Partee: Hello! Thank you so much for meeting with me in your store. Oh, I love your outfit!!
Una: I´m glad to meet you too! This is for my next arcade set called Medusa.
Partee: I look forward to it when it comes out. One thing I always love is finding out how people found out and got involved with Second Life. You have been in Second Life for over 14 years. How did you find out about it at first?
Una: I found out about it in a class! Our teacher had it installed on our computers so we could check out museums and concerts online. I was getting past a bad relationship at that time and so I started to play here in Second Life. I visited a lot of museums during this time, I remember a replica of the Casa Encendida which was from Madrid Spain.
Partee: Is that still here in Second Life?
Una: No. I do miss this part of Second Life. I do not visit museums. Things are not quite the same. It is sad in a way.
Partee: Second Life always seems to be changing. There are a few places here I loved that are now gone.
Una: But I did discover that I can make clothing and so I started as a hobby.
Partee: What was it like when you first started in Second Life? Were you hooked from the start?
Una: Really no, I don’t like chat places. But I did spend days playing Parcheesi in a disco. That is when I found out about role-playing places. It was then that I started to play happily all day. At one point I was even a panther in Gor game!
Partee: Sounds like you were exploring many areas of Second Life. Did you do much role-playing?
Una: Oh yes! And casinos! I loved playing Bingo! Later this changed to Slingo. I think that role-play is a good place to get to know people and it’s fun!
Partee: I know many love it. Sadly myself I am terrible at role-playing, except that I do love to create fantasy images with a story so perhaps that is my ‘role-play.’
Una: Haha! At times we are all terrible in a moment. But it’s in role-playing that there are those moments that are magic. For you, your moment is to create good fantasy images.
Partee: Very well put! Sigh, 14+ years ago things were quite different then.
Una: Yes indeed! I see more discos and sex but less role-playing. But it is for role-playing I still create things such as clothing. I love role-play and I want to keep the magic of it that I saw in it.
Partee: So what got you interested in doing clothing in Second Life?
Una: When I started Second Life I knew a lady who does clothing. So I decided to start doing it as a hobby. In real life, I was thinking of going to a clothing design college. But I finally decided to focus on it as a hobby here in Second Life and now it is my job! Luckily, in real life, it would have been very expensive to go to a clothing design college.
Partee: Well, you have excelled at it! So did you start making clothes when it was system clothing?
Una: I started to do clothing when they were just textures and prims! From there passed on to using sculpties. And of course, moved onto mesh with no rigging and then finally body rigging.
Partee: When mesh came along what was your learning process like?
Una: Puffff a lot of stress! When I started to learn Mesh there were not a lot of tutorials except for maybe 1 or 2 and those were in English! I, myself, speak Spanish and so it was a horrible time. But thankfully I had some friends who helped me. Bronte Denja with the SK store and other friends all showed me the way! Later we started a community and now we help others to create items and explore new programs. But, even now, I’m still learning! I have a mesh class next Wednesday with the owner of the store LuluB. Blender has changed some with the newest version and I need to learn about it.
Partee: Oh that sounds marvelous of you to pass on your learning to others like that and that there is a community that you are part of to help others!
Una: Yes, a lot of people ask me on Facebook and I do not mind answering questions if I can. Second Life has a good community of creators. There are a few who don’t like to reveal their secrets but my clothing is very simple. Hehe.
Partee: What is your process like? How do you come up with your ideas?
Una: Well, my ideas can start with a Google search or Pinterest to get ideas. Then I paint the dress in my book changing things as I go along and see how easy can do the set. Also, I can get ideas started when watching a film or when I walk around and look inside a store or see a person as a model.
Partee: Sounds like you find inspiration in many places.
Una: I have ideas all the time!
Partee: Indeed, I am sure! So from there what is your process? Do you use Blender or other tools?
Una: First I draw by hand in my book. Then I use Marvelous or zBrush. From there I move to Blender often returning back to Marvelous or zBrush and then back again to Blender. It can be a very iterative process. From there, I go on to baking the rigging. There I move to Substance Painter and Photoshop for texturing. Finally, I go into Second Life to check it all
Partee: Quite a palette of tools.
Una: Yes! I have two Blenders I am running now: an older version and the newest version, depending on what I want to use. My favorite tool is zBrush. It feels more organic and is easier for me.
Partee: How long does it take for you to move from idea to packaged item?
Una: It depends on the idea and the inspirations that you have. If it’s a smaller item then that can be 2-6 hours. Other sets which are more complicated can have me spending 1-2 weeks to finish.
Partee: It seems like a lot of work goes into your outfits! I can testify to that since I have loved wearing them myself!
Una: Sometimes I dedicate a lot of work to simple sets, and others that seem more complicated don’t give me any problems so I can finish them quickly. It is the misery of mesh! For example, the set that I am wearing looks complicated but I did it in 3 days! I was inspired and the mesh and textures did not give me any problems.
Partee: The boon and bane of mesh but I must say the outfit looks fabulous.
Una: I was able to recycle the belt. We girls need to recycle clothing in both in Second Life and real life!
Partee: Oh lord yes! How many events are you involved in? I of course know Fantasy Faire and Arcade. What others?
Una: It depends on the month and if events are accepting me. In September we going to be in We Love Roleplay (in collaboration with the SK store), Neojapan, Cyber Fair, and Arcade. Other months I am in Access, Anthem, Midnight Order, Kinky, and Fameshed. It all depends on the month and if other events are going on such as Kawaii, and Collabor88. Oh, and Santa Inc.! Hehe.
Partee: That is quite an amazing array of events!
Una: Yes! Second Life is my job so I dedicate my time to events, This summer I did less since I was working in a summer school in real life. Now that that is done I am back to doing more events.
Partee: Do you have any plans for the future for you and your store? You have had an amazing number of people come through your store here just as we have been chatting.
Una: Yes, I have new plans. I have different collaborations with other stores planned. And of course, I continue to study mesh so as to improve my work and add new items to the store. One day I wish to create an animesh set. Oh and all the people here are for a hunt, the Crystal Crazy hunt and I put the Happy weekend.
Partee: Oh, Animesh would be wonderful! It can certainly provide some new avenues for you! I want to thank you again for taking the time to talk with me. It has been a delight!
Una: Thanks for your time, it made me happy when you sent me the request for the interview … it was unexpected. You have to do more interviews with fantasy stores! We are more interesting … haha.
Partee Mytili has been FOCUS’s Fashion Editor since 2019 and previously covered SL fashion in various other virtual magazines. She has been active in the fashion scene of Second Life since 2012. Partee also takes all of the photos that appear in her articles.