Some Thoughts About Poses For Runway Shows - Part 2

It's been a while since I was able to post last and I apologize for leaving the posing topic half way up in the air.  I do take this blog very seriously and I don't like to post unless I know I can focus on this until I can get a post up.

So a lot happened during this time.  A new BLVD Agency was created to replace the original Boulevard Agency and as our first show, we had the BOSL Fashion Week where the new BLVD Agency had 9 shows plus one more by the Miss Virtual World finalists which was also their first public presentation as 2012 finalists.  So I'd been rather busy.  XD

So going back to the topic where we left it in the last post, which is some of my personal thoughts about poses we use for runway shows, part 2, I will continue to write about the remaining "no no poses" to shed some light into why they were banned and whether they were really that bad?

3.  No arm pit poses.
These are sometimes referred to as "deodorant poses" because they look like poses you'll see in deodorant commercials.  *laughs*  The reason why these were banned in the first place was because they tend not to be "very elegant".  Again, think about RL.  Would you stick your arms up to show your arm pits if you were wearing a gown in RL?  The answer is most likely no.

However, if the reason for these poses getting banned was because they are not elegant, how about outfits that are not meant to be so elegant?  For example, how about fun, playful outfits or more role play type outfits?  How about street casuals?

Of course, these poses can be used. :)

But again, don't forget the basic rule.  Poses have to be chosen to draw out the best of the outfits you are modeling.  Also don't think about each individual pose as separate poses.  In other words, the poses have to flow naturally.  So if you will look like you have abruptly thrown out your arms and if that looks unnatural as a flow from the previous pose you will be using, then it may not be a good choice.  This, of course, applies to all poses however.  So after you have chosen some poses that seem to work with your outfit, it's always a good idea to run through them to see if they flow naturally.  If not, you may need to swap the order of some poses or chose different ones altogether.

4.  No animated poses.
Finally I am seeing less of these poses being used, which I believe is good.  It's not so much that the commercially available animated poses are bad, however.  It's just not my favorite poses because it means somebody else can run through the same animation by using it and most likely a lot of people will even recognize where you bought it.

We all try so hard to be unique.  Why compromise with poses?

If you absolutely want to use an animation, then try to create your own.  For example, you might want to show how an outfit flows.  Some outfits look really gorgeous when they move.  So why not show this?

You might argue "but I can't make poses."  Right.  Neither do I.  But you can still create your own animated pose by grouping a set of still poses and hitting them one after another so that they flow as if it was an animated sequence.  You just need to be patient and find which ones work well together.  Usually this will be a sequence of 3 to 4 poses.  Of course, you can use more and make it a longer sequence.  However, as I briefly wrote in Part 1, you do need to give some good "standing still time" so people can see you well and also for any photographers out there to take a nice picture.  So you don't want to be moving constantly.  So after taking that into consideration, usually a short animation using 3-4 poses seem to work the best.

It might also be a good idea to keep a memo of the names of poses that work together.  Or even keep folders naming them something like "Animation 1", "Animation 2" and in each of these folders, keep some still poses that you have found that work together well.  Don't forget to rename them with sequential numbers so you will know in which order they should be played.  Then renew these folders from time to time so you won't be using the same sequence over and over again.

Finding poses that work as animated poses are tedious and need patience.  But when you do find a set that works great, it's a big pleasure also.  Besides, it's fun!

5.  No back poses (poses where you turn around to show your behind).
I must say, I am not sure at all why these poses have to be banned.  Mind you, not all show directors ban these but I have seen some that do.  I am assuming they were banned because they thought you shouldn't be showing your behind to the audience guests.

But hey.....we are models!  Not actresses or singers on stage.  Our job is to show the outfits and not ourselves.

So if we see any value in showing our behind, such as when an outfit you are modeling has some interesting back view, why not show it?  Just make sure you don't end the posing showing your behind.  It will actually look odd if you suddenly walked away after a back pose, right?  So make sure it's used in between frontal poses so you have a bit of time to go back to a frontal pose before walking back.


 So these were my thoughts on poses and also on some banned poses issues that I generally hear in the SL fashion industry.

If and when you are in any doubt, always think what it will look like in RL and also why some poses were banned in the first place.  Then think if your case applies.  That should give you a good idea on how to judge different cases and situations.

And to any show director who might be reading this, don't ban poses without thinking of the reasons why.  Don't just chant "no" because somebody else told you "no."  Be prepared to give your reason why you want some poses out..

