A Time For Change…

A Time For Change…

Autumn has to be my favourite season, no contest.

I’m not sure if it’s because my birthday is September, making me a Virgo and a complete Earth Mother in that respect, but I have always adored it.  As much as I respect the other seasons for their own distinct beauty, nothing quite matches Autumn as far as I am concerned.
Autumn is about rustic earthy scents, hazelnuts and conkers and apples and forest fruits; about beautiful sunsets and blazing bonfires and leaves that change their shades from stunning scarlet to russet as they fall into dying golden embers on the ground. It’s odd to think that leaves are at their most beautiful as they start to die, but it’s the harsh beauty of nature that Autumn reflects best.
It’s also my fave time of year for clothes too.  Jumpers, scarves and big woolly hats galore. In reality I  love the fact that a good jumper, scarf and jeans is adequate when it’s not so cold that you need a massive woolly coat to protect you from the elements It’s remarkable then when you realise that this seasonal turn is totally reflected in Second Life and the grid is now awash with the new season’s woollens and garments.
In a metaverse where it can be summer all year round, we’re still happer when we dabble in the familiar.
I’m totally grateful for this; because the grid is really starting to come alive now with some truly spectacular fashions. I’ve not blogged for a while about clothing and hair and fashion in general and there are many reasons for this. First of all, I’ve been pre-occupied with my RL health. Then there have been my Ozimals adventures, and now my horses, but the main reason is probably because I lost my fashionista mojo. (Some would argue that it was never truly there to begin with, to that I respond with a hearty flick of the ‘V’s.)

I confess dear reader that I lost interest in a grid awash with the same kind of garment..the same bloody template..the same chuffing tank top everywhere. Admittedly, some were better than others, but you can only see so many similar logo tees and skirts so perpetually short that they’re actually belts before you just think, enough! (And you thought that only happened in real life huh? Wrong!!!) That’s how I felt. Second Life fashion no longer left me as inspired as it had before. There were still the few designers who had the imagination to try different things, but the quality wasn’t necessarily always there. Of course, there are some designers who NEVER skimp on quality and never will, but even when my shopping muse came knocking and whirled me around a district or two I got bored very quickly.

I needed a break from the fashion crowd; no drama, no tantrums;just me silently falling behind for a while. ( That said, there’s just as much drama in the world of breedable animals, but that’s another tale for another day)
I needed to refocus on what I enjoyed in Second Life. My animals took over for a while, but I also re-discovered a passion for furniture and quality builds that had eluded me. I enjoy nothing more than mooching around the grid alone as an alt ( I’ll never tell!) and just enjoying the scenery; and it was something I needed to do. I cut myself off from the fashion crowd and just indulged in the pleasures that Second Life has to offer and there are many of those. And no, not one of them involved an Xcite bed, thank you very much.

Now with the change of season I find myself fired up to see what the grid has to offer again. So far I’m not disappointed. There is definitely originality to be found out there, as well as some really wonderful tailoring. One of the best places in my opinion to get a taste for some of the slightly more avant garde fashions on the grid is The Dressing Room, which I have mentioned before, but it still retains it’s unique position in offering a range of exceptional, often quirky clothing from a variety of designers at utterly ridiculous prices. You may not always like what you see at The Dressing Room, or it’s sibling establishmentThe Dressing Room Blue, but you will have a reaction to it that possibly gets you talking, but hopefully not in the “Oh my god that’s utter shit!”sense.  You may not like what you see, but you can never say that the items selected for sale are not carefully constructed, textured and finished by their creators.

