FRI’s Student Interns, New York City, and Fashion Week

Almost every fashion design student wants to at least visit New York City, the fashion capital not just of the United States, but also the world.  New York is where fashion is happening, particularly during one of our legendary Fashion Weeks.

This particular Fashion Week is a little different: this is the last time New York Fashion Week will be held in the Tents at Bryant Park.  The next time the designers and models come out, they’ll be further north in the City.  We confess to being a bit sad to seeing the tents go, although we are sure the Bryant Park grass is breathing an enormous sigh of relief.  What excites us about this particular Fashion Week is that our student interns from Buffalo State University will be joining us here in the City.

Our big project for this semester is to develop their senior collection both as physical garments to be shown as part of the senior runway show and as virtual avatar apparel to be shown in virtual runway show.  The theme of the senior show this year is Runway 3.0, and we’ve been tasked with adding various sorts of technology to their garment collection.  We have agreed to serve as consultants in helping with the technical design aspects of the physical garments as well as with the development of their virtual garments and their virtual runway show.

As part of the physical prototyping, we’re taking our students on a day-long sourcing trip to New York’s garment district, there to locate textiles, trims, closures, and other useful things.

We have also arranged for them to volunteer at a Fashion Week designer event sponsored by Nolcha, where they will have a chance to be exposed to an industry event, to meet other students and of course, to mingle with designers and other industry insiders.

We will be doing a lot of in-depth exploration of the technical design aspect of their collections: they need to finish this project with us not only with the mirror collections (physical/virtual), but also with a completed ‘story’ for their portfolio.  And of course, we expect them to put together a report about their experiences, which will be blogged over on Professor Elaine Polvinen’s Virtual Fashion blog.

Oh, yes, and while they are here, we’ll make sure we at least stroll past those big white tents.  We don’t have time to take in a show, but we can at least take in the energy!

Jewels of Winter: Missy’s Solo Fashion Show

Please join Fashion Research Institute student intern Missy Lavecchia at her first solo fashion installation for her fashion label, Bella Fantasique. Missy is a senior at Buffalo State University who is working on her internship in avatar apparel with Fashion Research Institute. Missy has been working hard at developing her most recent collection of romantic gowns, which will be featured on Monday, December 7th at 7 pm ET in the Fashion Research Institute Second Life Shengri La Hope region. To attend this event, please follow this link.

Threading the Needle Design Conference, All Day in ScienceSim

Please join us in the OpenSim grid Science Sim for a history-making, ground-breaking fashion design conference.  8 globally recognized speakers will share their insights on fashion, the apparel industry, design education, and managing your career and your label in this $1.7 trillion industry.

Registration information is here:

8:30-8:50 am Keynote: Shenlei Winkler, Fashion Research Institute
9:00-9:045 am Fiona Jenvey, Mudpie
10:00-10:45 Elaine Polvinen, Buffalo State University
11:00-11:45 am Michiel Thissen, Mythos Consultancy
12:00 noon – 12:45 pm Suzie Norris-Reeves, Southampton Solent University
1:00 – 1:45 pm Lynn Furge, Nolcha
2:00 – 2:45 pm Crosby Noricks, PR Couture & Harper Beresford
3:00-3:45 pm Beth Harris, MOMA & Steven Zucker, FIT

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!

Threading the Needle Design Conference, Thursday December 3rd

Threading the Needle: The Future of Fashion Design Conference

Fashion Research Institute  invites you to attend Threading the Needle: The Future of Fashion Design, the first virtual world-based fashion design conference in history.

Please join us on Thursday, December 3rd from 8 am – 5 pm EDT at this free conference for fashion design students and new designers.

Threading the Needle gathers eight fashion industry thought leaders to present their views on a range of topics aimed at a global audience of new  fashion designers and fashion educators. These engaging speakers will be discussing everything form managing your fashion career, to new paradigms in educating design students and designers in innovative ways.  Attendees may attend one or all of the sessions, simply register in advance for the conference to assure your space.

Conference speakers include:

Lynn Furge, Creative Director, Nolcha “Image is Everything

Fiona Jenvey, CEO, Mudpie
Consideration: Female S/S 2011 Trend Report

Beth Harris, Director of Digital Learning, MOMA-NYC and
Steven Zucker, Dean of Graduate Studies, FIT, “The Future of Education: What Will Open, Three-Dimensional Learning Look Like?”

Crosby Noricks, Founder, PR Couture in a conversation with Harper Beresford

Suzie Norris-Reeves, FHEA, Head of School, Southampton Solent University, “Exploring Innovative Pedagogy in a Virtual World

Elaine Polvinen, Professor & Coordinator – Fashion Textile Technology, Buffalo State University
“Remaining Relevant: Multidimensional Education for Fashion

Michiel Thissen, Founder, Mythos Consultancy, “Tips for a Successful Fashion Career

Shenlei Winkler, CEO, Fashion Research Institute
Keynote: “Virtual Worlds and Fashion Design Education

In addition to the presentation track, additional displays will be available for conference attendees to visit.  These include a virtual fashion installation with fashions created by the Fashion Research Institute’s student interns; booths and displays about programs from other fashion industry organizations; and exhibits about fashion history.

The trendy conference architecture is being provided by The ARCH Techwork. Hosting and hardware for the event are being graciously provided by Intel Corporation with additional support from Intel Labs.  Threading the Needle is a HASTAC@ event. The conference is being presented and sponsored by Fashion Research Institute.

The conference is free for all attendees; registration closes at midnight ET on December 2nd.  To register, please visit the conference web site.  For more information, please email admin @ or visit the conference web site,