Have fun posing!!


Some Thoughts About Poses For Runway Shows - Part 1

I still wonder when the so called "rules" for posing on a runway has become distorted and how this distortion started.  I have been modeling in Second Life for three years now and the rule used to be very clear and simple - to be as realistic as possible and to show the outfits at its best.

Simple, right?

The other "branches" of this very simple rule used to be the various rules that are being taught in SL model academies but for some reason, these branch rules started to take a life all on its own and original rule seem to have become forgotten.

So let's look at the "current rules" and I will start by listing some of those I hear a lot.
  • No hand-in-skirt poses (poses where you stick your hand inside a skirt).
  • No tip toe poses (poses where you stand on one foot like a flamingo).
  • No arm pit poses (poses where you lift your arm up high revealing your arm pit to the audience).
  • No animated poses (meaning commercially available animated poses).

And recently, I also hear this "rule" a lot.
  • No back poses (poses where you turn around to show your behind).

Let me first start by saying that I have no intention of disagreeing with any of these so called "rules".  However, I think these rules started to get chanted without truly understanding the reason why because if you really understand the reasons, then none of these should be strict no-no rules but they should rather be pointed out as a list of pose types where extra attention should be paid during selection.  In other words, none of these should be strictly considered a NO.

Now let's look at these one by one.

1.  No hand-in-skirt poses.
This is probably one that concerns me the most.  I do agree that if a hand looks like it is poking a hole in a skirt or a prim, that pose should be avoided.  However, in some of the recent shows I have walked in where selected poses were checked by the agency prior to the actual show, I have noticed that any pose where the hand even slightly touches the skirt were all dismissed as not approved.  I always respect the policy or the rules of agencies I model for, so I had never raised any disagreements during rehearsals.  However, this had always disturbed me a lot.

If any of you have worn a big gown or a poofy skirt in real life, try to remember where your hand went when you dropped your arm.  Right inside your skirt!  More accurately, your hand dropped inside the folds of the skirt but in any case, it was "inside".  In real life, you don't always keep your hands floating above your skirt so that it will never ever touch the skirt.

So to me, as long as a pose looks like my hands or one of the hand is inside a fold of a skirt it looks a lot more natural than constantly keeping both hands afloat by using poses that safely keep my hands above the skirt at all times.  Some of these poses are good to be used as part of a mix of poses but when a model constantly looks like she is about to take off and fly, to me, that looks a lot more unnatural than to have her hand touching her skirt in some of the poses provided they look natural and realistic.

2.   No tip toe poses.
Again the root of the reason for banning these poses was because it looks unrealistic and unnatural to be standing  on one foot for an extended length of time.  This, I totally agree.  However, again, this needs to be explained because if a tip toe pose is used as a transitional pose in-between other poses, why can't they be used?

Of course, most likely, these poses will be used with more casual outfits or fun outfits but if you use still poses one after another so they looked linked, you can use tip toe poses as it will only be a transitional movement in a longer sequence.

Oh and on that note, let me add one more thought.  There is one more thing I don't quite like which is being told to use X number of poses per every stop of Y seconds.  Surely this will be a good guideline.  But for example, what if I want to make the entry a dramatic one?  Then it might be more effective to use just one pose and stay in that one pose longer than using two poses.  Or, I might opt to use 4 still poses one after another to make it look like an animated pose, in which case I will need to use at least 3 or 4.

To me, this is related to the second part of the big rule which I stated at the very top of this blog post....to show the outfit at its best.  Sometimes a little movement will show how the outfit moves and might be better.  In such cases, I might want to use more poses to make a pose look animated (I will talk more about animated poses in Part 2).  So why dictate that a model MUST use X number of poses when it takes away so much from good pose planning?  One note of caution, however, when creating your own animated pose.  It becomes hard to see the outfit for the audience or to photograph if a model is constantly moving.  So if you choose to animate your poses this way, make sure you keep ample time in your last pose to stay still for the audience to see the outfit better or for the photographer to take a good snapshot.


For this blog post, let me stop here as it will start to get too long.  I will continue in Part 2 which I will post later, however, what I wanted to emphasize here was that we should not teach new models to never use certain poses as a strict rule but rather explain why some poses need special attention when they are selected.  Otherwise with the selection of poses in SL, all models will only be using very safe poses and very similar poses which takes away so much from the creativity of the models in showing the outfits she is representing.

