Jason D. Arnold, Attorney at Law, Joins Fashion Research Institute’s Black Dress Technology as In-House Counsel

New York, NY March 21, 2011 – Jason D. Arnold, Attorney at Law, Joins Fashion Research Institute’s Black Dress Technology as In-House Counsel

Fashion Research Institute CEO, Shenlei Winkler, announces that Attorney Jason Arnold has joined the FRI team as in-house counsel for Black Dress Technology, a wholly-owned subsidiary of FRI. Mr. Arnold is a 2007 James E. Beasley Temple University School of Law Graduate. Admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and to the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, he was an active member in the American Bar Association serving on committees in the Intellectual Property and the Science and Technology divisions.  He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Furthermore, he has worked on copyright infringement litigation, including assisting in writing a certiori petition for the United States Supreme Court.  He has worked on trademark registration and infringement cases.

“I am very pleased to be joining Black Dress Technology because of their visionary use of immersive technology, something I personally believe will be integral to our professional and personal lives,” says Arnold.

“We are excited about having Mr. Arnold join the Black Dress Technology Team.” Says Shenlei Winkler, CEO of the Fashion Research Institute. “We think his experience in virtual worlds and particularly his emphasis in virtual goods and content will make him an integral part of the Fashion Research Institute team, focusing particularly on areas of content licensing from design houses in the apparel industry to virtual goods development for game development.”

Fashion Research Institute has been leading the effort to defining legal templates for users of decentralized OpenSim-based virtual worlds, including End User Licensing Agreements and easy-to-use content licensing templates.  Mr. Arnold served with distinction on the OpenSim Legal Steering Committee formed by FRI in 2009.

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About Fashion Research Institute, Inc.: The Fashion Research Institute is at the forefront of developing innovative design & merchandising solutions for the apparel industry.  They research and develop products and systems for the fashion industry that sweepingly address wasteful business and production practices. Shenlei Winkler’s 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.

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Mission Critical-PG Avatars for Corporate and Educational Use

There is a growing call from consumers of digital content and virtual goods for avatars that meet a PG-rating.  While many deeply immersed users of avatars would object strenuously at having their avatars de-sexualized, the audience for a less sexual avatar not only exists, but is vocal in their desires for an avatar that will allow their projects to proceed without emphasis on some of the more mature aspects of interpersonal interaction.

Such audiences include both enterprise and educational users, many of whom have specialized audiences that need to either be protected from exposure to mature avatars or who regard the avatar as a tool whose effectiveness will be hampered if it is too ‘hot’.

Users who have an audience that is underage will usually insist on a PG-rated avatar for a variety of reasons, not least of which is to reduce their legal exposure in the event that a user attempts to engage in inappropriate behaviors for their project.  Likewise, corporate audiences may simply wish to have reasonably attractive, high-quality avatars that are appropriate for everyone in the organization to use, from the entry level worker to the CEO.

Fashion Research Institute has been asked to develop such avatars for various organizations. Our work in developing these specialized avatars has shown that creating a premium PG-rated avatar appropriate for these clients is not as easy as simply welding a bathing suit onto the avatar skin.  There are additional considerations that must be taken into account, including the age, culture, and gender of the intended user base.

For example, in developing for Preferred Family Health Care, one of the requirements was that any clothing provided could not have bare midriffs or plunging cleavage.  Their user base is under the age of 18.  As any parent knows, this demographic can often be found in malls wearing plunging necklines and low-rider jeans; this is the fashion that is preferable to this age range.  However, the requirement was not that we provide what those users would want, but rather what the administrators of the program where the avatars would be used would want.

Likewise, when we developed both the Content Library as well as the shopping mall in ScienceSim, we focused on providing quality clothing and avatar customization that does not have plunging necklines, wife-beater tanks, low-cut waists, excessively long hair or overly made up skins.  The user base uses the OpenSim-based Sciencesim as a work tool to advance their research in data visualization and in other areas. Inappropriately sexualized avatars would be distracting to the real work, and would be inappropriate.

In thinking about the PG avatar, users may opt to have the avatar developed with PG skins, usually with some sort of modesty garment added (usually a bathing suit for all of the obvious reasons).  Less commonly, a client may ask to have skins with the ‘wobbly bits’ removed, but with no modesty garment. Clothing is generally modest with knee- to tea-length skirts for the women, and trousers and jeans for the men.  Tops are opaque for both genders, and where graphic Ts are provided, care is taken to use innocuous graphics. Jewelry and other accessories tend to be discreet – no Mr. T Bling, and above all, no trademarked goods unless a formal license has been obtained and permission granted to use the trademark in question.

A well-developed PG avatar will enable organizations to conduct their real business using virtual worlds without worrying about inappropriate visuals marring their programs.  A PG-avatar may even be regarded as a mission critical component for corporate and education use virtual world projects, especially those with mixed age demographics or those with underage under users.

As the number of entities entering virtual worlds to use them as formal work tools increases, so too will the need for premium PG-avatars, and for the development of best practices and standards that define both quality and rating. Fashion Research Institute has begun the process of developing such standards for its own content, which is developed following its existing product design and development methodology.

