Time to Dress to Impress—in Social VR

Linden Lab launches Sansar fashion market to sell user-generated fashion for avatars.

While still in public Beta, Sansar does seem to be gathering momentum. In October I was impressed by the quality of the scary and atmospheric experiences they showcased in a Halloween competition that I helped to judge, while only last week they also opened the virtual doors of their Hollywood Museum to showcase some exclusive Star Wars movie memorabilia.

Now Linden Lab has announced it is launching a fashion market for user-created avatar clothing. It will be powered by integration with Marvelous Designer sofware, which is widely used in the film and games industry to create digital clothing. It can virtually replicate fabric textures and physical properties to the last button, fold, and accessory, which is pretty important if people are actually going to start spending money to kit up their avatars and spending more time in social VR platforms like Sansar.   

Marvelous Designer is a product of CLO Virtual Fashion a 3D fashion design tool used by numerous mainstream brands and independent designers to visualize true-to-life 3D garments. CLO can be used to express a variety of design details for every type of garments from simple T-shirts to complex outerwear, and Sansar users will now be able to play around with those realistic cloth simulation as they customize the fit and style on their avatars.

“Our experience operating Second Life has shown how important and valuable user-created avatar fashions are, and with Sansar, we’re taking it to an exciting new level,” CEO of Linden Lab Ebbe Altberg said. “Our integration with Marvelous Designer means that not only can you change what you wear, you can customize the fit and style to adjust how you wear it in Sansar. For example, you can roll up your sleeves, loosen your collar, and arrange your scarf just as you like it.”

Linden Lab believes that this opens up new creative and entrepreneurial opportunities for users. For designers, Sansar’s fashion market could prove to be a tangible business opportunity, if Second Life (SL) is anything to go by. Over the past 15 years, SL users have created nearly two billion virtual objects, and avatar fashions account for a major portion of the $500 million (USD) user-to-user economy, and some designers have earned millions of dollars from their virtual fashion businesses.

“Innovative fashion companies, world-leading film and gaming studios, and creative hobbyists around the world are already using Marvelous Designer to create incredible virtual clothing designs,” CEO & CTO at CLO Jaden Oh said. “Our integration with Sansar is the first of its kind, and it makes it easy for our users to sell their creations in this new market.”

New and existing Sansar users can currently get a 60-day free trial of Marvelous Designer, and Linden Lab is clearly hoping that this move will not only help kick-start Sansar’s in-world economy, but also increase user take-up and engagement by allowing them to customize their avatars in creative ways. Fashion is a major part of how humans convey individuality and personality IRL, and the same applies in VR.

About the Scout

Alice Bonasio

Alice Bonasio runs the Tech Trends blog and contributes to Ars Technica, Quartz, Newsweek, The Next Web, and others. She is also writing VRgins, a book about sex and relationships in the virtual age. She lives in the UK.

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