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Embodiment in 3D virtual retail environments:\ud Evolving the perceptions of collaborative art and design research as avatars

By Andrew Taylor and Rosemary Varley


Being a fashion design lecturer and a fashion retail marketing lecturer, we were, until recently\ud working on the same courses, in the same open plan office. Academically we had also been\ud distinctly, yet independently aware of the debate surrounding the hyper un-realistic and\ud non-sensory interface of online 2D shopping for clothes spanning the last decade. Until the\ud advent of Web 2.0 interactivity, the customer’s inability to actualise, and communicate with\ud both the product and the brand had been the main inhibitor to online shopping.\ud Following a paper presented to the subject area research forum about 3D fashion design\ud research in Second Life. The authors met and chatted for the first time over coffee. We\ud discussed the cultural and digital convergence happening within design and retail business.\ud We acknowledged that in our polarised module delivery of design/retail content on the\ud supply chain, we were missing out on the opportunity of teleporting into online 3D virtual\ud worlds to do new research as a team.\ud From this basis we agreed to create space and collaborate. By applying an experiential,\ud exploratory and real-time approach to research methods we began investigating Second\ud Life in collaboration. We aimed to explore main fashion brands with established virtual\ud 3D stores, and intend that this research will support next stage collaborative teaching\ud integrating both design and retail marketing. In conclusion the paper provides a context\ud for collaboration amongst art and design academics. The research is an attempt to inspire\ud ‘non virtual ’ lecturers into working together to translate the tacit qualities of the physical\ud into virtual design, making, buying and merchandising experiences for increasingly virtually\ud tech- confident undergraduate art and design learners in 2008/09 and beyond

Topics: QA75, L1
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  1. (2007). A Survey of Usability Evaluation in Virtual Environments: Classification and Comparison of Methods’, Presence, doi
  2. (2006). Retail Product Management: Buying and Merchandising (2nd Edition), Routledge, London Varley,R. doi

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