Hopefully, by stating the "reasons" behind some of these rules here, we will all become "thinking models" who can think, judge for themselves and be more creative and better at achieving the very basic rules.


Are Outfits We Get For Shows, Payments?

Since I started to model in SL, I often hear people saying "You will not be paid by Lindens but you will be paid by outfits" or "Payment will be your outfits".  Hmmmmm can outfits be payments?

The answer is a big NO.  Outfits are what you need to walk in a show and it is not, it is never and it will not ever be a payment.

Why?  Some people might argue "but you get free clothes".  No we don't.  Because those outfits we get to walk in a show is like your desk, your telephone, your pen if you were an office worker.  We need them to do our job.  What if we say "ok I will walk in the show but I don't need the outfits" then we can't work in that show, right?  What if your employer came to you one day and said "your payment for this month is your desk", would you think "yaaaay!  I got a desk for my payment!"?

Outfits are NOT payments, period.

I do understand and accept that a new agency has to do a show without any payment by the participating designers because it has to show what it can do.  In this case, it's a "sample".  Even in real life, the first issue of magazines are usually free and the publisher will "borrow" advertising visuals from advertisers, of course, after getting their permission to use it in the first issue.  It's the same thing.  This first issue is a "sample" so advertisers can see what the new magazine will be like and decide if they want to advertise in it or not.  But from the second issue, advertisers will have to pay for the ad pages.

It costs money to promote what you sell but that money is necessary to pay for the work that goes into creating any promotional tool, which in this case, is the show.  As an Agency Director or Agency Owner, if you cannot negotiate a show to be paid that is your issue and it should not be taken out on the models because it is your job to represent the models.

However, if you "fail" to negotiate a price, then the least you can do is let the models know beforehand that the show will not be paid at the time of casting.  Then it will be up to the models if they still want to walk in the show even if they will not be paid to do so.  And in this case, at least you are silently admitting that you "failed" to negotiate a price.

But what I really hate about the phrase "outfits are your payment" is that who ever is saying this is trying to legitimize his or her position by saying that a payment will be made but it will be made in the form of outfits the models will receive because........(go back to the second paragraph and I repeat) outfits are NOT payments.

So if you are new to SL modeling and you hear this phrase, you know that this is not true and that it is only a big excuse made by somebody who does not want to admit his/her failure to negotiate a price for the models he/she represents.


1. Why Did I Create This Blog?

Some of you might ask "Why did Kay create another blog?".  My answer is simple.  Because I have seen and unfortunately gotten myself involved in some confusion that sprung out of situations that could had been avoided, had those involved had a little knowledge about some industry rules, customs and possible unwritten rules.  Because I am often asked identical questions and also believe that there may be many others out there who might have the same questions but had no opportunity to voice them, to which I wanted to have a place where I could refer them to instead of explaining  the same answer repeatedly.  Because I believe we can all reach a much smoother and faster solution if we can all work based on identical understanding and rules.  And last but not least, I think the whole SL fashion industry can benefit from a common understanding between players.

Unlike real life, the beauty of SL is that anybody, who loves fashion, can become a model, a magazine publisher, a writer, a creator if they tried.  That doesn't mean you don't need talent.  Creators need talent to create good designs, writers need to be able to write and models need a good sense of styling.  However, we are not required to make the huge investment that we are often required to make in real life and this is what sets SL apart from real life in a big way.  On the other hand, this also means that people who had no experience, be it real life or SL, can decide to take up these SL occupations and claim to be professionals.

This, itself, is not a problem and I think this is what makes SL fashion so vibrant and fun.

However, this fact has also often become the reason why some confusion or friction occur because it's almost as if there are no common understanding of industry rules that frequently work to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

I am no way the expert nor do I know everything about SL fashion.  For example, I am not a creator and there is a lot I don't know.  But there are areas I do have a little more experience or knowledge that comes from my SL model career of three years and also my experience in real life which I will be more than happy to share.

This is why I created this blog.

This blog will not be updated based on any regular schedule as I don't think a posting schedule should have priority over subject matters.  In other words, I will update the blog when I see something I wish to clarify or provide an explanation as to why we need to follow certain rules.  Of course, I can only update it when I have time to blog too.

I have no intention of creating any source of gossip or drama so I am going to keep all posts very objective and no names will be posted.  And I hope with all my heart that this will be able to serve as some sort of guidance to those who may have questions.

March 26, 2011
Kay Fairey