Patterning History: Preparing for the First (Ever!) Virtual World-Based Fashion Design Conference

As the conference organizers of the first ever virtual worlds-based conference specifically created just for the apparel industry, one of the interesting things about working on this conference is that everyone involved knows they are making history in presenting at this event.  Not only is this the first ever virtual worlds-based fashion design conference, but we have chosen to present this in OpenSim, which is an extensible virtual world platform.

There are a lot of firsts here:

* Content licensing for the architecture, graciously provided by Jon Brouchard of The Arch Network;

* Organizing 8 world-class, globally recognized speakers from the apparel industry who have agreed to pioneer into this brave new space;

* Completely developing 8 regions of premium content for the Conference

* Leveraging all of the mature Web 2.0 technologies in conjunction with an incredibly powerful emerging technology

* Presenting to a design conference to a global audience, where anyone with the ‘right’ combination of hardware and bandwidth can attend, free of charge to them.  They don’t need to travel or even to leave home!

* Defining the requirements for an event of this scope and developing a superb use case for industry conferences held in virtual worlds.

The team working on presenting this conference have been working diligently at preparing the regions and ensuring that everything works smoothly.  Shown here are images from the regions, which are open for visitors, and which will remain open after the conference.  Please remember that if you wish to attend, you must have a Skype account for telephony and a ScienceSim account for the actual conference.  You must also register; we will be processing registrations up till 10 pm on December 2nd.  You will receive a confirmation email with login directions for the audio portion of the conference late on December 2nd.

Please make sure you log in to ScienceSim in advance to acquaint yourself with the conference space, and to take advantage of the opportunity to customize your avatar.  Fashion Research Institute is providing two areas for this purpose.  The Quickstart region in Shengri La Spirit 01 enables visitors to quickly select from choices for both men and women as well as a complete ‘corporate’ avatar look.  The shopping region in Shengri La Spirit 22, where visitors can select from a wider array of clothing and other options in a full region.  Both regions may be easily reached from the initial login site by simply left clicking the touch boards placed at the initial log in site.

Everything in the conference regions are left or right click enabled, and there are ample ‘teleporters’ placed throughout the conference regions to enable easy movement.  There are 9 regions of interest, which include the conference region (Shengri La Thread)with auditorium and exhibits.  these exhibits include a poster session by Professor Suzie Norris of Southampton Solent; business services displays by Nolcha and Mythos Consultancy; and an exhibit by Fashion Research Institute.  Additional regions include shopping (Shengri La Spirit 22), intern work (Shengri La Spirit 21), an industrial design exhibit (Shengri La Pencil), an art region (Shengri La Spirit 00), the FRI virtual campus and library (Shengri La Spirit 01 and 02), and a virtual runway (Shengri La Spirit 10).  The historic large scale build Shengri La Spirit anchors the conference space and may be visited by all.

We would like to thank Mic Bowman and his coworkers at Intel Labs for collaborating with us on this project.  Their work has been instrumental in enabling the presentation of this conference for the benefit of a global audience fo fashion design students, designers, and educators.  We would also like to thank the Intel Corporation for providing hardware, hosting and ensuring visitors have appropriate bandwidth for the conference.

Please remember to register, and we’ll see you there!

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