Presenting at FashionCampNY 2010 Saturday, February 20

Virtual goods are hot, and 3D is even hotter!

In this 45 minute presentation, new methods of marketing, sales and development using 3D will be showcased.  You’ll learn about a sizzling new way to showcase your work using 3D in a 24 x7 virtual fashion show. Pick your models, pick their looks, pick your runway, and then select the outfits, garments or accessories you want to showcase..it’s that easy.

Want to go deeper? How about easy-to-use product demo stations, where your buyers can interact with your product offerings, changing colors and patterns.

Want even more? Your buyers can purchase your product directly from the runway; look at tech packs, or anything else you want to show them.  Your buyers are overseas or not easy to reach? No problem. If they have a web-enabled or mobile device, they can get actual videos of your product.   Join us for this visionary approach to marketing your product, and be at the forefront of trend. CEO Shenlei Winkler presents “Virtual Fashion, Real Money” in this 45 minute demonstration at FashionCampNY.

Fashion Camp is a free, volunteer-run, 2-day barcamp-style conference with workshops and presentations focused on current topics in fashion, technology, and innovative marriages of fashion and tech, including fashion tech/wearables, fashion eCommerce, and fashion2.0.

FRI Student Interns Take Manhattan: Day Four

The Train Station at Poughkeepsie

Farewell From The Train Station

The Fashion Research Institute interns from Buffalo State University, Missy & Britt, rounded out their visit on day four.  After a long day in the City the previous day, everyone was a little hard to rouse.  We put some mileage in, criss-crossing the rag district  and searching out the last nuanced trim and detail for their collections.

Packing up, we managed to get everyone into the car and to the train station with 15 minutes to spare – only to discover that the train was running 20 minutes late.

Hosting our interns was a delight.  We were very pleased to meet these two charming young women in person.  We are looking forward to their Spring break, when they will return for help with their final run-up to turning in their collection.

Our interns had the opportunity to learn first hand about New York, the fashion capital of the world and about how the apparel industry works;.  We had a chance to make sure they located everything they needed for their collections; and they had in-depth tutoring on developing their portfolio for future endeavors.

It was a great trip, and we were very sorry to wave good-bye at the train station.

Of course, now the fun (or hard) part begins: constructing the garments for the two versions of Runway 3.0 and developing the visual story for their portfolios.  Britt and Missy will be back in six weeks for their Spring Break, where we’ll help with the technical design of their collections.

Missy Doesn't Want to Go

FRI Student Interns Take Manhattan: Day Three!

The Sourcing List

Since the FRI interns had a long and grueling day the previous day, we got a later start on Friday.  No one seemed to be in a big hurry to finish up breakfast, served in the sun-drenched family room (a definite advantage in wintery New York).  Nevertheless, we finally got ourselves loaded into the car for our hour-long drive into the City.

The trip flew past as we talked the whole way about fashion and careers, interrupted occasionally to point out areas of interest.  As we crossed into Manhattan over the Harlem River, Britt and Missy became quite excited.  Mecca for fashion designers was at our fingertips!  Dropping the car at a convenient lot, we started our long day of sourcing and more.

First we visited the FIT campus, which is a block-long street of school buildings.  We dropped into the FIT Museum, which had three exhibits currently installed.   We did a whirlwind tour and made sure to pick up all the exhibit brochures.  Both interns found something to interest them in the American Beauty exhibit.  Missy was thrilled about the evening wear; Britt was fascinated by the use of furs and leathers.  Upstairs in the revolving exhibit space, both fell in love with the early fashions.  Britt was particularly enamored of the late Victorian style clothing on display, while Missy found a length of Luminex fabric on display which captivated her.

Departing FIT, we cut across on 29th Street and popped into a couple of the event planning/party stores to source some less common trims and textile substitutes.  Often just knowing things are available will change a designer’s vision, so we were trying to expose the interns to as wide an array of products as possible.

Heading up 6th Avenue, we took in the import district, with the wide array of costume jewelry, hair supply stores, and hosiery importers.  As we crossed into Herald Square, we stopped for the ‘perfect’ shot of the Empire State building framed by the buildings on either side of 34th Street.  then we tackled Macy’s.  We didn’t have a lot of time, so we quickly walked the windows and then cut in through the main cosmetics floor and did a whirlwind visit of the “Aisles of Beauty” followed by a quick visit to the accessories, handbags, and watches.  Both declined visiting the Louis-Vuitton boutique claiming it would be ‘dangerous to their wallets’.

Heading back to 6th Avenue, we headed north to M&J Trimmings and the other bead and trim stores on 6th Avenue.  Finished there, we walked up the Avenue to Bryant Park and the tents for Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week.  It was oddly quiet, with only a few ready wagons pulled in on 6th Avenue, and a remarkably small cluster of paparazzi and visitors.  The usual gaggle of ‘models waiting to be discovered’ were very much not apparent and there was a decided lack of black cars dueling it out to deliver their passengers to the red carpet.