But I do have an issue with grid fashion that is really getting me down, and that is the sizing of female clothes items. Second Life is as guilty as the majority of high street retailers for thinking that all women who shop are a default size 0. I mean, why wouldn’t they be?
It is infuriating when you spot a beautiful outfit and splash some serious Linden on it to only get it home and find that it is impossible to resize. Some designers are more considerate than others; they provide re-sizing scripts or offer to tailor the item to your avatar. Alternatively, some designers enclose notecards telling you how to change your shape to accommodate the item, which I confess I have done in the past. BUT NO MORE.
There is NO excuse in a virtual world that caters to every imaginable creature that it can’t cater to every single size.
Is it really so hard for a designer to include two versions of their garment in every package? A small size and a larger fitting version?
That’s not perfect as strategies go, but heck at least it’s a start, and with a larger sized item I might at least be able to get it nearer to my shape than by completely stretching a small item out of proportion and spending so long fitting it that it just becomes, well…I must have a corner of my inventory designated for such garments. In real life they’re at the back of the closet in a heap ready to make beautiful dusters; in Second Life at least we have the delete key.
There’s another issue of course; when we buy something in Second Life we EXPECT it to fit because you don’t get refunds. In real life you can take something home, try it on and return it if needs be. We don’t get that grace period in Second Life, and that’s fair enough when you consider the price of garments I suppose, but no, hang on a minute, the disappointment you feel when you try something on in real life is the same feeling you get in Second Life when despite perhaps hours of trying you just cannot get that special something to fit you. In fact, I counter it’s worse because the unspoken expectation is that it will fit, or you will at least change your appearance to make it do just that..
I ask how the heck do brazen, and gorgeous, plus-size avies like Rosie Barthelmess find anything to bloody well wear? I really ought to ask her how she doesn’t go mad when buying virtual fashion, but actually I admire Rosie for daring to be ‘different’, although her ‘different’ isn’t actually that at all, just a size you would see in any town or city in this day and age.
But the other thing is, it’s not just Rosie that struggles to find clothing that fits..even relatively small framed avatars such as Amanda and curvy avatars such as myself struggle to make certain items wearable, and it’s a damn shame.
If you’re a clothing creator and you’re reading this, please tell me why you can’t/won’t provide a second larger sized copy in each folder to your customers. Am I asking too much by suggesting that as an idea? In fact, here’s a thing, I challenge the Second Life clothing community to change:consider curves, bums, boobs and bellies. Don’t assume that every female avatar has all the sliders set to 0.
Oh, and as consumers we have to take a stand too. Demand from designers that they make larger clothing items to accommodate different frames, or at least offer a bespoke fitting service. Don’t for one minute think that think that because a garment was only L$100 and it doesn’t fit you that you shouldn’t complain, it’s just one of those things. This is no longer acceptable. Ask the designer to make it fit, or ask for a refund. Let’s see if we can make a change to virtual styling and show the content creators that if they want us to spend our Lindens on their product they need to go the extra mile and make sure that it fits.
As a final note, the outfit that I am wearing in this picture is a jumpsuit that I purchased at ‘The Dressing Room’ for L$69 and although it comes with a ton of options and is, as you can plainly see, utterly gorgeous guess what? It’s an absolute swine to fit properly, prim parts and all. But inside the package is a notecard from the designer, saying:
Due to script limits I have chosen to not make my prim items scripted. All prim attachments have modify permissions and can be sized to individual needs using the edit menu. If you DO NOT KNOW how to use this menu please send a notecard to Alla Ruff and Include a copy of your transaction history. I will gladly help by making a custom sized item for you. Thank you and I apologize for the lack of scripts. (A hint: when you stretch using the edit menu, check “stretch both sides” to avoid displacement of the prim from its’ location)
To me, that makes a lot of difference. Thank you Alla Ruff for making the effort. ( I’ve seen her take this approach with clothing  before and although not a total solution to the problem I think she should be commended for at least sticking her head above the parapet and trying, I know I appreciate her stance)
So come on readers, let’s get a debate going.

Do you think designers should consider larger avatars, or do you think that if it doesn’t fit then it’s tough luck? Are you a designer willing to accommodate plus-sizes, or are you just not bothered if they can’t wear your clothes because we’re only talking a few lindens anyway?

I’d be really interested in your comments, please feel free to add them below. Personally, I really think this is something we need to address NOW.

In the photo Kitty wears:

Hair by Truth
Skin by LAQ
Jumpsuit by Veschi

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