Call for Proposals, 2011 Virtua Designer Conference Jan 25-27 in ScienceSim

2011 Virtua Designer Conference
January 25-27, 2011
ScienceSim

The field of virtual goods is in its nascent, formative stages. The road is open to express and define what virtual goods are, and how they may be best developed and used.  The field is new and exciting, but it should be informed by design disciplines that have evolved before it.

With issues of standardization, intellectual property concerns, micropayments, and even interoperability between virtual worlds now under consideration, the world of customer-generated content has shifted.  In order to be prepared, existing research should be showcased and new research areas defined.

We are calling for proposals for poster sessions to be held in conjunction with the 2011 Virtua Designer Conference in the OpenSim-based ScienceSim grid.

The Call for Proposals is organized around the idea of content and business, and topics that fall within this broad outline will be considered.  Some ideas that  may be considered include international copyright and intellectual property rights issues; content development methodology; micropayments and transactions; emerging platforms; professional development; asset management and curation systems; best practices; as well as areas which others may be working in.

How to Submit:

Submit a short proposal (500 words or less) describing your topic, project, or research by November 15, 2010 to CALL FOR PROPOSALS.

All submissions and presentations must allow the creation of derivative works such as video and photography that show the original work, with appropriate attribution. By submitting a proposal you agree to these terms.

Acceptance announcements will be made during the week of December 1, 2010. All presenters will be offered free admission to the conference.

Acceptance Criteria

Acceptance decisions will be made based the proposal’s Relevance, Significance, Originality, Quality and Clarity.

A submission is RELEVANT when

  • it directly addresses one or more of the many business/content considerations

A submission is SIGNIFICANT when

  • it raises and discusses issues important to improving the quality and standards for digital assets, and
  • its contents can be broadly disseminated and understood by the informed creator audience

A submission is ORIGINAL when

  • it addresses a new problem or an existing challenge that hasn’t been studied in depth,
  • it takes a novel approach to resolving or answering existing questions
  • it provides a perspective on challenges in a unique way

A submission is of HIGH QUALITY when

  • existing literature is drawn upon, and / or
  • claims are supported by sufficient data, and / or
  • an appropriate methodology is selected and properly implemented, and / or
  • limitations are described honestly

A submission is CLEARLY developed when

  • it is organized effectively, and / or
  • the development appropriately and effectively uses the immersive, 3D environment effectively and well
  • the poster reflects the 3D world, is interactive, and enables new understanding

Questions?

Email Us

Virtua Society Kicks Off Weekly Speakers Series

We’re thrilled to kick-off our weekly speakers series at the Professional Virtua Designer Society this Friday, September 10th, 2010 at Noon PDT.

Join us as we welcome Callipygian Christensen, who will be addressing the  challenges and advantages of creating 2D art in a virtual world.

http://slurl.com/secondlife/21C%20Interactive/74/29/22/

Shooting a variety of subjects, Callipygian Christensen uses SL snapshots  to document her view of the Second Life® we lead. Calli displays some unretouched images, but also uses post-processing to create photographic art – removing ugly angles and texture blurs caused by SL animation and movement, and to enrich the depth and tone of SL colors.

Calli presents images in many different styles, from portraits to landscapes, from the mundane to the erotic, and  has won Best in Show awards in numerous juried SL arts contests and Fan Favorite ballots.

Professional Virtua Designers’ Society

The purpose of the Professional Virtua Designers’ Society is to promote and protect the social, economic and professional interests of its members.

The Society is committed to improving conditions for all digital artists designing and developing virtual goods and products intended to be used in virtual worlds.  It is also committed to raising standards for the entire emerging industry. The Society embraces digital artists at all skill levels and provides professional development to lift these special content creators to new levels of professionalism and skill.

Professional Virtua Designers Society Announced

An integral part of the Fashion Research Institute is the Fashion Research Foundation, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization located in New York.  FRF is engaged in educational research using virtual worlds for education. Today, we are pleased to announce two upcoming sessions introducing the Professional Virtua Designers Society.

The purpose of the Professional Virtua Designers Society is to promote and protect the social, economic and professional interests of its members.Professional Virtual Designer Society

The Society is committed to improving conditions for all digital artists designing and developing virtual goods and products intended to be used in virtual worlds. It is also committed to raising standards for the entire emerging industry. The Society embraces digital artists at all skill levels and provides professional development to lift these special content creators to new levels of professionalism and skill.

The Society & Its Members
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The Society supports its members in numerous ways:

·  Benefits which provide a complete, comprehensive benefits package ranging from major medical to a 401k retirement plan.

·  Discounts on goods and services

·  Professional development seminars, workshops and courses

·  An annual conference – in a virtual world – to ensure that all designers can attend

·  Two tiers of membership, with Journeymen and Professional designations which reflect skill level and competence in the field

We Are the Society
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The power of the organization is the power of community and affiliation. The Society exists to enable designers to achieve their dreams and to foster a productive, profitable and pleasant work life with the same protections that employees of large companies enjoy. The Society defines a valid standard of practical competency for professional virtua designers, and to effectively represent these designers and the profession of virtua design.

