Thursday, 30 October 2008

Zanzo at the [haco?] festival

We recently received our first invitation to a fashion event. [haco?] is a Japanese-based project that gives highly touted up-and-coming designers a chance to show a sampling of their goods. But it is also a challenge to the designers - they are given a small "[haco?]" (3x3x3 box) and 9 prims in which to express their creativity. The title of the event is "GUYS, HERE COMES CHRISTMAS! 2008" and it has a "Christmas comes early" type theme.

Many fashion events in Second Life are female dominated. Well, Second Life fashion at large is female dominated, simply because they are the biggest shopping demographic. But there are many guys out there who love to shop too, and this festival is more aimed at them (but they are urged to bring their girlfriends along).

We were offered not one, but two boxes to go side-by-side. On the left is our main Zanzo box, and we chose to exhibit our "Bishonen" skin range (and a couple of shapes optimized to it) in there, as we think that "Bishonen" and the new "Frat Boy" series are our highest quality skins yet (even if "Androgyny", which we're also proud of, is our best-seller by far). We had set our box up before we finished the new "Frat Boy" skins, or we may have had a debate on which to showcase.

On the right hand side is one of our sub-brands, Pink Bubble. We sub-branded stuff at our main store to not only be creative and make the store less factory-like, but also to make navigating the place a lot easier for newcomers. Even though the festival is male-dominated, they do expect female visitors, so wanted some female or unisex boxes. We put our four Harajuku inspired outfits in the Pink Bubble box, along with some of our popular "Hands On" decorations, and a dollarbie outfit called "Sink Pink" that we originally made for the launch of our satellite store at Juicy Bella Plaza.

With more time, we would have liked to produce 100% original goods for the event, but since we're still an upstart brand with lots of projects ongoing, we're struggling to find the time for that sort of stuff yet.

Please check out the [haco?] exhibition, as there are tons of awesome designers there. It is at the Thisbe sim in-world, but here is a SLurl so you can get there quickly. They also have a blog in English that you can find by clicking here. The event runs from 11/1 to 11/9, so there is plenty of time to check it out and take your friends along for a peek. We're awfully proud to be part of it and hope we can take part in many other events like this in future.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

New "Chunkies" sneakers!

We've released our first shoe range at Zanzo, called "Chunkies"! They're called that because, well... they're all cute and chunky. Sculpted and with stylish designs, they come in fourteen variations, separated into two areas of our main store, the cutesy ones in Pink Bubble and more preppy/casual ones in Union 82. This is our first attempt at shoes and we'd love feedback for future releases. Each pair costs $150L, and comes with mod/copy/no transfer permissions.

If you aren't using one of the new Second Life client releases, there is a chance that the shoes could appear all distorted. This is because only the new releases support a sculpty technique we used to make them, so please be aware of that before you buy 'em... the shoes aren't horribly broken, its just a Second Life thing~! :O

Our new releases will probably slow somewhat for a while now as we tackle the new mystery project head on, but there will still be shapes and occasional other releases between now and then, I'm sure.

Oh yeah, we switched to Subscribe-O-Matic in-world, so please head to one of our stores and click the group sign (doesn't take one of your 25 slots!), then you can leave our other update group (does take one of your 25 slots!).

Saturday, 25 October 2008

New "Frat Boy" skins at Zanzo!

Woot! We have a brand new skin range out at Zanzo! We've released a lot of pretty boy skins, so our new set - titled "Frat Boy" - offers a less pristine but still very cute and handsome look for the young adult avatar.

The range offers seven variations: Bare, Freckly, Busted, Eyeliner, Goth, Quarterback, Inked

They cost $900L each and a discounted fatpack is also available, offering 20% full price for the lot of 'em!

This will be our last skin release before the BIG project we're working on that we estimate will feature 90... ninety... NINETY! skins (45 male, 45 female), in addition to truckloads of other stuff. Obviously, that will take a while, but we're hopeful of getting it out before Christmas time.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Scenic skies, monotony, and new skinz~!

So a lot of people apparently don't realize that not only can you create your own skies in Second Life now (and have been able to for a while), but there are also some wicked preset ones ("Sheer Surreality" being my favourite). I was messing with the settings and its really cool how much you can do - also useful for photography with the "Scene Gamma" setting, although I find turning off atmospheric shaders is still best for clothing and face shots, as I still can't find the best lighting setting with the full Windlight experience to give the face a non-shadowy or non-staring-at-the-sun appearance. Anyway, experiment with skies! World -> Environment Settings -> Environment Editor -> Advanced Sky

Running a store can lead to some very monotonous moments. We've moved to a "rack" system for most of our individual clothing items, meaning they look like this in the store...

