Bubbles Clawtooth is an iconoclast – challenging us to think in new ways and to see the world through new eyes, not through his eyes, but through our own at a different angle of refraction. Clawtooth by Clawtooth is a beloved Second Life® brand, not only because of the originality and quality of his hair, but because of the ineffable wit and whimsy of everything from the designs to the color names. That fanciful joie de vivre is apparent in every response in this interview.
It’s Only Fashion: What was your first day in Second Life like? What made you stick it out through the learning curve?
Bubbles Clawtooth: Oh what a glorious day the first day of SL was! Bubbles wandered about aimlessly in a misshapen female avatar, lost in a landscape of random sims “For Sale”, sex clubs, neko (remember them?!) and furr oriented sims. Second Life was a treasure trove of bizarre and wonderful things and Bubbles knew immediately he’d fit right in.
Any “oldbie” in Second Life knows that it wasn’t exactly the most user friendly years back. In fact, in cold reality Bubbles almost didn’t come back to Second Life *because* it was quite challenging to figure out. The thing that made the biggest difference was meeting wonderful people who were willing to share information and help get over that hump!
IOF: What’s the craziest thing you ever did in Second Life? The most exciting? The silliest?
BC: Craziest? That would have to be the time Bubbles was violated at Sensual Stoneworks by a feisty unicorn and was impregnated with a unicorn-child. Most Exciting? Opening the first Clawtooth store in Tableau Once Upon a Foreverago. Silliest? During one of the many Tableau revamps there was a war waged and Bubbles got to play the role of the most fabulous angel of death, it was rather silly (and glorious). Image here courtesy of Dame Edith’s Flickr:
IOF: When did you begin creating? What was the first thing you made. Did you save it? Did it work?
BC: Oh goodness, what was the first thing created? Hmmm. Bubbles is fairly sure it was a poorly made set of prim earrings. It was a “Can this be made?” moment and although they *did* technically “work” as earrings Bubbles wouldn’t say they “worked” with any outfit nor should have been worn in public darling, they were a monstrosity!
IOF: How did you choose your store name? Does it have a special meaning for you? If your stores is named after yourself, how did you go about choosing your avatar name?
BC: Clawtooth stores are technically named “Clawtooth by Clawtooth”. The name came to be as a parody of pretentious upscale real life brands. The initial ideas for the name ranged from things as ludicrous as “Clawtooth by Clawtooth Courtesy of Clawtooth” to just a pop art style stamp of Bubbles’s own face. Clawtooth was never meant to be any sort of successful brand. It started as a joke and ended up being something far more than that! It is the primary force that drives creativity and a wonderful artistic outlet (that happens to have become a primary source of income). Bubbles realizes just how very blessed he is to be able to do something he is so passionate about and wouldn’t be able to do so without being part of amazing events such as Collabor88 and The Arcade, the generosity of the owners of Tableau for taking a chance on an unknown Bubbles way back when, and most of all, Clawtooth customers!
IOF: What is the most challenging part of being a creator in Second Life? What is most rewarding?
BC: Trying to keep a finger on the pulse of what is “trendy” can be really challenging! Bubbles always aims to please his customers and wants to release the most current, fashionable, fun, funky, and fabulous hairstyles he can! It can be hard knowing what to make as well as how well certain styles will or won’t translate in SL. The most rewarding thing is seeing photos via blogs or Flickr of outfits people have put together utilizing Clawtooth hairs. It will *never* become old basking in the creativity of customers and fellow creators! Bubbles is positively overjoyed to see people use the things he so lovingly crafted via imagination and a bottle of wine.
IOF: Where do you get inspiration for your designs? What is your process like?
BC: The process starts with either looking at fashion sites or magazines for inspiration. Once a style is chosen Bubs puts on really, really terrible/amazing/insane music (IE: Goodbye Horses on repeat) and opens Maya to build. Generally a hair takes about a week from start to finish (sometimes less, sometimes more). It is also ESSENTIAL to look at pictures of sloths, drag queens, manatees, micro pigs, kittens, sparkly jewelry, bad haircuts and mustaches from the 1930’s-1990’s, psychedelic posters, art nouveau, Elvis, rainbows, and drink the occasional glass (or three) of champagne during the creative process.
IOF: How do your first and second life design aesthetics resemble and contrast with each other? How would you describe your design aesthetic? Who is your customer – the person you are thinking of when you design?
BC: Hmmm, this is a hard one! In the beginning Clawtooth definitely was more of a “vintage” brand (as Bubbles himself just revels in the fashion of days past); however, it has (not unlike a caterpillar becoming a butterfly) become so much more than that. Bubbles would like to think he makes a little something for everyone (although he could be completely high on nail polish fumes in thinking so darling). Clawtooth aims to be a go-to store for all hair needs (both modern and retro) and will continue to try to keep up with trends while throwing in that little extra “oomph” (vodka).
IOF: One of the challenges of creating is Second Life is dealing with IP theft and the DMCA process. Many of those problems are due to flaws in the DMCA legislation itself. What changes within the control of Linden Labs that you would like to see?
BC: Bubbles would very much enjoy if Linden Lab utilized this website, Poopsenders, to send a charming gift to all of those who steal from creators in SL. Kidding, kidding! In all seriousness it would be so incredibly complicated to try to protect virtual goods that Bubbles truly doesn’t know what it would take for Linden to be able to crack down on it in a more effective manner. Perhaps public shaming? Thievery of first born children (call it the Rumplestiltskin clause)?
IOF: How has your second life changed your first life?
BC: Well it’s changed dramatically! Bubbles was able to quit his day job and spend his days living like a proper artistic recluse! This includes many episodes of Hoarders and many glasses of wine. When Bubs decides to venture out into the world he enjoys all the lovely things the Pacific Northwest has to offer including but not limited to: beards, eccentricity, electricity, trees, bushes, squirrels, deer, camping (from indoors), microbrews, voodoo donuts, waffle window, and coastal towns.
IOF: Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
BC: Bubbles speaks in third person due to a tragic runway accident in which a lighting fixture came loose and fell upon his head. Bubbles beauty remains in tact but his brain is forever a bit magical.