Fashion Retailer to Open Second Life Store

Posted on June 20, 2006

American Apparel Second Life StoreNow even real retailers are building stores inside the popular Second Life persistent online world. 3pointD.com reports that fashion retailer American Apparel has hired designer Aimee Weber to build them an online store inside Second Life. American Apparel will sell apparel for Second Life residents that looks similar to the apparel they sell in their bricks-and-mortar stores.
The store, located on a private island in Second Life, is set to open as soon as this weekend. The news has SL residents considering what it means that the first real-world fashion brand has made an entrance to Second Life. Fashion is one of the virtual world's biggest industries, and the fashion business in SL is extremely competitive. So it's not a surprise that the first real-world retail brand to set up shop in SL is a fashion retailer.

The fashions themselves are patterned after American Apparel's real-world clothes, and were designed by several designers, including Aimee, though she wouldn't say who else was involved. The clothing will be priced "high-priced reasonable" compared to other SL fashions, Aimee says. No comment either on where the revenue from clothing sales will go - which leads me to believe it will go to the designers as part of their compensation
It is an interesting development. A Forbes article on the virtual store says American Apparel calls the Second Life build an experiment.
Schionning says that it's just an experiment and that the company is not trying to make money with the venture. A token sum will be charged for clothing, but the prices are not yet set. This is "not a profit-making venture," he says.

Its real-life retail outlets typically feature racy, disco-era photographs of scantily clad girls and have been at the center of controversy over the kitschy decor, which has used 1970s Penthouse magazine covers. The 6,000-square foot virtual store is modeled after the hipster brand's bi-level Tokyo outlet.

The initial fashion selection will offer 20 styles of American Apparel's signature logo-free casual wear: basic T-shirts, tank tops, undergarments and swimwear. Second Life residents may be privy to real-world promotions and discounts from American Apparel, and the marketing tactic may boost actual sales with a link to the online store, the company said.
You can bet there will be more of these so-called experiments.
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