The Society is affiliated with the Fashion Research Foundation, which serves as the sheltering organization.  The Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that does not endorse or in any way support any particular immersive space, computer game, or virtual world.  Society registration is a voluntary program with two tiers of membership.  The Journeyman designation is freely available to all designers working in the area, without need to substantiate their ability or length of tenure as a designer.

The Professional designation offers a path through which qualified designers may obtain a formal credential indicating that they meet a meaningful standard of professional competence as determined by technical knowledge and practical skills examinations, length of design practice experience, and other factors.  The minimum qualification for entering the Society’s professional registry is the Registered  Professional Designer TM (RPD) credential.  All Society Professional members are professional designers meeting the RPD TM or Registered Master Designer TM (RMD TM) standards.

Why is a formal standard for professional virtua  designers needed?
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The terms “profession” and “professional”  are often used in design marketing material, because professionals are, by definition, more highly valued than hobbyists.   But as any professional knows, it takes more than simply calling yourself a professional to actually be one.  Qualifying to practice as in a true profession can involve years of training and study, as well as meeting a formal standard of competence.   While some professions require governmental licensing, the profession of virtua design is better served by a valid professional credential system, administered by a globally-oriented professional organization.

Designers often express the idea that their individual reputations are sufficient to establish themselves as professionals. And although the value of a well-earned reputation cannot be overstated, of course, reputations, particularly in the design field, are based on comparison and often on popularity, not on any particular standard.  In the real life apparel industry, designers of apparel are compared to other professionals, who have real standards of production and development that they must meet in order to remain employed.  Unlike the real life apparel industry, designers of virtua, however, need only satisfy a small core of diehard fans in order to call themselves ‘professional’.  By defining the term ‘professional virtua designer’ and aligning it with standards that must be met for the credential, we raise the overall quality of designers and create a substantive foundation against which designers and their reputations can be compared, thereby making it easier for the owners of commercial products such as grids, games, and other consumers of virtua to evaluate the quality of a given designer’s work, and its suitability for purchase or licensing.

The function of a professional credential in any field is to establish a minimum standard of quality for persons who are qualified to work as independent practitioners.  Therefore, the lowest credential issued by a professional credential program must designate a fully qualified professional capable of consistently producing work to a sufficiently high standard.  Credentials that do not establish a standard of excellence serve only to confuse those outside the industry, undermine the program’s credibility with other organizations and individuals, and to otherwise degrade the profession to a level of hobbyist. Professional credentials must take into account not only the time required to become truly proficient at design, but also the knowledge, skills, and additional training which likewise are integrated to evaluate the professional avatar apparel designer. Examinations for such a credential are naturally demanding, requiring the designer to demonstrate the kinds of abilities needed to work as a professional practitioner.  The credential is a valuable asset to working designers who wish to identify themselves and their work as meeting the high standards set by the Society.

An organization that issues professional credentials for avatar apparel designers needs to be made up of individuals who are qualified to assess design and who are actively working in the field.  This is the only way to ensure that the needs of the professional, working avatar apparel designer are met.  All designers who wish to join the Professional Virtua Designer Society are required to meet at minimum the standards set forth for Registered Designers, which is the minimum credential offered by the Professional Virtua Designer Society.  The Professional Virtua Designer Society openly promotes this standard, which is based on knowledge, skills, and experience, to all interested parties to the world of virtua as applied to virtual goods.

Meeting July 22nd, 2010
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On July 22nd, we will be hosting an information meeting in Second Life® to connect with those interested in learning more about the Professional Virtua Designers’ Society. There are two sessions scheduled, one at 11 AM Pacific and one at 6 PM Pacific. These sessions will take place on Shengri La http://slurl.com/secondlife/Shengri%20La/197/110/40

Fashion Research Institute Office Hours in Second Life Friday, June 11

Fashion Research Institute will conduct office hours in its Second Life Shengri La region from 3-4 pm Eastern/noon to 1 pm Pacific, Friday, June 11, 2010.

Our office hours are come-as-you-are, informal opportunities to meet and discuss topics of interest with our thought leaders in design education, apparel industry development, virtual goods, the use of virtual worlds for product design and development, and related topics.

Thoughts on our mind this week are emerging designers, content creators, ‘The Pantie Problem’, and simulating the historic Gettysburg battlefield in OpenSim.

What’s on your mind?

FRI Office Hours in Second Life, Friday, June 4

Fashion Research Institute will conduct office hours in its Second Life Shengri La region from 3-4 pm Eastern/noon to 1 pm Pacific, Friday, June 4, 2010.

Our office hours are come-as-you-are, informal opportunities to meet and discuss topics of interest with our thought leaders in design education, apparel industry development, virtual goods, the use of virtual worlds for product design and development, and related topics. Thoughts on our mind this week are OpenSim performance, content licensing, and simulating historic Gettysburg.

What’s on your mind?