Virtual world designers come and go all the time, but the disappearance of Italian designer Squinternet Larnia of Donna Flora fame was one that many fashionistas (including myself) lamented regularly, particularly as many of us knew of her experiences with cancer.
Notable fashion blogger Cajsa Lilliehook took the time recently to track Squinternet down, and the news is not good... But there may yet be some good news on the horizon. The fashion community is already mobilizing with a fundraiser to help support Squinternet. Keep reading for all the details on Squinternet's situation, and what you can do to help.
If you've never had the pleasure of shopping at Donna Flora, now is the time to rectify that. Squinternet's jewelry is fine and precious, loaded with small details and textured in such a way that it always felt like some of the most "real" jewelry in all of SL. Her clothing designs are almost on the other end of the spectrum, flirting with surreality, history, and fantasy. I dipped into my Donna Flora stock at some point for almost every one of the female Mad Men avatar makeovers I did including Dr. Faye Miller's work outfit, pictured above.
More than that, Squinternet's always been a pleasure to deal with, which is why it's especially painful to hear about her current circumstances. Squinternet was diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread to her bones, and although she's already surpassed her doctor's expectations it's become too painful for her to work in SL anymore. Sales at Donna Flora support the sim, but not Squinternet, and she's having difficulty affording the care that she needs.
If you want to help out, there are quite a few ways to do so. If you're a designer you can sign up here to participate in the Love Donna Flora fundraiser, which will run from July 25th to August 11th. The deadline to apply is July 16th, so don't put off your application for too long.
If you aren't a designer but you still want to help, my advice is to shop! Shop at the fundraiser when it opens, and of course shop at Donna Flora. You can also visit the Love Donna Flora fundraiser blog to read more about Squinternet, as well as send messages to her.
(It should go without saying, but if you find yourself skeptical of this cause, please stop and think before you use that as an excuse to deride or browbeat participants. Skepticism is healthy, but so is sympathy.)
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Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, 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.