EXCLUSIVE NOVEMBER 2010
Written by Imani Enzo Photography by Diconay Boa
T e m p l at e s for Success
re you so completely and utterly into SLÂŽ fashion that you would love to pursue a career in it but have not dared to give it a try? Perhaps you have always loved clothes and would love to design your own looks, but arenâ€™t exactly sure how to go about it. Well, there are many ways embark upon a career in SL fashion, but one of the most popular ways by far, is to design your own collections. What can be better than allowing your imagination to run wild with garments you create and seeing the products of your creativity on worn all over the grid. From the outside looking in a career as a fashion designer seems exciting, glamorous and lucrative. However, fashion is anything but superficial. Design work is serious business; it is a labor of love that requires time, hard work, passion, and dedication. Learning the ins and outs of designing virtual world fashions can also be a daunting task and the pressures associated with the need to maintain a unique style point of view can be stressful. However, if you truly want to design, none of this matters. You probably welcome the challenge. The choice to enter the world of fashion design should be a decisive one that you never give up
on. It is not going to be smooth sailing, but it will be a very interesting journey that allows you to express yourself through your designs and give someone the pleasure of wearing them. Suzy Somerton and Typhaon Nishi are fashion designers who know all too well what it takes to be on top in SL. Individually, this RL couple built successful beachwear and menswear businesses. Together, they took their design skills and their common desire to use their talents to help others and created Top Designer Templates (TD Templates), the biggest template company in SL, with over 500 templates available. Three years ago, they started TD Templates after the couple found themselves bombarded with requests for custom orders. They started out selling a few of their designs as templates to be used to help other people make their own designs. Their efforts were well received and the results have been phenomenal. Specifically, they have created a niche in the SL fashion industry that has allowed them to demonstrate their creativity through their designs, build a successful business, and provide a valuable service to individuals who are trying to create their own designs. I recently had the opportunity to learn more about this fascinating couple and their business. Here is what they wanted to share.
Imani Enzo: Hi you two! Thanks for taking the time to meet with me. Letâ€™s begin with you telling our readers what a template is and describe how your business evolved into what it is today. Typhaon Nishi and Suzy Somerton: A template is a ready-made design basis for creating clothes in SL. We see our templates as a starting point for designers so they can add their creative imagination to produce a unique item. You can easily start your fashion business if preferred by using one of our templates, but we encourage customers to explore their designing talent and make their items exclusive. TD Templates evolved from our love of creating designs for SL and sharing them with new creators. We started back in 2007 with our own individual shops, Typhaon ran a top menswear store and Suzy ran a beachwear store. Both stores were very successful.
Eventually, we decided to put a few of our designs up on the template market and help other people with making their designs. Three years later, we are now the biggest template company in SL and we share our ideas and creations now with our group of over 1500 members. I.E.: I think itâ€™s amazing that you are able to enjoy a successful relationship while running a successful business in SL. Please describe your chemistry as a team. Is it as easy to collaborate in business as it is in your marriage? T.N. & S.S.: We just find that we work really well together. We bounce ideas off each other all the time and we are very supportive. We have known each other for a long time so we know how each of us likes to work. Communication and mutual respect go a long way. I.E.: What are the goals of your business? T.N. & S.S.: Our goal is to keep creating great templates for designers to use in SL. We also aim to use our templates to endorse creativity in people who are new to the fashion business. With the help of our templates, they can more easily launch a business. Itâ€™s been very rewarding for us to see new creators get started in SL with our templates. Actually, many have become quite successful designers. Our templates benefit more advanced creators as well. Specifically, many of them regularly purchase our designs for experimentation. I.E.: Does either of your RL backgrounds mirror or lend itself to your SL work?
