Thursday, October 21, 2004


Part Three in a series, featuring Selectees of New World Notes Fashion Expo 2004. (Context here, here, and here.) Today we present Bakuzelas Khan, and up-and-coming designer (defined as a resident under six months old). He also displays his wares at an off-world website here, and his fashions are sold in Second Life at SkyNet, among many, many other locations.


"The first outfit among the photos, 'BAZ Electric Blue T' and 'BAZ Splatter Stamped Pants', was one of the outfits that appeared at the NWN 2004 Fashion Expo. It's part of my club wear for men [series]. I try to create things that I would wear myself-- and I do wear them. Leather is always sexy, and I personally love T-shirts. I collect T-shirts in game. I think that with a great pattern on them, a T-shirt can be really interesting, and I personally like to show some skin, even if it's just my arms, like the shirt shown here.

"My goal is to design fashions that have a masculine aspect, and even my clothes for women feature strong lines and a certain boldness. Take for example the next outfit, 'BAZ Fractal Outfit'. This one was also featured at the Expo, and is a design for women that many have described to me as 'heroic' or 'Valkyrie-like'. It's not feminine, but it's not ugly on a woman; it doesn't make a woman appear man-ish. The design is taken from a fractal, and cropped and organized in a way that I found pleasing. Sometimes I get a nice texture that's free for use, and I work with it; sometimes I use photos of clothes that I crop and alter, and sometimes I paint the entire thing myself.

"'BAZ & Meritum Lily Designs Presents The Gift', the third photo, is one that I painted myself using Photoshop. I used a painting as a reference, and tried to create a similar look. My Second Life sister, Meritum Lily, created the wings for this project. We sell everything needed to make the entire avatar together as one item, and share the profits. This was the first joint project avatar that I ever made. I even made a toy cat that meows and purrs to go along with it; altogether, it was a fairly big project. The dress has some attachments on the sleeves and the skirt, and the hair has an attachment. We sell the entire avatar, and the toy, as all one package.

"Now, photo number four, 'BAZ Male Dancer in Leather', is my attempt to create clothing for a submissive male in Second Life, something that would be attractive to wear. The male could be a dancer at a club, or any submissive who wanted to be sexy and pleasing. There's three parts to it: the laced-up-looking top, the pants with the cut-outs in the front and back, and the striped underwear...

"I enjoy working with skins so much; I see them as a big part of Second Life fashion, and not separate from it. For a customer who has bought a nice skin, he's going to consider that an important part of his wardrobe and want to show it off. That means bare chests, skimpy but attractive clothes. Personally, I don't think any male would be able to wear these pants in real life, looking at that center strap, but that's OK, the overall look is very sexy and appealing and a bit fantastic. Which is also how I prefer to design and also buy fashions in Second Life: with a sense of fantasy, that this couldn't be done in the same way in real life (not without a lot of effort or serious changes to the clothing)...

"The final photo, 'BAZ Modifiable Purple Silk & Black Lace Gown', is a modifiable outfit. This gown has lace and shoes that are actually white and look perfectly fine as a flat black, so I leave that up to the customer to change as she chooses. The lace wrap-around is, of course, an attachment that is also tintable."


"I started out making avatars-- female avatars, specifically-- to allow women to have a beautiful look instantly (or relatively so) after appearing in the game, without having to fuss too much. To the best of my knowledge, I also was one of the first people to create life-like skins, although I didn't sell mine until I came back from taking a two month break from Second Life...

"I created one for my personal avatar when I first started playing because I couldn't get gray skin using the [avatar adjustment] sliders (something that still seems ridiculous to me, all these months later) and, when I applied a solid grey texture, I looked like I was wrapped in something. So I had to paint features onto the texture.

"Nowadays, my skins are a lot more sophisticated, and I have made a couple of men’s skins that allow you to tint them to any color you can get with the standard sliders. I started selling clothes shortly after making a collection of skins. So, my company Face Me! Avatars is maybe three months older than my clothing company, BAZ, which started sometime in late July of this year.

"Basically, I make clothes that are some combination of the following: One, I would like to wear it myself, two, I want to see someone else in this outfit, and three, I think it would be profitable to make-- that is, I think people would like it enough to buy it and enjoy it. I have made things that I didn't think would sell but I wanted to see on certain people, or made things that no one asked for, but that I thought would sell. I enjoy the business aspect of making my clothes, skins, etc. very much; there is a lot more freedom for the entrepeneur than in other games, where you simply push a button to make pre-fab objects to sell to other players."


"I spend a large amount of my free time making designs for Second Life; if pressed, I would have to say ten to twenty hours or more a week researching and making fashions, and maintaining my stores. The skins I make, and some of the costumes, are extremely time consuming, and I feel are a large part of the fashion of Second Life. People pay a lot for good skins and want to show them off, so my latest designs reflect this.

