This week, It’s Only Fashion interviews Zaara Kohime who is well-loved in the Second Life® fashion world for her vibrant colors, beautifully detailed textures and her eclectic designs. Kohime creates Western and Indian fashions nd jewelry as well as housewares and furnishings that are irresistible to loves of design.
It’s Only Fashion: What was your first day in Second Life like? What made you stick it out through the learning curve?
Zaara Kohime: I guess it was pretty much like what most people go through, figuring out how it works. The most logical thing for me to do for search for ‘India’ in places to get to a place of familiarity. I ran into some very friendly people who helped ‘de-noob’ me. Those days camping was still a thing, I believe I got 10L$ for an hour, haha! What made me stick was the fact that because there is no goal to Second Life, so it becomes a process of discovery and eventually you find your reasons to be here.
IOF: What’s the craziest thing you ever did in Second Life? Most exciting? Silliest?
ZK: To be honest, I am the sort of person who sticks around the skybox making stuff. I am very disciplined and devote most of my time towards creation when I am ingame. However when I do have some spare time I really enjoy torturing my best friend Strawberry Singh. I used to think up of a lot of morbid schemes to harass her, but recently lack of time prevents me from bothering her as much as I used to. I met my RL partner, Sawyer, in Second Life and flying out to meet him was possibly the most ballsey thing I have done that’s Second Life related.
ZK: After my friends got to know I am an Art director in RL, I was automatically pushed to create clothing by them, mainly because of the lack of sari’s on the grid. It wasn’t very difficult for me because I had a graphic design background and back in the day mesh wasn’t around and sculpties were just rearing their head. My bigger problem was a stable internet connection and money.
Strawberry Singh was one of the first customer I ran into when I just started creating. I had a 10 x 10 stall on a Indian sim, with 3 Indian outfits that I had uploaded with camping money. I used to camp 1 hour to upload one texture in those days, lol. So i used to upload one texture, and if something was wrong, I had to wait another hour till i got the 10L$. Those outfits were downright nasty but somehow Strawberry thought I had some sort of potential and pushed me to make more. It does exist somewhere in my inventory…. deep down, hidden out of sight….
IOF: How did you choose your store name? Does it have a special meaning for you?
ZK: The name Zaara had no profound origins, I heard this name in a Bollywood movie (terrible if I may add…)and somehow at the time of registering it popped into my head. The name means ‘beautiful flower’, it encompassed what I wanted my brand to represent which was an elegant eclectic style so I decided to use it as a store name.
IOF: What is the most challenging part of being a creator in Second Life? What is most rewarding?
ZK: For me, the most challenging part is to constantly develop skills and keep moving forward. It’s quite exhausting and especially with the events culture it is getting harder to focus. I also wish LL would redo the SL avatar so there aren’t so many body parts, it would really help creators streamline their work process. The most rewarding is appreciation from the community, when you put out a new item and all the feedback you receive. There really isn’t a comparable feeling to that :).
ZK: Like most artists, pretty much everywhere. But if one has to narrow it down, I am very influenced by the rustic charm of India’s smaller towns and people and the lifestyles of Indian royalty. I like the contrast…there is so much colour and beauty in the chaos, it’s really quite something. I made a specific trip to Rajasthan to research for SL creation and visited several palaces, forts, villages…. Fascinating stuff. For regular clothing creation I use a lot of inspiration from RL designs and incorporate my own twist. I sketch designs when I don’t find enough reference material. Color is my strong point and it’s something that comes naturally to me.
ZK: Before SL, I was an Art Director in advertising. It was actually a lot of fun and learning for me in the agency life but at the same time it was incredibly stressful with very late hours and hierarchy to deal with. Eventually I quit to be a full time freelancer and somewhere down the line discovered Second Life. This is now my main source of income and has made me completely independent in RL and I can have a comfortable lifestyle without the trappings of a regular job. It allows us to travel for long trips and take breaks on a whim… I love the freedom. I actually work a lot more hours now than i did in my advertising days but somehow I never get bored or feel the strain.
And the best perk – I don’t have to move out of the house to get to an office every day (google mumbai train or mumbai traffic, u will know what I mean… :P)
IOF: Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
ZK: I am always around for any sort of feedback, you can IM me, I don’t bite 🙂
(ok, I only bite Strawberry Singh)