Fashion Research Institute Internships in Avatar Apparel Design


Virtual apparel is a burgeoning market.  In 2008, more than $2.6 billion dollars of virtual goods were sold in virtual worlds, games, and immersive spaces just in China alone.  This figure is expected to double in 2009. Avatar apparel – clothing, accessories, and footwear worn by avatars – is a huge part of these sales.  Until now, there have been no programs specifically intended to help new designers become established in this area.      

Fashion Research Institute is pleased to announce 6 avatar apparel design internships to be conducted wholly in the immersive workspace it maintains in Second Life.  Interns will work directly with the CEO of Fashion Research Institute, Shenlei Winkler.

The focus of the internship is to develop specific skills for virtual goods development, specifically apparel with a lesser focus on accessories and footwear.  The intent of the internship is to assist interns to develop private design practices where they can create and sell their virtual goods. Interns are provided with classroom space, creation space, and store front space on the heavily trafficked Shengri La regions in Second Life.   This is an ideal internship for aggressive, bright, talented individuals who want to learn the ins and outs of virtual goods design, including how to develop their own label.  Annual sales for individual designers range but can top $125,000 a year in cash.   

These internships will begin June 9 and run until August 25.  Interns are expected to commit a minimum of 6-8 hours a week to the internship, with formal training sessions provided on Tuesday evenings from 6-10 pm ET.  Interns must commit to being present at these training sessions.  Direction is provided only in English.


Interns must provide their own Internet access and computer hardware and software sufficient to allow them access to the Institute’s classroom and facilities in the immersive Second Life regions of Shengri La.  Interns must have experience with and access to Photoshop (not provided). Interns must have a Second Life avatar account (available free), and are solely responsible for any fees related to their Second Life account.  Interns must also have a Skype account (also free).

Although the location of these internships is purely virtual (thereby saving travel & commutation expenses and reducing the carbon footprint of all involved), the level of instruction is not.  Interns who successfully complete the 12 week long program will receive a certificate of completion and may be eligible for admission into the Fashion Research Institute incubation program.

Applicants may be design students, recent graduates, or currently unemployed designers who need to retrain and learn new skills.

To apply, send your resume with 1-2 fashion images you have sketched or illustrated along with contact information to admin @

About Shenlei Winkler:

Shenlei Winkler (Shenlei Flasheart in SL) is a 30 year veteran of the fashion industry.  Her work spans both couture and mass market design and development for the real life apparel industry.  A successful designer, her lifetime sales of her real life apparel designs have now reached more than $70 million USD, with more than 25 million-dollar styles in her portfolio.  Her couture work has appeared extensively on stage and movie screen.  Winkler has also enjoyed success in Second Life, where she has designed fashion since 2005, with three popular brands including Prim & Proper (one of the top 400 Second Life earners in 2006), Flash & Trash, and Debutante. Her educational background includes three design degrees, including two from the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology.  Currently, she is the CEO and founder of the Fashion Research Institute which is focused on researching and developing virtualization technologies with particular emphasis for the apparel industry.  Her research areas include content licensing for virtual goods, virtualization of enterprise in immersive workspaces, OpenSim enterprise application development, and user immersion in virtual worlds.