Real Life Fashion For Second Life Avatars

It wasn’t my first visit at Bershka’s SL shop. The Spanish Mosi Mosi Web Designer and Metaverse Development Company from Barcelona did a bit of viral marketing on Flickr first, then did some launch parties, and continued to promote the shop for a whole semester with several events. It’s hard to catch the public’s attention these days — so much is going on at the same time! — so it’s no wonder that their launch of the Autumn/Winter collection (done simultaneously on the real life shops) was probably missed by most of the fashionista blogs. The latest news I’ve found on Bershka in Second Life came from a RL fashion blog. Quite a lot of blogs posted some news on Bershka’s opening in SL back in June/July, like the one from my friend Ana Lutetia, but they went quiet since then. Ana questioned herself if the power of RL branding would really influence resident’s choices on going to their SL shops or not; a question that has been bothering many fashion designers in SL, of course.

More important than that, to me, was that Bershka’s models were not really discussed/presented/announced. Or were they? Sure, Mosi Mosi did some launches on their events; but besides the Flickr streams, where are the fashionista reviews? What do they recommend? What is Bershka’s best choice for the SL New Year parties? We don’t know, and the fashion blogs and e-zines for SL don’t seem to care.

I asked myself “why”. Bershka, probably much like American Apparel, or Mrs Jones (a brand launched even earlier in SL by Rivers Run Red) — and quite in contrast with Emporio Armani, which started as a major flop, on a shop that wasn’t completed on the launch date and even after a month had nothing there for sale — did create faithful replicas of their clothes and shop design, which are for sale at a low price. The clothes are well designed, quite cheap, but they’re not free; they respected the community of fashion designers in SL and tried to compete fairly (ie. not by dumping their products). But something is definitely missing in this picture. Why isn’t Bershka selling as many clothes in SL as, say, Last Call, Simone, or Pixel Dolls? What do the SL brands do that the RL brands cannot do? Surely it’s not “advertising” (Bershka, as part of the Spanish Inditex group, the largest clothes retailer in Europe, certainly has the ability to spend a few L$ in ads).

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