw, I splash colors around, I dream designs, My Muse points me in directions I’d never think to go. How much FUN I’m going to have when I get to translate my SL fashions into RL clothing! I just need a sewing machine, a small business loan and all the episodes of Project Runway on DVD, and I’m THERE! Turning dreams into something real, even if its initially Virtual Reality – is in part what I think Second Life is all about. And when you can make monies with your dreams too, that ain’t bad either!
I made it through funky design templates, LL’s bloops and blunders, flexi and (barely) sculpties – and now I’m (sort of) tackling MESH. Mostly I’m in Wait And See mode. Most likely I will handle it like I’ve handled sculpts: I’ll buy the full perm stuff and Amberize it for ya! But the waiting part is to see the impact mesh will have on the fashion industry in SL:
Will my customers care about having mesh clothing offered? Will I have to incorporate mesh into my everyday designing? What are the pros and cons of mesh clothing? Will it even be worth my while? (last I heard, mesh uploads were going to be pricey – I haven’t heard a peep on that yet as it pertains to clothing.) That sort of thing.
What I do want to leave you with today, this my 6th rezday in SL is this: Be creative. Whether you are a content creator, retailer, consumer or whatever. Think out of the box – try new things. If your creations don’t turn out exactly as planned, you can always ditch them into my ever burning Bonfire Of Designs That Must Never See The Light Of Day ;)
But you will have grown from the experience and have always learned something too. So hang in there and one day you too will be able to look back over the years and say: OMG! What a Ride! weeeeHOOO!
Ambergris Deadly Fashions, Dark Weddings, AmberStrands Hair Salon, Risatina Makeup and Skins, AmberAnims Model Poses, AmberTramp, Breedable Dragons, AmberBrats Clothing For Kids: The List Goes ON.