Has Second Life Modeling died?

Hey guys! I think I may have to start blogging in the mornings because otherwise I cannot stay in this hot room for long to get much of anything done…smh.

I saw on Facebook a video that Crista Wellens had made regarding the state of fashion modeling in Second Life. It is the first episode of her venture into vlogging, and I thought it started off with a bang. She makes a statement in saying that “modeling as we know it in Second Life is dead”, which is enough to stir up some emotion in those who are professional models in SL.

I was challenged by someone to do a reaction blog to this video, so…challenge accepted!

Lingerie: ~Blacklace~ Symphony Lilac
Hair: TETRA – Pineapple Hair
Skin: Glam Affair – Danni

Nails: ::SlackGirl:: Metrico Mesh Nail
Table: Dutchie dining table

I will summarize what was said in the video:

* Fashion shows are fewer and not as good as they used to be
* Too many models do not want to use mesh, and agencies do not want their models to use mesh parts.
* This made models expendable, and designers could not sell clothing through these outdated models.
* Bloggers were up-to-date and had shapes that related to the brands’ consumer base
* Many people opened up modeling academies and agencies, but did not know how to style well or had the business acumen to secure contracts with designers.
* Even though SL modeling is dying a slow and painful death, fashion icons still live on in blogs, taking beautiful pictures.

Crista had this message to the models who are refusing to update their avatars: Please stop immediately.

I thought that even though Crista makes good points, saying that SL modeling died because models do not want to update their avatars to mesh is too simplistic and doesn’t begin to reflect on the changes that occurred in SL fashion. Fashion in Second Life changed forever when mesh was introduced, and it had a significant impact on SL modeling.

If you guys remember, before mesh, there were no demos. Then again, we didn’t have to worry about clothing not fitting us. The most we had to do was learn how to edit prims to ourselves – something that they taught at modeling academies. Models played a major role in showing how the clothing would look like out of the box – colors, how easy it was to walk in the outfit, and showing off personal style in the process. When mesh came, people were able to try on the outfits for themselves. Yes, models could still show the clothing, but it was no longer essential to the sale.

Mainstream clothing designers have never used models as extensively as designers who cater to formal and haute couture wear. By models, I mean outside models. These designers have always taken ads themselves or had a friend or two model for them.  When mesh clothing gained in popularity, a lot of known couture designers in SL left. Or, they  re-purposed their brand to cater more to ready-to-wear / prêt-à-porter fashion. We still do not have as many couture brands in SL as we did pre-mesh, so of course the demand for models and fashion shows will decrease.

Crista talks about how the models and agency owners do not wish to wear mesh body parts. But how about designers who took a long time to make the switch to mesh? I think that had more of an impact on the modeling industry, because the fashion shows catered to those brands. Even if models wore mesh clothing or body parts in their everyday Second Life, they would have to revert to system when they took on a job.

(I had randomly taken this picture when my friend rezzed it at her place – raw shot ^^)
Hair: Lamb – Boyfriend

Shirt: Aleutia – Susan
Pants: Blueberry – Cake Leggings
Shoes: Reign – Bow Wedge Flip Flops
Prop: Exposeur/GingerFish – Decorative Doors (@Gacha Guardians)

After mesh, the second occurrence that took place that had a major impact on SL fashion (and modeling) are events. There have always been shopping events in Second Life, but they were either yearly events or one-time events. I remember back in 2010-2011 there were many weekly events. But all of those events were hosted in the designers’ mainstores. I believe that The Dressing Room, Collabor88, and The Arcade had major influences in shifting traffic from the mainstores to one central place where everyone could shop. Between the cross promotion and the single location to shop, it is essentially going back to mall shopping in SL. This caused a LOT of product to be released to the public at once, and even now we as consumers are still overwhelmed by too much product.

Fashion shows in SL celebrate the designers’ new releases while creating brand exposure and generating sales. The designer can sit back and watch his/her creations come to life on the runway. But it’s hard for designers to allow themselves this luxury when they are faced with stiff competition from massive cross promotions. Agencies and the store brands combined can’t compete with literally hundreds of stores, plus a comprehensive website such as Seraphim SL. Plenty of designers have already said that fashions shows do not generate as much income as a popular sales event; some say it nicer than others. So in the end it is about the bottom Linden. So it doesn’t matter how nicely styled your avatar is or how great the show production is – if the result doesn’t guarantee hundreds of thousands of Lindens, then it’s not worth the store brands’ time. Without designers, it’s hard to book fashion shows, which means less jobs for runway models.