T.N. & S.S.: Typhaon is a business management graduate and his knowledge is very valuable to us. We apply a lot of it marketing and positioning our brand. Suzy is a forensic psychologist graduate and she keeps us sane! Neither of us imagined we would ever have a clothing design business until we came into SL. I.E.: Describe both your roles as it relates to your business. T.N. & S.S.: Basically Typhaon makes all the menswear and Suzy makes the ladies clothes. We share our designs ideas and help each other with designing to make each template the best quality we can. Typhaon handles most of the advertising and promotional stuff. A good business needs to have structure on all levels and we work hard to ensure that ours does. I.E.: Where do you draw the inspiration for your template creations from? T.N. & S.S.: We like to look around and see what the latest fashion and trends are and we get lots of suggestions from customers for templates they would like to see us make. We then map out a schedule each month to plan exactly what we will make, as some templates take longer than others to complete. No matter what, it is our objective to introduce at least two or three new templates each week. I.E.: Describe your design style. What types of items do you tend to create? T.N. & S.S.: We offer a diverse mix of smart casual, ultra sexy, grunge, everyday wear. We keep an eye on the latest fashion and try and cover different ranges of clothes. Our templates
tend to reflect all kinds of styles of fashion, although we do lean towards the more casual styles. They seem to be quite popular. I.E.: Do you only create clothing templates? What else can be found at TD Templates? T.N. & S.S.: We are always expanding what we have available at TD Templates. In addition to clothing templates, we sell sculpties, product displays, product packaging. I.E.: What do customers get when they purchase a template? T.N. & S.S.: Typically, there would just be a set of in-world texture TGA files which are ready to be made into clothing for your avatar (These can also be exported to use in your graphics program). However, most of our templates also come with PSD files, which are multilayered
files with different elements of the clothing put on each layer (i.e. creases, buttons, shadows, etc...). Additionally, some of our designs also come with sculpts for you to add to the clothing. I.E.: Some may argue that designers who use templates are not being creative at all, how would you dispel such a notion? T.N. & S.S.: We can see how some designers would see what we do as a full permission resale business. However, we see and position our designs as stepping stones for designers to add their own unique touches to create an exclusive design. Our templates give many new creators the opportunity to start a fashion business in SL but a lot of our time is spent working with new creators, giving advice on how to use the templates, and encouraging them to take design to the next level. Further, we offer tips on Photoshop and marketing. I.E.: Give me an example of how one could potentially increase their skill level using templates and building upon them. T.N. & S.S.: You can learn a lot about things like avatar positioning or how creases work by studying the layout of a PSD file. We also make basic tutorials available for sale and we spend a lot of time providing advice in an effort to help designers build their skill sets. I.E.: How did the two of you go about building your brand in SL? Has it been difficult to establish it? T.N. & S.S.: We have put a lot of effort in providing good customer service which is an important factor for any business RL and SL.
"Ensuring customers are happy with the product is the first step in building a positive brand" Ensuring customers are happy with the product is the first step in building a positive brand. I.E.: How do you distinguish TD Templates from your competitors? T.N. & S.S.: We see ourselves as a ‘behind the scenes’ type of creator. Our job is to help others along. Specifically, we pay a lot of attention to details and provide high quality easy to use templates. We are really happy with what we do in SL and think that it shows in our products and services. I.E.: Finally, what’s next for TD Templates? What can our readers expect from you in the near future? T.N. & S.S.: You can expect more great templates. We are looking forward to the new meshing system coming to SL because it will allow us to become more creative with our templates and allow us to deliver even higher quality products. To see TD Templates creations, please visit www.tdtemplates.com A
MAKE YOUR OWN STYLE D
Photography by Ozz Larson Modeled by Salvo Waydelich & July Raymaker
July Raymaker /Shirt TD Templates - Camel Jacket /Shorts TD Templates - Denim MiniShorts
July Raymaker /Shirt TD Templates - Peasant Top /Pants TD Templates - Worn Jeans Salvo Waydelich /Shirt TD Templates - Cruise Shirt /Pants TD Templates - HD Jeans (Black)
July Raymaker /Shirt TD Templates - Cable Sweater /Pants TD Templates - Leather Stud Pants Salvo Waydelich /Shirt TD Templates - Sports Sweater /Pants TD Templates - HD Jeans (Indie Blue)
July Raymaker /Shirt TD Templates - Open Hoodie /Pants TD Templates - Washed Out Jeans Salvo Waydelich /Shirt TD Templates - Rocker Shirt /Pants TD Templates - Vintage jeans
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