Don't ask why, but I recently had to create an avatar - a character/person (for those not in the virtual gaming world) - in Second Life. Then, after some minor Googling, I entered this vast world of virtual fashion - think people creating full clothing lines, garnering major "celebrity" (in the meta way) attention, and actually making money (in the real, cold hard cash way) off of it. If you've never heard of dresses from Simone!, lingerie from Insolence, or stilettos from Shiny Things, it's ok, neither had we. Not only are these virtual designers getting a virtual (but still real) audience, but some big name, real designers are too - Armani has his own virtual boutique, and Jean-Paul Gaultier used the virtual world as a platform for launching his "Fleur du M√¢le" fragrance through a VIP event that gave invitees access to a new Second Life area. We even found Second Style Fashionista (we're so happy to get a mention in the virtual world), where a woman has been wandering "all over the grid" - Second Life speak for looking all over the place - in search of a wedding dress! If all this seems too fake to be real, you might remember that story about a real-life couple divorcing over Second Life. So just remember - if you're actually into this, and you think there aren't any real-life consequences to donning a puce, sequined tube dress in your Second Life, think again. --ALEXANDRA BEN-GURION
Six Designers Who Are Shaping the Future of Italian Fashion
Is the Italian fashion industry doomed? These six promising designers would tell you that it's definitely not.