"Yes, my designs are doing very well in game. I have about twenty-one stores now, ranging from places like Mexican Town, CentreVille Skymall, and Pyramid Mallm to clubs like The Edge, Plush, and Club Erotic Jasmine. Basically, if a store is making any kind of profit, no matter how small, I won't close it. It's worth the exposure, I think...

"My main store is of course at SkyNet... I hire people to check on my shops and make sure they're litter-free and, well, that they're still there! Sometimes malls close down without warning.

"I have a photographer, ladina Fauna, whom I pay to take photographs of my work, and I occasionally hire models for some variety in the pictures on [store] display. I mostly use my money right now in the game to have contests and events [with my group] W-hat, and enjoy myself.

"I work very hard to advertise my products; I carefully plan out everything: packaging, what photos to use, locations. And I try to listen to what my customers have to say to improve not just upon my designs, but all aspects of my shops.

"For example, after talking to customers and friends, I found that most people prefer the pictures to be actual snapshots taken in-game. That way, they know that the product will look good in Second Life. Even the photos for this article were not touched up; ladina and I simply try to take the best pictures we can in-game to show how the product really looks. The only time I use Photoshop on a display picture is to add text, or to show front and back-- but not to airbrush and/or enhance a design or skin.

"But even though I hire help for many aspects of the sales process, I still have a lot of work that is left up to me, personally. The way the game is set up, a large amount of the burden falls squarely on the seller himself. I can't hire someone to put together a vendor for me, because players can't transfer them back and forth and have them work properly. And even if they have permission to edit my objects, you can't work with objects in objects at all in that way. So, it takes me some time to get everything done that I want to do...

"You know, there is one thing I forgot, when I was talking about how I advertise my business. I neglected to mention just how important referrals and word of mouth are. I would say probably half my business is from customer referrals."


"I love to play jokes, dance, go clubbing, meet guys and girls, and have a good time.

"Speaking of jokes, I have to warn you, Hamlet, that every time I saw the words 'NWN Fashion Show' somewhere, I kept thinking of the term 'NWS'--'Not Work Safe'. As in, 'Don't look at this picture at work!'. So, I thought, in honor of your NWN Fashion Expo, I might host a 'Not Work Safe Fashion Expo'!"


"Last month I made a catalog that I put at each location that people can take with them to shop at home, and I plan on more than doubling the products available for the winter catalog, which should be out in the coming weeks. Currently, I have over a hundred different products available for purchase between all my stores.

"I have been invited to make some Gorean fashions for men, for an upcoming festival called the Se`Kara Sardar Fair, which will be in November. So, I have that to look forward to, and I saw a request on Forums for things like do-rags and biker boots and clothing, so... I plan on making some biker clothes, just for fun. I already have twelve styles of very nice looking do-rags finished and on the shelves, and hope to have more to offer by the time this article is published.

"Also, another joint project avatar with Meritum Lily, 'Succubus', I am releasing October 20th, just in time for the Halloween rush. It’s a really cool outfit, and its wings are very like the ones that I currently use on my avatar. Many people have inquired about them, and now they can have them!"


"My designs are largely cost-effective. For example, the BAZ Electric Blue T & BAZ Spatter Stamped Pants is 150 Linden Dollars-- that's L$75 for the shirt and L$75L for the pants. I sell a pack of snakeskin clothes-- T-shirt, boxers, shorts, and long pants--for L$150, which is $L37.50 for each piece in the set. I think that's a great way to add a boost to your wardrobe. I also make Hawaiian clothes that sell for $L50 each. Those are fun and a little crazy. I love wearing them myself."


"At the high end, would be something like my Men's Svelte Skin by Face Me! (my skin and avatar company, a sister company to BAZ), which is a skin that color-changes using the sliders, for 3500 Linden Dollars, and the BAZ Men's Dancer outfit for L$250. I am wearing a grey version of that skin in the picture of me in the dancer's outfit (because you can't get that color with the sliders, still). It's a great value, though. The quality of the skin and the clothes is very high, a real sexy show-stopper."


- BAZ Electric Blue T & BAZ Splatter Stamped Pants modeled by Bakuzelas Khan, photographed by ladina Fauna.

- BAZ Fractal Outfit modeled by Star Twilight, photographed by Bakuzelas Khan.

- BAZ & Meritum Lily Designs Presents The Gift - wings by Meritum Lily, modeled by Bakuzelas Khan, photographed by ladina Fauna.

- BAZ Male Dancer in Leather - modeled by Bakuzelas Khan, photographed by ladina Fauna.

- BAZ Modifiable Purple Silk & Black Lace Gown - modeled by Heather Hatfield, photographed by Bakuzelas Khan.

Screenshots taken on location at: Anzere, Krittania, Enchantment Falls at Palomarian, and Fairchang Island.

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