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Friday, 27 March 2009

Interview With Designer Estelle Parnall

Those of you who read our blog regularly, may remember an article I wrote a short while back. To refresh your memories, Virtually London lite’s editor, Janey Bracken gave Hibiscus Hastings and I L$500. With the instruction to go out into the clothes shops of SL London, and see how much we could get for our money. After many hours of shopping Lost Dreams of Mayfair became a clear winner for me. Not so much because you got lots of extras in your purchase! but simply because I was blown away with the styles and quality of Lost Dreams designs.

Well that was several weeks ago now, and I thought it was about time that I got in touch with Estelle Parnall, the owner of Lost Dreams and see if she would like to drop by our office for a little chat. Now getting in touch with her was the easy part, but sorting out a time was proving to be a little tricky. 'Why?' I hear you ask, well unbeknown to me Estelle lives in Australia, and to see her at a suitable time in London I would have to work the night shift, and we all know I need as much beauty sleep as I can get! At last we sorted out a conveniently mutual time.

Estelle turned up at the office slightly early and was wearing, to my surprise, one of the outfits I bought from Lost Dreams when I was on my mammoth shopping quest, she looked fantastic. Estelle apologised for turning up early and was very complimentary about our office. I asked Estelle how long had she been in business in Second Life? "Well" she said, "in clothes since last November, so that's around five months". So Lost Dreams isn't your first business in Second Life? "Not really" she replied," I had some art galleries, and I decided to make sculpted picture frames, I thought they were something new! turns out they weren’t lol. Then I got an island with a friend and did the rental thing! it was then that I opened my first Lost Dreams". Do you design all your outfits yourself, and what inspires you? I enquired. "Yes I design everything" Estelle replied, "I really enjoy my work and get inspiration from everywhere I look, from magazines, television or sometimes I just have to touch a fabric and an image appears in my mind, sometimes its the texture, or just what ever adapts to the avatar well". I wanted to know how business is, and is she busy? "Business is really great" she told me, "it just keeps getting better and better all the time. Last week was phenomenal, especially with the fashion fair". "That's really good because I love your designs, as you know lol" I said. "Thanks so much" she replied, "its a really nice feeling when people like something I've created". I asked Estelle "what was it that made her first start designing". "Well" she thought for a while---"I'm not really sure, I just kept learning more and more about Second Life, and clothes seemed the next 'big' thing. I thought about houses and furniture, you can only have so much of those things but everyone needs clothes, we all like fashion". (try telling that to the naturist!)

"What made you choose SL London?" I asked? "Oh I love London" Estelle replied, "The people are so friendly and there's always plenty of traffic (avatars), you are always going to be surrounded by quality designers, and not forgetting the prestige. I don't think I could have chosen a better place for my first clothes shop, I mean as soon as I opened my first shop in SL London I immediately had plenty of sales". Estelle has a web link and you can catch her at: http//

"Do you design your clothes with a certain age range in mind?" I enquired. "Not really, I tend to design what I would like to wear, some of my clothes are a little on the conservative side, but there is a big market out there for that", I wanted to know how Estelle felt when she sold her first item "I still get a thrill even to this day when something sells" she said, "its such a buzz, especially when people come back". I know Lost Dreams can be a very busy shop, I needed to ask Estelle if she needed to employ anyone? "No I don't normally, but there is a fashion parade coming up next week and I do have someone helping me to get ready for that". Estelle has promised to let me know where and when this fashion parade is to be held, as I would love to cover it. "Do you have a best selling item, something that really sold well?" I asked Estelle. "Yes I have" Estelle explained, "there was a little tartan dress from my earlier designs that sold really well, and the retro dresses seem to be very popular". I asked Estelle if she had not turned her talents towards designing clothes, what else would she have done in Second Life? and without hesitation she replied "Probably still going out, socialising and slowly going broke", she laughs! Estelle's real life work is completely different to her Second Life work. In real life Estelle works in finance as an IT manager. She is also involved in her families building business.

I asked Estelle if she thought it was a good thing that she could use Second Life in this way for business. "Yes" she said, "first of all it’s fun, then its lucrative, and the possibilities are endless. I think the crossover between Real Life and Second Life is very interesting, and the most challenging. I hope to open more shops in the future, but probably with a different brand, maybe something like lingerie or even urban wear? I'm not sure yet. I don't like large stores, and I don't think many others do either" Estelle went on to explain. "I think everyone in Second Life is in love, or at least looking for love, you just have to read their profiles! trust me, lingerie is here to stay". Meeting Estelle Parnall turned out to be a real pleasure for me. She is the sort of person who makes you feel good on the inside, and her clothes certainly make you look good on the outside, you could say she has everything covered!

Pixi Piers

1 comment:

Heidi Volare said...

I adore you and your designs, Estelle! YES, design some lingerie!