There has been a growing number of stores as of late who are opting to only make clothing for specific mesh bodies (e.g. Belleza, Maitreya, Slink), and discontinuing standard sizing. According to a few social media outlets, the reasons why designers are opting to discontinue making standard size clothing are:
– Designers are spending more time rigging for various bodies than actual creation of items.
– Sales have not significantly decreased for those opting to go for specific fitmesh sizes.
– Customers want to shop at stores that have clothing specifically fitted to their body.
Some designers are opting to take it one step further and only focus on making clothing for the current most popular body. According to the 2016 survey conducted by meshbodyaddicts.com, 62.5% of the female residents surveyed currently wear the Maitreya Lara body. Even if you add up the number of people who wear other mesh bodies, they still pale in comparison to the Maitreya Lara mesh body. For this reason, some designers feel like this is enough to not only discontinue standard sizes, but to limit their creations to only one fitmesh size.
Jacket: ** DIRAM ** BLAKE Blazer – Rayure – S
Dress: ISON – cage dress -Maitreya
Hair: [KoKoLoReS] Hair – Blaine
Skin: –Glam Affair – Luna skin – Jamaica
Earrings: Tracei– Floral Cluster- Black
Pose: an lar [poses]
Prop: SN~ Stairway to Shoes Prop with Poses (allysondwyer)
Mar’s Simple 2-prim Photo Box (Mariel Tigerpaw)
Nails: Ghee Metal Nails
What does this mean for fashion? For those who are looking to buy the latest fashion, it may be harder for you to find clothing when you go out to shop. In this way, people may be forced to make a purchase they may have not considered otherwise. If you are looking to combine clothing from different (and sometimes even the same) designers, the two layers may be incompatible with each other. This will discourage people from creating original styles, and pose a challenge for those who do so regularly.
From personal experience, I have noticed that when the Maitreya size does not quite fit me, I have had luck wearing a standard size (depending on the fit, type of clothing, and how I choose to wear the clothing) to make up for it. Due to the fact that proper developer mesh kits are not widely available for all of the mesh bodies, customers may wear experimental sizes and not realize it. Thorough testing on both the designers’ and consumers’ side before releasing/purchasing can minimize incompatibility issues.
Here is an example of a recent purchase that I made. I had a friend who also bought the item pose side by side with me to illustrate the difference that I encountered while switching between sizes.
I did not demo before purchasing because if I buy regularly from a store, and have seen other people wear the item with no issues, at times I feel confident enough to buy it outright. I was disappointed that I was not able to wear my fitted size, but I am glad that the item had a standard size option. I still experienced some issues when I was walking around in the outfit, but normally changing to a SS option does the trick.
There has also been talk about designers using mesh that they did not create themselves in their designs, whether it is a “template” mesh ( mesh that is available to the public for purchase) or commissioned mesh (mesh made in limited quantity or exclusive to the brand). Groups such as the SL Original Content Creators Association (SLOCCA ) showcases original creations in an effort to let consumers know who creates original content. However, if more designers decide to procure a more exclusive clientele or have more of a boutique set up, then that opens the door for creators who do not rig their own mesh to take advantage and bring potential customers in with their wider range of sizes.
So what happens if you wear a certain mesh body, and you see that your favorite designer does not make clothing for that particular body? Or, they do make clothing sometimes, but not for all releases?
First, you have to realize that not all developer mesh kits are available to designers. Designers have to first apply to get the kit that will enable them to rig their creations to the appropriate mesh body. If they do not have the proper kit, it makes it harder to create for that body.
The next thing you should realize is that even if they have the kit, if designers feel there is not much profit from spending the extra time to rig for the body (i.e. not that much demand), then they may opt to not create for that body at all (refer to the survey that I linked to earlier in my post).
I have seen people advocate to both the designer and to the mesh kit creator regarding creating clothing for the specific body. I have even heard of people creating a petition, where a group of people advocate to these businesses. I like the latter approach because in cases of it being a time vs money issue, if a creator sees the potential money amount (think real life instead of Linden currency) that could be made by creating the mesh, they may reconsider.
How about standard sizes? I don’t see the harm in opening communication with the store brand that you like to frequent and asking them about their views on standard sizing. Maybe they are already considering the issue themselves, but if they get feedback that people still wear SS, they will continue making the sizes.
When mesh (as we know it today) first came out on the grid, standard sizing helped us be able to fit into clothing better. But the wish for clothing to once again fit our avatar bodies was still apparent. Now that we have the clothing to fit our bodies, we have the issue of having to choose the “right” body for not only our own preferences, but to be able to have access to the widest variety of clothing and in the process, decrease the amount of flexibility that we have in styling such clothing. These changes to mesh clothing further limit the choices of those who have not found a suitable mesh body for themselves. Since they are in the minority, unfortunately, their views will not be enough to significantly influence any current or future changes in SL fashion. I believe that as long as there exists a system body vs Mesh A body vs Mesh B body, etc., etc., we will always have to compromise and pacify our desires to fit into the latest trends in Second Life.