So now at this point, I think what Crista is saying comes into play. Because of these pre- existing occurrences in SL Fashion, it does not help that some models are still having issues adjusting to mesh body parts in 2017, and some agencies still want their models to have non-mesh body parts. Yes, there are many models who are up to date, but how does that help advance SL modeling? Who are the current leaders that are taking couture fashion to the next level in mesh? Who were they pre-mesh?

There are people who still say, “Where do you find out when these fashion shows take place?” Hardly anyone uses the SL Fashion Calendar. So unless someone works in the modeling industry or knows someone who does, it will be hard for the general public to even know when these shows take place. Designers do not promote fashion shows as much as they do for new releases at events – I have seen it for myself. The SL modeling industry needs their own hub where everyone can go and look for events, and not have to take up a group space…or even log into SL. If fashion shows are designed to sell product, then they need advertising so people will know where to shop. If fashion shows are designed to entertain, then again, they need to be advertised so that people know where to go on a Saturday, Sunday, or whenever a show is happening. Perhaps if we did have more people attend fashion shows, we can keep comments like this to a minimum: A modeling school ? I even didn’t know it exists on sl. It’s like.. well.. is there anything else as stupid.. oh yes, a pet school. “how to feed and enjoy your pet on sl – Join our school and get sure your pet will survive – Only 1000 Lindens a week”. I would say “buy some food and your pet will survive”.

So has Second Life modeling died? No – not at all. But I believe that the industry is still trying to find its rhythm in today’s SL fashion so that it can benefit all participants.

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7 thoughts on “Has Second Life Modeling died?

  1. vichonette says:

    Interesting read. I think, also, that part of the problem post-mesh is the fact that a great many fashion designers are using the same mesh templates created by a much smaller segment of the community. This results in our seeing the same silhouettes, time after time after time, in every event. While mesh looks more realistic in clothing, it also contributed to a distinct lack of creativity as more and more people discovered how easy it is to slap a texture on a template and sell it for a couple hundred lindens. They’re no longer creating their own work, most of them, but adding textures purchased from seller A onto seller B’s mesh work, and when you have three or four dozen brands using the same individuals’ templates, you wind up with a whole lot of the same old thing. In some ways, mesh was a godsend to SL, but in others, it has stifled creativity in fashion – especially in the realm of formalwear and haute couture. So you have a larger segment of the population all competing for a decreasing customer base as more and more people discover (or decide) that they can do it themselves, which trickles down into modeling due to the fact that these creators who are no longer making the small fortunes they used to earn cannot afford to hold exclusive shows, and models are less likely to be willing to walk a show for no pay, as was customary when I was a new model in 2009.

    • ℳøηї says:

      Hey Vich!

      I don’t think mesh has necessarily stifled creativity in SL. The modeling industry probably would be different if some of the stores that were leading in formal/couture wear before were the first to jump into making original mesh designs. I think because mesh requires a specific skill set to be able to create your own designs, people have been slow to learn the required programs. There may be limitations such as money, time, and/or equipment. Whereas pre-mesh, since everything you needed could be found inworld, it didn’t take as long to learn how to make things in SL. The people who are willing to invest the time (or already were doing so from their RL occupations) are not the ones who are making high fashion clothing. So it can be a challenge to create a couture look from items that were never meant to be couture in the first place.

      I used to work for a designer back in early 2011 who said that when she started designing in 2007, you hardly heard anyone talk about using templates – if they did, they didn’t speak about it. And now everyone was using them (back then). So as you said, with mesh people saw the chance to be able to do it themselves using templates.

      When designers depend heavily on template mesh, they do not have control over the sizes that they offer in their stores. That can mess with consistency within the brand. In 2017 people do not want to hear about fitmesh or that SLink can fit Maitreya bodies, or other workarounds. I was at an event earlier this year and several people were looking at a dress. Because the dress demo only had fitmesh, every last person said they would not purchase because it did not come in Maitreya. That was an oversight that cost the brand money, because when I got the dress, it actually did have a Maitreya size.

      This is not spoken about as much because designers do put a lot of work in making their creations, and speak out against people who say that they do not want template designs. This goes especially for those who create their own textures. But as you said, if many brands are using the same exact templates or building blocks, experienced fashionistas can tell. Designers strive to be creative, but limit themselves because they only have a finite number of templates, versus the infinite possibilities that come when you do it yourself (or pay someone to do it for you).

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