We’re not sure if the lack of energy was due to the poor economy or simply because when a party is over in New York, it’s over, and every trendster knows it and refuses to get caught dead at a venue that’s outdated.  Perhaps the fact that the party is moving uptown in the Fall contributed to the poor turnout; all we can say is that at 2 pm on a Friday afternoon on a relatively clement winter day, there weren’t even the usual park goers hanging out to ogle the passers-by.

Departing the tents, we dove into the rag district for the real reason for the visit: sourcing!  First stop was Leather Impact, where Brit found two skins with minor blemishes (both goatskins, one with a lovely soft golden metallic spray finish, the other a very soft 1 ounce sueded half skin) at the ‘perfect’ price, which of course made the skins ‘perfect’.

Heading around the corner to 39th Street, we went to the ‘Fabric Store of Enormous Rats’.  There are many job lotters in the rag district, all of which seem to be named things like A&J, A&S, A&A, and so on.  It’s a bit tough to differentiate them; however, the Store of Enormous Rats’ has earned this distinction by virtue of the fact that at one point a few years earlier, we were sourcing for a theatrical event and digging through the basement.  We moved a bolt of fabric and a rat ran across our feet.  Rats are semi-common in New York, but this one seemed a tad put out that his home had been moved.  At any rate, the prices at the Store of Enormous Rats are really excellent and with only minor haggling everyone can usually walk away satisfied.  Except, perhaps, the rats.

In any event, the proprietor and staff got into the spirit of the hunt and were very helpful at moving bolts around for the ladies.  We soon found Missy’s single knit jersey, which she negotiated a very good price for.  Britt had a wider array of fabrics she was sourcing, but we soon found her changeable iridescent taffeta (black to silvery grey); her lace (better than expected); and silk crepe chiffon (it’s like buttah!).  Successfully concluding Britt’s purchases, Missy was almost overwhelmed by the display of sequined fabrics by the counter, but we were able to carefully disengage the bolts from her fingers and head west to Daytona Trims.

Daytona yielded up dye, inexpensive (ok, cheap!) zippers and buttons, strapping, and best of all, stretch rhinestone trim (three guesses who bought that?)  Missy was dissuaded from purchasing all the other wide rhinestone trims by being reminded that developing her own beading patterns would let her put them in her portfolio.  Tucking everything carefully away, we headed over to 7th Avenue for a glory shot by the Fashion District Information Center, home of the giant button and needle.  Then we headed south on 7th Avenue (aka Fashion Avenue) for a quick bite at Seven on 7th to wait out rush hour.

Heading out of the City and beating our way back through the traffic, we were well content with our day, even it was remarkably rat-free.  Missy and Britt had gotten their full suite of fabrics for their collections, as well as additional trims; we had taken in some exhibits, paid our respects to the Tents at Bryant Park, we’d had the ‘chi-chi NYC restaurant’ experience, and we had a chance to experience Rush Hour in New York.  Back home, we found a fire and martinis waiting for us, as well as some light snacks.   A perfect ending to a perfect sourcing day in New York.

The Museum at FIT

Macy's "Theater"Window

Britt Sources Trims

Missy Examines the Many Choices of Rhinestones

Photographers' Entrance to NY Fashion Week Tents

Britt Checking Out Lace Options

Success!

"You Aren't Supposed to Rip....It. Oh."

"It's like Buttah!"

"This is the PERFECT Taffeta"

Haggling About the Price

Perfect Fabric! Perfect Price! Yes, She Wants It!

Settling Up....O.M.G....Sequins!

The Giant Needle at the Fashion District Information Kiosk

FRI Student Interns Take Manhattan! Days 1 and 2

Britt & Missy: Seasoned commuters coming back from their event at NY Fashion Week.

Our student interns, Brittany and Melissa, arrived at Poughkeepsie station via Amtrak on Wednesday, February 10th for a four-day experiential.  Britt and Missy are students at Buffalo State University, interning with Fashion Research Institute.  They’ve been working with us since their Fashion CAD course in Spring 2009.  Their professor, Elaine Polvinen, has been instrumental in helping Britt and Missy get the days off from their regular classes to come to New York City and have the opportunity for first-hand apparel industry exposure.

We’re working on a special project with Britt and Missy this semester.  We are helping them take their real life, senior fashion collection, which we are helping them develop for their senior runway show (Runway 3.0).  We will then help them develop the same collection as virtual fashion in OpenSim where they will show it on programmed models in a special runway setting.  We invited them to New York to source for their real life collection.

We had a full line-up of activities planned for them, not just sourcing, and we also built in a bit of down time.  On Wednesday afternoon we worked on collection development for their senior runway show and drilled into their portfolio development.  After spending several hours sketching and planning, we were ready for a break: appetizers of baked brie, bacon-wrapped filet mignon, & scampi and raspberry martinis in front of the fireplace.

Thursday was a big (and long) day for them.  We had arranged for them to work at a New York Fashion Week event sponsored by Nolcha Fashion Business Services.  Kerry Bannigan, CEO of Nolcha was instrumental in helping us to arrange this for them.  It was a typically long fashion day: they had to leave our home in the lower Hudson Valley at 5:30 in order to be on site by 8 am; at the end of their day we picked them up at the station at 11:37 pm.

