Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Creative Conversations 2 - Perms and Coloring


No, this isn't a hair blog! The perms and coloring I'm talking about are the permissions given on SL items, and ladies asking me to recolor gowns I've made.

I thought about a lot of topics to blog on this week. It seems to me there are a variety of them concerning Second Life and fashion, as well as the business end of fashion. This time I'm going to talk a bit about recoloring items and the use of permissions.

Permissions are those things that a designer assigns a product defining the usage available to the next person, usually a client. There are heated debates among designers and buyers as to what are the best permissions to issue. I personally think it depends to a great extent on what you're giving permission on. For example, I do some limited amount of men's clothing. On them, and only on them, I allow mod (modification) rights on the pants. Men often need to lengthen or shorten the pants depending on what shoe they will be wearing. Let's face it ladies, we rarely have that issue with gowns, since our shoes are most usually ankle or lower. The men may wear knee high boots or low cut shoes, either way they need a choice. So that is one reason to offer mod rights.

I do not offer mod rights in general because they're not needed if resizing scripts are in the prim pieces. Those scripts can be deleted once you've set the item to the size you wish. there's not one good reason on this pixel earth for you to be adjusting any other texture. There just isn't. If you did not like the length of the sleeves or depth of neckline to begin with, then don't buy the outfit. It's pretty simple.

Another, more personal reason for my stance on mod perms. I was about a year into designing when I offered a newly finished gown to a friend of mine. At that time I had mod/copy/no trans. She took the gown, and then came back the next day, having totally changed every texture on that gown. She then happily showed me how she'd improved it. I was stunned and hurt, though I said not a word to her about my feelings. Why bother to take a gown I made and change it into something you made? Make your own. That was my thought then and now. At that point, I decided no more mod gowns ever again, because that person now had a gown with my name as creator, and not one bit of the work was mine any longer except for the prims. And so it goes.

Let's talk about copy. Why? No really, why? Every outfit I sell is a completed gown. If you need to resize a piece, then it probably has a resizing script in it. If it doesn't, contact me! I had a lady recently contact me, expressing a need for larger head pieces on the 20's gowns she had bought. I happily gave her new head pieces with resizing scripts in them, AND changed them out on stock that would go out in the future. Because of her expressed desire, a lot of other customers will benefit. There really is no reason to have copy in an outfit.

Now, transfer or trans. Why, oh why, did I make the majority of my gowns no mod/no copy/trans? Well, after two years of shopping in SL, I got sick to death of not being able to transfer copies of gowns out of my nearly 80k inventory. Yes it is that high, yes I do try to prune often. But I'm a designer and I have all my stock in my inventory. Not everything I have made makes it to a server to be distributed. But let us not digress, back to why I use trans. Basically, I've wasted real money on gowns because I do not wish to wear them any longer, but they still clutter up my inventory. So what choices do I have? I can delete them or keep them if they are no trans. I gotta tell you, after two years of shopping, that's a LOT of gowns. That is also a lot of real life wasted money, since I cannot resell a gown nor can I give it away. To me that's just idiocy. Also, there is the lost sales chances. There are many times my sister and I have gone out shopping, only to spot some gorgeous outfit we'd like to gift someone we know. But it's no trans. So then we have a choice, try to find out how that particular merchant gifts stuff, or give linden to the person and have them go buy it. Those are just not good options in my opinion. I like knowing the reaction of the person I'm giving a gift too!

So when sitting down to decide on a final set of perms for all my garments, I decided that no copy (you do not need five copies of a bodice!), no mod (you do not need to resew that bodice!), trans (pass it on if you're tired of it!) was the way to go! Now you know my feelings and reasons behind the perms I give. I won't change it. I see no reason too.

Now about recolors. I've had a few clients approach me and say, 'if only you'd recolor this gown in screaming taupe, I'd buy it!" I can't do that. Recoloring simply does not work well in most cases. I've seen 'five lovely shades' of the same original gown. It was sad. That's just Photo Shop or GIMP doing a recolor. That doesn't do the gown any justice. It changes the shading of lace and cloth and the whole tone and feel of the gown.

You see, when I'm working with an original piece, I think of the designers. Whether it's a Worth gown, or a gown with no known designer, someone went to a boat load of trouble to create that specific gown in that manner. They picked those fabrics, with those colors and textures and that particular trim or sets of trim. They didn't think, 'wow, ok now let's do this exact same thing in ten other shades!' No, they were creating a piece of artwork for an individual client.

Couture is ARTwork. Haute Couture is a garment made for ONE person, by others. Literally, at this time in history, there are about 300 women in the world who can afford real haute couture garments. They will tell you, haute couture is art in fabric form. We're speaking of gowns that cost upwards of $100,000 for one evening gown. In the middle to late 1800's, when Worth was reinventing fashion, a very wealthy woman might go spend a million 1890 era dollars on her wardrobe for a season. The cost today would be much greater than that. Worth and his peers made gowns for royalty. When I work with a Worth gown and bring it to you in SL, you're getting a chance to wear a version of a haute couture gown. A real one, not one hyped to be one. I do use other designers as well, and am constantly learning of other period designers who have done amazing work.

You do not recolor a Rembrandt or a Monet . . . or a Worth. I have seen a lovely Worth gown recolored into five or six other shades. It made me cringe, because they did not look nearly as good as the original. I was also frankly surprised that some person some place with a computer program thought they could do better than the original designer. I don't know if it was arrogance or ignorance or greed, but the gowns were not appealing.

I will not recolor any gown I have done that is based on an original piece. Don't ask, and don't be offended if I say the same thing in person. Just get a gown that suits you and your style and coloring. If you don't like the coloring on the gown, than change your avatar. What, is that more outrageous? This is Second Life, don't get stuck in a rut! If you really love a gown and want to wear it, then figure out a complimentary look and go for it. I venture into blonde territory now and then. I go between red head and brunette and raven black hair as well. The real beauty of SL is all about having the ability to look any way we wish at almost any given moment.

Now to clear up one or two things before anyone screams offended. If a designer makes a garment from scratch, and then wants to offer 20 colors of it, go them. I've done that recently with the Devil's Cloth gowns. It's the first time I've issued five colors of one style of gown, and chances are it won't happen again any time soon! Savor it while you can ladies!

It's now rather early, and I need to work on some other things. There were four new releases over the past weekend. I'll blog on those tomorrow most probably. In the meantime, I wish you all a lovely Thanksgiving. I hope you make it home to your families, but if you don't, then I hope you spend the day with friends and folks you enjoy.

Many bright blessings on you and yours.