Iris Rants: SL Designers Missing Deadlines Drives Me Crazy!
Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of virtual world and MMO fashion
This might be the most apologetic rant I ever do, because as irritating as I find this issue, I'm very sympathetic to its cause. When it comes to writing about SL fairs and events, it's always best to write on or before the first day, so that you can get people's attention before they've been there and seen it themselves. However, if I had the choice, I would write about these events closer to the end because there is a very significant disadvantage to being an early-bird shopper or blogger. Here's why:
In almost every event I've ever seen in my years in SL, dozens of designers will wait until the 11th hour to finish their work or set up, while others will not even be ready for opening day, leaving their booths empty.
Now, it's true that RL should generally take priority over SL, but when it's the same shops over and over with big empty booths for the first few days of every fair they're in... well, here's why it drives me crazy:
Don't get me wrong, I like to think that I'm one of the least entitled fashionistas around. I don't believe that designers owe me anything for being a loyal customer or even for blogging them. Likewise, I don't believe that I owe designers anything either. We engage in an action where both of us come away with things of equal value: I give you money, you give me an item I want. Anything more than that is icing on the cake, but it should neither be expected nor treated like it's due.
The reason why seeing the same shops absent on those first few crucial, high-volume days irritates me (perhaps more than it should) is because they're just shooting themselves in the foot. Most of us approach events as a shopping errand on a list, something to get out of the way and scratch off a list and move on, the sooner the better. Countless customers and bloggers pass by these empty booths, and while bigger brands may be able to lure back die-hard fans once they have set up, smaller brands are throwing a lot of potential revenue right down the drain (and paying for it with stress.)
Being late happens from time to time. Ask Hamlet and he'll tell you that I have a pretty chronic issue with meeting my deadlines. People get sick, connections get shaky, kids get... well, kids are kids. Remember that a lot of these fairs and events require designers to set up during the week so that they can open for the weekend, but most designers still have full-time day jobs and families to worry about. No one wants to come home from work to do more work, obviously.
Right now, the SL fashion world has evolved into a state of endless events and fairs and sales and specials. Many designers are overextending themselves with event after event, end to end and even overlapping, and they aren't giving themselves the time in between releases that they need to get ahead of it all. Designers, if you look back and notice a pattern of lateness in your events, you've got to give yourselves a break. Plan ahead, space things out, and remember that there will always be another event just around the corner.
Iris Ophelia (Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.