Backstage Action at Runway 3.0 and Virtual Runway™

Not all the action takes place on the catwalk at a runway show.  In fact, all the preparation goes on backstage whether for a physical runway show or a Virtual Runway™ event.

We arrived in Buffalo at the Peirce-Arrow Building shortly before the first show, at 4 pm, so we missed the initial madness of hair and makeup.  We did, however, get pressed into service before the 9 pm show, where the models had to be fully prepared for the catwalk.  We had one of our other interns, Heather, join us to help backstage in getting our other two interns, Britt and Missy, ready to go.  Big thanks to Heather for jumping right in to help! Later she joined us front row for the show itself.

Both Britt and Missy opted for additional body makeup for their models, so that meant a little extra work in applying gold foil and rhinestones.  Eyelash glue is a godsend! Britt applied crushed gold foil selectively to the faces and bodies of her models, and Missy opted for rhinestones applied on the faces and in lieu of necklaces. Here we see one of the models with her necklace half-applied:

Each of Missy’s three models had a different design on both face and for the necklace.  Stunning!

Britt’s models have gold foil application well under control:

Here we see some of Britt’s models in the foreground, with Missy’s models up on the risers.

In stark contrast to physical runway show, preparing for the Virtual Runway™ presentation was a snap.  For one thing, avatar models do exactly what you tell them to, and the clothing always fits!  Plus, adding additional makeup options is very easy; we created custom makeup and skin tones for all nine of the interns’ models in less time than it took for one real life model to be made up…and we didn’t have to do retouches.

Once the models were dressed and their hair, makeup and shoes chosen, they lined up and just….waited…for their cue to strut the catwalk.  This is of course, very different from the swirl backstage at the students’ physical show. One might almost say it was serene.

Dressed and ready to go in our private OpenSim-based Fashionable Grid™: They await a simple command to strut their stuff on the catwalk .  Once we had the avatar models queued up and dressed, then we brought the students in to watch before we shot video for the screen at Runway 3.0.  The avatar models allowed the students to see their work before their physical runway show.  It was a great experience with them, since runway is usually a very expensive and gruelling experience. In comparison, Virtual Runway™ was a breeze with our students selecting from more than 800 billion customization options for their models.  they got exactly what they wanted on the runway, when they wanted it.  Tomorrow: Virtual Runway™ videos of the student interns’ work.

We are currently accepting applications for our Summer internship program. We have space for 5 more students. To apply, please send email to admin at by June 1, 2010 for Summer 2010 semester.

FRI Student Interns Take Manhattan: Day Four

The Train Station at Poughkeepsie

Farewell From The Train Station

The Fashion Research Institute interns from Buffalo State University, Missy & Britt, rounded out their visit on day four.  After a long day in the City the previous day, everyone was a little hard to rouse.  We put some mileage in, criss-crossing the rag district  and searching out the last nuanced trim and detail for their collections.

Packing up, we managed to get everyone into the car and to the train station with 15 minutes to spare – only to discover that the train was running 20 minutes late.

Hosting our interns was a delight.  We were very pleased to meet these two charming young women in person.  We are looking forward to their Spring break, when they will return for help with their final run-up to turning in their collection.

Our interns had the opportunity to learn first hand about New York, the fashion capital of the world and about how the apparel industry works;.  We had a chance to make sure they located everything they needed for their collections; and they had in-depth tutoring on developing their portfolio for future endeavors.

It was a great trip, and we were very sorry to wave good-bye at the train station.

Of course, now the fun (or hard) part begins: constructing the garments for the two versions of Runway 3.0 and developing the visual story for their portfolios.  Britt and Missy will be back in six weeks for their Spring Break, where we’ll help with the technical design of their collections.

Missy Doesn't Want to Go

Virtual Community Engineering in ScienceSim

We’ve been hard at work completing agreements and getting our first wave of land grant recipients settled in in our homesteading regions in ScienceSim.  This is the first opportunity we’ve had to post any images from some of the settled regions.

Shown here are some images from Brian Quinn’s simulation of Point Reyes; parcels for John Walber’s Learning Times; Peter Blair at Utah State University; and the fashion design interns at Fashion Research Institute.  Also shown are some of the common spaces, such as the common space parks, the shopping facility for ScienceSim licensed content; and the public sandbox in Einstein.

Shengri La Second Life: Five sims, no waiting…

Fashion Research Institute’s Shengri La Panoramic View

We are almost done with the renovations of the five-island Shengri La complex in Second Life.  We’ve created a central waterway that starts in Hope and sweeps through Shengri La into Joy, where it opens up into a deep, wide bay protected by Mt. Joy.  Love is still largely marine but Peace has become largely montaine.  The best way to view Shengri La is with one of the automated boat tours, one of which departs the Small Gallery in Shengri La, the other of which departs from Hope. 

