Virtual Fashion Internships for Winter 2010

Virtual apparel is a burgeoning market.  In 2007, more than $2.6 billion dollars of virtual goods were sold in virtual worlds, games, and immersive spaces.  This figure is expected to double in 2010. 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.

After more than 3 years of development, the Fashion Research Institute is pleased to announce 5 avatar apparel design internships to be conducted wholly in the immersive workspaces it maintains in OpenSim and Second Life.

The focus of the internship is to develop 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 and creation space in FRI’s OpenSim regions, and store front space on the heavily trafficked Shengri La regions in Second Life.  Interns are taught using the patent-pending design methodology created by Fashion Research Institute, which is applicable to both avatar apparel and to their work developing physical apparel.

These internships will begin January 25th and run until April 30.  Interns are expected to commit a minimum of 6-8 hours a week to the internship, with formal training sessions provided on Monday evenings from 6-9 pm ET.  Interns must commit to being present at these training sessions.  Instruction is provided only in English.

At the end of their internships, interns’ work will be presented in a virtual fashion runway show, with live models which the interns will style from hair to shoes.  All interns will complete their internship with Fashion Research Institute with a completed collection of avatar apparel including concept boards to product ads, which may be added to their portfolio. A final presentation of their work will be created.  Our Summer interns’ runway show can be viewed here.


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 OpenSim and 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 (free) with access to it during training periods.

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 currently enrolled in design school or recent graduates. Some design experience and background is required; these internships are not suitable for freshmen.  Internships begin January 25th.

To apply, send your resume with 1-2 fashion images you have sketched or illustrated along with contact information to admin @  Deadline for application is January 15th.


Views of Fernland on ScienceSim

We were honored recently when we were asked by the team at Intel Labs to develop 16 landscaped and terraformed regions for use in Aaron Duffey’s Fernland regions, which were recently seen as part of Intel CTO Justin Rattner’s keynote at Supercomputing 09.  The Fernland regions include a dozen outer regions developed for visual appeal, and four central regions which contained Aaron’s actual data visualization of his fern genome simulations.

The regions include about 100,000 life forms which include spores, gametophytes, and sporophytes.  (The gametophytes are the small flat green things, the sporophytes are the more fernlike objects).  We shot these images last Saturday, just before Fernland’s servers were taken offline to take over to the Supercomputing 09 site, but we held off showing them till after the keynote.  Here is Fernland on the ScienceSim grid, in all of its glory, ferns and all.

Remember, you can visit Fernland in ScienceSim – just make an avatar or Hypergrid over and then locate Fernland on the world map and teleport over.

Land in the outer apron regions – you’ll be rerouted because they are one megaregion, but once there, you will be able to see the entire sweeping set of regions.

Thanks again to the team for inviting the Fashion Research Institute to contribute to this effort for Aaron’s ferns.

Shenlei Winkler, CEO, Fashion Research Institute, Speaking at Supercomputing 09

Shenlei Winkler, CEO, Fashion Research Institute, will be joining Intel CTO Justin Rattner on stage at his keynote speech at Supercomputing 09 to discuss how high performance computing coupled with virtual world technology such as OpenSim can help the apparel industry design its product faster, better, and with less waste.  This keynote will be streamed over the web on the Supercomputing 09 website on Tuesday, at 11:30 am ET/8:30 am PT.

Fashion Research Institute is a NYC-based company working in the areas of OpenSim-based technology applications for the apparel industry.  FRI has been leading the industry in innovative design concepts using virtual worlds to cut costs, cut design and development time, and reduce the industry’s carbon footprint – in some cases by as much as 65%.

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 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.

She has also been instrumental in developing large-scale creative installations in OpenSim-based worlds, most notably Shengri La Spirit, previously hosted by IBM, and Shengri La Gallery, both of which may currently be visited as publicly accessible regions hosted by Intel Corporation on the ScienceSim grid.