Cool, but then one day you realize you want to put them on the web, like at Xstreet SL (the recently renamed SL Exchange), and, well... you groan at the realization that you have to get on the pose stand and reshoot a bunch of clothes you've already laboured over for hours. And that is what I've been doing lately, preparing a bunch of our stuff to go on Xstreet SL in hopes some people who don't know about our store in-world will find our stuff on there and like it enough to not only buy it, but come and visit our main store.

We're working on two - well, three, sort of - skin ranges right now. Coming soon is a stand alone set that we're calling "Frat Boy". We have skins for just about every age group under perhaps 40, and are getting more specific now - we recently released kids ones, and this set will be for the 18-24ish male type who doesn't have very mature features yet. They are looking great, and here is a preview of the base skin on a new shape I've made. We still plan to add a few details to the skin (and fix the slight nipple problem), but this is a good idea of how it'll look - sort of a bridge skin between boyish teen and mature adult, we think.

The other two ranges, male and female, are actually part of one range, related to that big project we're working on. After that, we need to kick out a new range of main female skins, as we don't think our current Nubile range is up to the standard we're capable of, which is why we're selling them off at just $200L each right now.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Get locked up at Here

We recently opened a satellite store at the super creative Horst von Starlustinberg, a prison themed sequel to the popular Starlust Motel shopping mall. Anyway, to help celebrate the launch of Horst, Zanzo contributed an exclusive dollarbie (a $1 almost-freebie for anyone wondering) called the Prison Photobox, basically a prison cell left with +mod permissions so people can alter it around for model shots, RP, or whatever they want. Both Dru and I were both surprised by how many people picked up our meager offering...

... but even more surprised to see it is now being used in what is truly one of the coolest sims in Second Life: Torley Linden's ultra colorful and creative Here island, that is often featured in Torley's uber fun YouTube videos. Torley's friend, Ravenelle Zugzwang, has laid it out on the island and looks to be making good use of it for her CAJ (Click Action Jail) feature.

Check it out, and yup, the dollarbie is still available at Horst von Starlustinberg if you want it, both at the entrance and upstairs at our female-themed satellite store (please have a look if you visit!).

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Something supernatural has come to Zanzo...

The open space at Zanzo has suddenly changed... what was once a cutesy gate housing a teleporter has morphed into something rather mysterious... ancient, you might say. A gate, slightly ajar, has appeared, with what seems to be the dismembered arm of someone trying to reach through. A face - or something like one - stares down from the archway, as if assessing a new discovery. Behind the gate seems to be a scene of carnage - fire, smoke, rubble - and yet there is no sound, almost as if those who fight there exist somewhere else, yet draw closer to Second Life.

Who are these beings and what brings them to Zanzo? I suspect we'll find out in good time...

Dru and I went to this really cool sim the other day for some relaxation time - sadly, it was a bit laggy, but as you can see, is a sight to behold. It is called Tempura Island and is already an established cool-place-to-go, but if you haven't already been there and can stand some lag, well... look above, speaks for itself I think.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Welcome to the Zanzo blog!

Hey! Welcome to the official blog for Zanzo, a variety fashion outlet in Second Life. I'm Theodore DuCasse in-world and run Zanzo with my partner Drusus DuCasse, who may or may not post here (he has his own blog and is really lazy!).

We created Zanzo with three shapes and three skins in a small store sometime in either late April or early May. We found that our tiny array of goods sold well, so made more... and more... and it kept growing... and growing... until now, in October, we have a huge main store at the Splintered Rock sim.

We label ourselves "variety fashion" because we - or want to - cater to just about all facets of Second Life no matter what your in-world age, appearance, subculture, or theme. Second Life is a world in which you can choose who you want to be. ANYTHING. Unfortunately, there are always those who bring their narrow-mindedness into SL, which has left communities such as the SL kids scene under attack from bigots more than once. Zanzo is very much a full tolerance store and as long as you aren't a griefer waving around your oversized... uhh... prim parts, you're welcome.

Anyway, this blog will give you an insight to our creation process, as well as inform you on new and upcoming releases. The Second Life group setup, quite frankly, kinda sucks. You have to squeeze your text into very few characters and people get fed up if you send too many notices out. Oh, there is a poll down the right-hand side about our group setup, which currently is pushing 300 members, so please vote. In addition to Zanzo stuff, you'll find some musings and photography from myself here. I'm an avid photographer and although I suck at advanced Photoshop techniques, I think I take and touch up some pretty cool shots.

So please bookmark us or add us to your blog reader (such as Google Reader) and enjoy. :P

Finally, here's a preview of the biggest project to date we've worked on at Zanzo. It is something that is pretty original and creative, something we think that guys and girls will love, as it'll include lots of products for both (NO, its not an RPG sim, but who knows what it could lead to)...