Hair has always been such an incredible industry in Second Life. From way back when there was less stores to choose from, until now, where there is a constant stream of fabulous locks to love. Hair used to be my biggest and only addiction in Second Life.
Sometimes buying up to a dozen styles in one day, and ending up walking around in the last purchase, and often never even wearing the first few until weeks afterward. I actually started as a redhead, the candie Vonta being the first style I purchased for 5L and regardless of how many other styles I bought in the weeks following, I loved it to bits, and wore the red all the time.
I thought I would never move from Strawberry red by Gurl 6, it was a to die for red, and it was close enough to the one by Panache. I actually still have Candie and Faith MidNyte still in my inventory, it is too hard to let go of them.
Then I started to find other stores, and the reds weren’t special enough for me, or as bright, or they just didn’t have the same energy to make me desire them. The hair itself did that, but the colours were so hard, and back then it was very rare to have a colour demo, and often hair had so many strips of either demo texture or colours that you were distracted.
So I turned to the ‘safe’ black , because even when black isn’t always the exact black you like, it is still black. I often mix it up though, there are stores I often cannot pass up their reds, or blondes, or even brunettes. But out of habit more so than not, I reach for the black, and i do love it, I always wanted to dye my reddish hair black as a teen.
There are others though, that are so true to their colours, perfect examples of that come in our bloggers, there are some bloggers that we probably recognise more from their hair colour, than anything else when running down a feed, especially the redheads like Cajsa, Ana and Whimsy.
I actually embarrassed myself recently at a store with Grazia, when a lady joined us to say hello and I mentioned how startling it was to see her not blonde, apparently she had changed hair colour a while ago – sorry Nici – but even though I look at her blog every other day, in my head she was still a blonde.
Over the years I have worked with a few different Hair Creators, as well as been close friends with others. There are many things that go on behind the scenes in all kinds of stores in Second Life, but with hair it is a constant mix of updating, repackaging and coming up with new styles.
The amount of IM’s as well as notecards a hair creator can receive during a week is huge, not even counting the downpour straight after a release. Can you make it longer, shorter, bangs on left, bangs on right.Â Can it have a bow, a bonnet, a hat.Â Can you take off the bow, the bonnet, the hat – lol I just realised I sent one of those IMs just last week myself.
If a hair creator changes textures, it’s the end of the world for some. If a hair creator changes the way they put together their packs, it’s catastrophic. Being a newer creator in some aspects is easier, because you have the ability to really look at the market as a whole, and see what it is from the start that will work for them and their brand. Older creators often get stuck in what they have, because any change could effect them as a whole business.
We are incredibly loyal to our hair needs, I once did a post on hair creators including updates in their packs, that way if they did make changes, we got the choice to change with, or keep what we had, but the option would be there. Possibly freeing up the creator, and allowing them to feel that it’s ok to change.
Making room for new hair has always been my own personal hell, when hair creators discontinue – cries . Hairstyles we love so much, are suddenly thrown away. Aleri has done that to me often, but last year I actually won one back, as that hair was asked for so often it was just crazy not to pull it back out of retirement.
That’s sometimes another IM/Notecard “where is such and such hair, I saw someone wearing it and I must have it ” the hair has been deleted even from the creators inventory, but the IM’s keep coming, so they recreate it as close as they can, which makes many happy, but for some reason, others get a bit weirded out by it.
Is it the same ? Is there enough of a difference in a style to make it a New style ? Well for me it doesn’t actually always have to be too different. That is the other thing I have noticed about hair wearers.
Let me step back a second though, a few months into Second Life, one thing that dawned on me, is that in such an incredible costume driven environment, we don’t have wigs. Or at least we didn’t back then – I would hate to not point out that Curio ObscuraÂ most definitely fall into the wig area – but I was watching a rerun of Alias, and pined over the way Sydney looked in a short blue bob.
That all of Second Life hair for some would be thought of as wigs, I have even heard some call them that, but that means we would have to consider ourselves naturally bald underneath. But we didn’t get to wear hair that looks like it is a wig. I mean if Cajsa turned up at an event in a short blue bob, that would be considered one :) as she is known as a red head.
But if I did it, or Grazia or many others , it would be just us changing hair colour/styles again not a second thought would go into it – Mind you Grazia in that pulp fiction style Lamb hair looked HOT HOT HOT like a wig.
So back to hair that only changes slightly, or a lot. If I wear my rQ hair, it is like it’s my hair restyled. The hair itself is always the same texture, similar length pieces are used, but it is such a different style, that it looks like I have really done something new with it. It looks like I gathered it all back and knotted it, or I grabbed big handfuls of it and added enough hairpins to hold it in place. Or it looks like I gathered it up as best I could under a cap, and that is why I love it.
If I go to Magika it is the same, my hair, restyled , or cut and restyled. Sometimes I part it on a different side, sometimes I add things to it, but it is my hair. I wear it up, over , under, I curl it , leave it to dry naturally, get it layered or wrap it around a bone if I want to.
I am also loving lately the fact that a few newer stores, and some older stores are all using the same textures, this just gives those that wish to keep that same look, but slight changes, more of a range to choose from now.
There are other stores where each release is a completely different style, it isn’t your hair you worked on, but more of a visit to a stylist for a make over, you completely do a 360 and out you come looking so startlingly different that if you didn’t have a name over your head, your own SL mother wouldn’t recognise you.
But that is half the fun too. I have many of those styles as well. There are so many ways to give yourself a lift in Second Life, the most inexpensive of them is Hair. I could go to HCT , ETD, and have a hair explosion just in 1L packs.Â If you are new it is an incredible thing, to have such wonderful variety to find the look you wish to have, mind you that often changes a few weeks in, once you see all the other ways you can look.
But for the most part, people want to identify with their avatars, especially the longer they are here, if they work or represent a business, often they want to look as professional as possible, so like to wear their hair up and neat, but love the option of the same looking hair once its down and loose, for more social occasions.
Some rely on stipend for their shopping money, they are on a budget and treat themselves to new hair every few weeks, like a visit to a RL hairsalon, so it is a big deal for them to not get something too ‘out there’ from their natural look. They will be loyal to a brand that can give them as much of a range of the same hair as possible.
Much like people that are loyal to one skin line, pining for new make ups.
All of these factors play a huge part on the hair industry in SL , some cater to both customer bases, some cater to only one. Even the sci fi, cyberpunk hair creators tend to do variations on their own styles because of the loyalty to a particular look their customers have.
Hair becomes as permanent to many as their skin, I remember being guilt of assumption because of the very hair I mentioned in the beginning. If I saw someone wearing the Panache 5L styles I assumed they were new, and if I looked in their profile I would find that wasn’t the case at all, the hair had become the them they identified with the most. They are not unaware there is more out there, they mix with other people, they shop in stores all over SL, but the hair is how they feel comfortable, it’s also how often you can find people in a crowd lol.
Mel wears Armidi hair, and sometimes I think of him changing it and I freak out, he logs into a different Sasy every day, sometimes hourly lol, but if he changed him I’d be a wreck.
So thank you to all the hair creators out there, the ones that give us wigs, the ones that make it possible to feel like a rockstar on occasion. The ones that make us incredibly unusual styles that we could only ever wear in Second Life, and we love that we get to, and a big thank you to those that listen to the requests of their customers and make slight changes, so that we can feel at home in ourselves, because Second Life can be a scary place without an identity of your own.
Oh and thanks for reading my ramble about hair, and my experiences with it. Remember this is just my observations, and dealing with friends and customers, and just how I sometimes want to be a rockstar, or pebbles, or business like.