Visit Shengri La Hope Daybreak

Daybreak on Shengri La Hope

If you prefer to walk the sims, start at our Welcome Area, where we still maintain our Departure line of Ruth to Ruthless new avatar kits.  Walk over the Bridge of Dreams and set your environment to sunset. The view is stunning.  Look over the edge at the gargoyles and watch carefully for a bat!

Visit the Bridge of Dreams on Shengri La

The Welcome Area on Shengri La, showing the Bridge of Dreams

Bridge of Dreams

In the above picture, you can see the monument to one of our collaborator’s cat, Edison, which passed away earlier in the year.  Send off a firework in Edison’s honor.  We like cats on Shengri La, as you will see from the lions, tigers and just plain house cats you’ll meet in Shengri La.

Visit Edison’s Memorial on Shengri La

The Ruined Sea Gat on Shengri La Love

Visitors can still sail or boat all around the complex with either their own vehicles, or they can use one of the open source swan-shaped boats (romantical!) or a paddle boat from the rezzer in Hope.  There are interesting things tucked away in the ruins and wrecks under water, perfect for any sort of aquatic visitors.  We also have quite a few marine animals, ranging from sharks to whales and all sorts of fishes.  Scuba divers and mer people alike will enjoy exploring the underwater landscape.

Visit the Ruined Seagate on Love

Visit the ship wreck on Love

One of the ship wrecks in Shengri La Love…..look for the buried treasure!

On the terrain, there are trails that run all around the edges of four of the sims, where people can ride their horses.  We’re still waiting for the open source horses that visitors can ride (if they can catch them!)  Most of the horses live on Love and Joy.

Shengri La itself hosts a regular Saturday marketplace where new designers can showcase their products.  Anyone is welcome to show up, and place up to 20 prims of their product (NO! scripted vendors, at all, period, paragraph, end of story) in one of the twenty tents provided.  Obviously, space is limited, and we require that there be no adult content.  There’s no charge, and the marketplace is open from 9 am to 5 pm SLT.  At 5:15, prims get returned if you don’t.

Visit the Boardwalk on Shengri La

Visitors can also view Pumpkin Tripsa’s amazing gargoyle sculptures, as well as purchasing them directly from the gargoyles on the boardwalk.  While on the boardwalk, feed the swans or the koi – the koi are particularly amusing as they positively mob the fish food.  There is also a cutting garden located in the large golden glass house.  The rose bushes are available to purchase for $OL. 

Pumpkin Tripsa’s fantastic sculpti Gargoyle

Birders will find the renovated Shengri La a delight. There are 20 varieties of birds and 3 varieties of bat swooping around Shengri La. The ducks may be fed, as can both the black and mute swans.  Just watch for the small wooden feeding boxes.  There are also a wide range of insects, including dragon flies and a large range of butterfly species. 

Swans under the Bridge of Dreams

The Ruined Zoo offers some interesting surprises. Given the infestation of rats in the Zoo, it’s no surprise that Shengri La is a cat’s paradise.  Look for the sleeping cats and the free-roaming ones. 

Visit the Ruined Zoo on Shengri La

Visit the galleries in Shengri La – we feature the artwork of Callipygian Christensen in the main gallery, and we have rotating exhibits in the Small Gallery. 

the Small Gallery, and ducks to feed!

Visit the Small Gallery and the Gallery at Shengri La

We still have the flagship store for Silver Rose Designs in Shengri La.  Stop by the keep and check out Yuri’s designs. 

Of course, we also have the corporate offices of the Fashion Research Institute located in Peace, in the Palace Queen Pea.

Shengri La is our replacement for a standard web site, our corporate pitch deck, and the space we maintain to support our training program directed at apparel industry personnel, fashion design educators, fashion design students, and fashion designers. 

In looking at Shengri La as a web site replacement, my experience is that any company that is presenting itself as virtual world savvy needs to have a strong entry to showcase their skills.  As a corporate pitch deck, our islands are far stronger than any web site.  People love stories, and they respond to stories.  A virtual world corporate pitch deck enables the telling of a company’s story in the rich, immersive context of a 3-dimensional space. 

A sweeping view of Shengri La Love into Joy

 And Shengri La, despite not even having been relaunched yet, captures a pretty reasonable traffic number with an amazing degree of stickiness. That’s not bad for a complex that exists primarily as a training site.  Please feel free to visit us in Shengri La.  Bring your horses, go for a ride.  Surf the waters, sail, swim, or just meditate amongst the many peaceful resting places, and enjoy the sunrises or sunsets.  We look forward to your visit.

The sun westers behind Day’s End on Shengri La Joy