They were providing a range of services at Nolcha’s event, held at the Bo Concept Studio on West 18th Street: acting as a product spokesmodels, serving drinks, stuffing swag bags, and generally assisting the designers at the event to get set up and help display their work to the visitors at the event.

At the end of the day, they were very happy to come back to snacks and treats.  Lessons learned: how to commute (toasted bagels with a schmear of cream cheese, go-cups of coffee, have your ticket ready); how to navigate the subway system; Avenues run north and south, streets run east and west; traffic heads north on the even avenues, south on the odd; that the trains in New York leave on time and wait for no man, woman or intern; fashion seems very glamorous, but there are actually a lot of long hard hours involved.  All good lessons, some of which we would use on Day 3.  More about that later.  For now, pictures from the visit.

Britt

Missy

Not too tired to vogue!

Britt & Missy in the Fashion District on 7th Avenue

FRI’s Student Interns, New York City, and Fashion Week

Almost every fashion design student wants to at least visit New York City, the fashion capital not just of the United States, but also the world.  New York is where fashion is happening, particularly during one of our legendary Fashion Weeks.

This particular Fashion Week is a little different: this is the last time New York Fashion Week will be held in the Tents at Bryant Park.  The next time the designers and models come out, they’ll be further north in the City.  We confess to being a bit sad to seeing the tents go, although we are sure the Bryant Park grass is breathing an enormous sigh of relief.  What excites us about this particular Fashion Week is that our student interns from Buffalo State University will be joining us here in the City.

Our big project for this semester is to develop their senior collection both as physical garments to be shown as part of the senior runway show and as virtual avatar apparel to be shown in virtual runway show.  The theme of the senior show this year is Runway 3.0, and we’ve been tasked with adding various sorts of technology to their garment collection.  We have agreed to serve as consultants in helping with the technical design aspects of the physical garments as well as with the development of their virtual garments and their virtual runway show.

As part of the physical prototyping, we’re taking our students on a day-long sourcing trip to New York’s garment district, there to locate textiles, trims, closures, and other useful things.

We have also arranged for them to volunteer at a Fashion Week designer event sponsored by Nolcha, where they will have a chance to be exposed to an industry event, to meet other students and of course, to mingle with designers and other industry insiders.

We will be doing a lot of in-depth exploration of the technical design aspect of their collections: they need to finish this project with us not only with the mirror collections (physical/virtual), but also with a completed ‘story’ for their portfolio.  And of course, we expect them to put together a report about their experiences, which will be blogged over on Professor Elaine Polvinen’s Virtual Fashion blog.

Oh, yes, and while they are here, we’ll make sure we at least stroll past those big white tents.  We don’t have time to take in a show, but we can at least take in the energy!

ScienceSim Land Grant Program Presentations Scheduled

Please join us on Saturday, January 9th or Sunday, January 10th for a presentation about the land grant program in ScienceSim.  Details about participation in this program will be presented and information about applying for a parcel with be provided.

The times and locations are as follows:

Saturday, January 9th, 7 am PT/10 am ET, Shengri La Hope 216, 37, 2001

Sunday, January 10th, 10 am PT/1 pm ET, Shengri La Hope 216, 37, 2001

Sunday, January 10th, 4 pm PT/7 pm ET, Shengri La Hope 216, 37, 2001

If you cannot make these events, you may visit our regions in ScienceSim or in Second Life (Shengri La Hope) for more information, or send a request through your organizational email to admin at fashionresearchinstitute dot com.  Please note we cannot respond to requests from noninstitutional addresses.

Our Accredited Course Through Buffalo State: FTT495 VIRTUAL FASHING

Our Avatar Apparel Design 101 course has been approved by Buffalo State University and will be offered for university credit the first time in June 2010 as FTT495 VIRTUAL FASHING.  The course is a 3 credit course taught during the Summer 2010 term and starts June 1 and runs till June 26.  Students register as non-matriculated students through Buffalo State University.  The credit they receive for this course may be transferred to other universities.

We will use our text book, Designing Dreams Ed. 2, which will be available on Amazon in April. We will meet virtually in our regions in ScienceSim. This is an accelerated course which meets daily for the full three week period.  Students are responsible for their own hardware and Internet access.  Students must also have a Skype account.

This is a fast-paced course which will take a beginning student through the process of avatar apparel design and merchandising.  Students should have good working Photoshop skills and know how to work with layers, brushes, styles, and effects.  Students will complete the course with a runway show of their work.  Students will be taught to develop avatar apparel using the patent-pending Black Dress Design development methodology.

Buffalo State University was founded in 1871 and has been part of the State University of New York educational system since 1948.  It is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools as well as various other accrediting institutions for selected programs.

For more information about registration, including a list of fees and tuition charges, please visit the Registrar’s page at the Buffalo State University web site.   For more specific information about FTT495, please visit the Summer 2010 schedule listing.