Founder of the Fashion Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on helping designers achieve their dreams with dignity, integrity and respect, she is currently the CEO of the Fashion Research Institute which is focused on researching and developing virtualization technologies with particular emphasis for the apparel industry. She is an adjunct professor at FIT and Buffalo State University. Her research areas include content licensing for virtual goods, apparel industry virtualization in immersive workspaces, OpenSim enterprise application development, and user immersion in virtual worlds. Her most recent publications include Designing Dreams: The Art & Business of Avatar Apparel Design & Development, and Shengri La Spirit: A Designer’s Perspective of the Making of OpenSim, both available on Amazon.  Her newest book, Scouts, Pioneers, and Settlers: Virtualizing Business will be available on Amazon in January 2010.

Winkler may often be found in the Fashion Research Institute Shengri La regions in Second Life, where her innovative fashion events may be experienced first hand.

For more information about the Fashion Research Institute, please visit our web site or our regions on the ScienceSim, vBusiness or Second Life grids.

Transformation – the Delicate Jewelry of Cocoon


Fashion Research Institute “Transformation”
Jewelry Installation for Designers in the Emerging Avatar Apparel Design Program

Saturday, 7 am PDT, in the scenic Shengri La  estate in Second Life.

A baker’s dozen of lovely ladies bedecked with opulent jewels and a couple of haute men in a romantic garden set showcase the exceptional work of Fashion Research Institute Marketplace designer Yoona Mayo (cocoon).  The quality of this designer’s work is belied by her fairly recent entrance into the jewelry making community.  Prepare to be romanced by the delicate elegance of these gorgeous pieces daintily draped around throats  and dangling from the ears of our lovely models, who will each display one set of Yoona’s work.  Please join us for this unique fashion-meets-art installation of fashion displayed artistically.

Yoona’s designer statement:

Cocoon Fine Jewelry.

SL is the world where the thing that I want to make can be made. I can make imaginary shape in SL, although there is a little restriction. I want to design a unique, beautiful shape and make accessories that actually exist.  I want to be always original…I am bearing it in mind although it is the most difficult to do, an original design.

I think that it is important to add individuality from the hint to the design because the hint  is received from various information.  I am delighted when my friend is pleased when accessories are presented.  Friend’s impression and opinion of accessories become hints of the following work.  The hint is very important for me.  My enjoyment in SL  is to make accessories. Prim’s transformation is difficult, and it is difficult to reflect my idea in accessories when there is upper limit of the number of Prim.  However, I get excited very much when my image was able to be reflected in  accessories under such situations.  Another enjoyment is a conversation with my friends. I often obtain  ideas and hints of the following work from the conversation with my friends.

The jewelry shown today is the culmination of a nine-month mentorship at the Fashion Research Institute.  Each piece is lovingly created from many tiny prims.

Please visit my main shop for many other wonderful items.

Transformation  is hosted and sponsored by the Fashion Research Institute, Inc.  FRI is committed to assisting emerging avatar apparel designers to bring their brand to the next level.

Artist Opening on Shengri La: The Photography of Prandi Capalini

The Photography of Prandi Capalini

An exhibit of the SL photography of Prandi Capalini
at The Small Gallery, Shengri La

Sunday  November  1 – Sunday December 13

From his first postcard to Snapzilla 6 months ago, Prandi has provided a unique view of Second Life through the eyes of an old wandering sailor.  Saturated monotones and exceptional use of light give his images the feel of a different time and place, and lead the viewer to wonder what story each one shows us a glimpse of.  With over 900 images now shown on Snapzilla, Prandi has selected his favourites to be shown inworld for the first time.

The Fashion Research Institute invites you to the opening reception of this exhibit on
Sunday Nov 1st from 11 AM – 12.30 PM SL time.

Drop by and meet the artist, and enjoy viewing his work in the tranquil tropical setting of Shengri La.

If you cannot attend the opening, feel free to drop  by the gallery anytime and enjoy the exhibit.