Never Niu: OMG, there have been so many silly, exciting and strange moments that have happen to me in second life, I am not sure where to begin with that one. However, I think the most exciting and fun thing I have done is role-play on the Kingdom Of Sand sims. I find it so interesting to see individual’s rp in the heat of moment and just go wherever their imagination takes them. Second Life is such a big place with so many individuals who have big imaginations I love being a part of that.
IOF: What drew you to designing hair? When did you start and what were some of the most significant changes for you?
NN: Well, I am artist by nature. I draw, paint, game and sculpt for enjoyment. I have a degree in design and development where I am fortunate to use my education in both rl and in sl. As an artist you are always looking for different outlets to express yourself and grow. So when I heard about second life, I was drawn to the building and design aspect of second life, where residents could create whatever they liked. I was all in and haven’t looked back since.
In terms of what drew me in, I took to interior and furniture design back in 2006, there was limited selection in terms of interior and furniture. So, I open up my first furniture store (Jaded Modern design) and begin to design interior décor. The biggest challenged I faced was using prims to build. I had to learn how to be efficient with prims in my designs to remain true to life, without using a ton of prims or crashing a sim. LOL
In terms of hair, hair instantly had me hooked and I couldn’t stop buying it, and that has not changed…LOL However, Second Life back then was not as diverse, as it is now. I saw that there wasn’t an outlet for ethnic hair that showcases all shades of an individual who loves to rock a different hairstyle. So one day, I sat down and I begin to build my first hairstyle, I think I had maxed out the limit of prims you could link in a style!! LOL OMG! The thing was hideous, but I was so proud of it! From that day forward, I committed myself to learn how to build on SL from the ground up.
IOF: How did you choose your store name? Does it have a special meaning for you?
NN: Well, back then the “couture” scene was rampant in SL, so I wanted to stand out. So I chose ICONIC Couture and eventually move the name to ICONIC Virtual Brands & Creations over time. However, the masses will refer to it as ICONIC and to be honest, it just fits my personality. What ICONIC means to me is to be a force that stands out in the crowd. Who to dares to be different to be uniquely you, simply, because it matters, plain and simple. More than anything, it is important to me as an artist, that my content leaves a lasting impression that sparks emotion that keeps you happy.
IOF: What is the most challenging part of being a creator in Second Life?
NN: What is most rewarding? I feel that managing technology change and customer experience /expectations have been a challenge for me. With the introduction of Mesh, there has been and still is resistance to it. But is a necessary technology change that we all must embrace to take the next leap forward. I feel as second life platform continues to grow it will allow for content creators to introduce a richer and useable experience into second life that keeps the user engaged.
In terms of managing customer experience/ expectations with my products, I have been taking a hard look at where I would like to take ICONIC next. By immersing myself in understanding how to create clean and efficient content. So, I am deliberately slow in creating content simply because I want to contribute useable content that is really polished. I have made a ton of mistakes in creating content, however, I have learned so much from those mistakes to keep on going to do better.
IOF: Where do you get inspiration for your designs? What is your process like?
NN: Often than not, I get inspired by things that have nothing to do with hair. Inspiration strikes me at the oddest moments and I just go with the flow. My workflow almost always begins with a sketch. Then I look for references to study the form and shape, and then I draw some more. Once I feel like I have a concept down. I take to my design tools to make it happen. I do almost all of my designing and development outside of Second Life in in Blender, 3ds and adobe creative suites. Second life is reserved for testing and implementation.
IOF: What sets your hair styles apart from other hair designers, in your opinion? What is your style or aesthetic?
I feel my designs are cross overs designs, and what I mean by that is. You can put on ICONIC style for any occasion and still look fierce. Regardless of the occasion and what you look like, there is an edginess there that is recognizable.
IOF: How has your second life changed your first life?
NN: Second Life has given me an outlet as an artist to express myself outside of my professional real life. I am very fortunate to do what I love professionally and in second life. I am so honored and humbled by all who have pushed me to be better and do better. My Second Life experience has changed my life in so many ways and I would not have it any other way.
IOF: Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
NN: I would like to thank you and many others who have offered kind words of encouragement and enthusiasm when wearing my products. It truly makes me happy and proud that my work is providing enjoyment for others.
IOF: What does Hair Fair mean to you?
NN: When you are given so much, much is expected. You must be true to yourself, by paying it forward and being kind. It is the law of the universe.
Store info at Blogging Second Life
Skin: Glam Affair America
Mesh Attachments: .LeLutka.Mesh Head-KARIN v1.1
Slink Hands, Feet & Physique
Appliers: Flair 209
Glam Affair Tecla Eye Makeup applier for Collabor88
Glam Affair Megan Head Applier
Eyes: Aphotic Gloom – Aquilius Eyes (Hazel)Small
Hair: ICONIC Hair for Hair Fair 2015
Clothing: LENNIE Mohna Strappy Dress Butter M
Shoes: *CASHMERE*Retro Louboutins hot pink
Jewelry: Maxi Gossamer Tokyo Tears