Virtual Lifestyle: 'I’ve Always Had Fun With Fashion And A Strong Sense Of My Own Personal Style' Exclusive Interview With Virtual Fashion Designer - MINNOW. [Women Empowerment Issue]

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Recap:
I recently went back to hosting some of my virtual shows which I started back in 2011, It is an online version of my Magazine (OTSM) the only difference is I interview the amazing personalities that help beautify the IMVU community such as (Developers, 3D Meshers, Models, Graphics And Creative Designers etc). "IMVU"  is an Amazing virtual website, I love IMVU because it gives people the chance to connect with individuals all over the world in an almost physical manner but more (virtually) using pixel characters

Every once in a while I will be sharing a glimpse of my virtual interviews with some amazing and talented individuals I have been blessed to meet via the virtual website "IMVU".  I was happy to read emails from you guys telling me how you enjoyed the last interview with a previous guest on my OTS IMVU show last year "YALLA".

Today you will be reading an interview with another beautiful soul, as you all know "Women Empowerment" is a very personal topic to me, I am deeply passionate about issues and topics surrounding how important it is for women to support each other rather than tear each other down, which seems to be happening a lot in the world lately, women would rather compete instead of trying to work together to achieve success and this is so sad as we are supposed to be a powerful network, a strong link to "Mother Earth" (yep my spiritual side comes through lol), however, it does bring tears to my eyes seeing how it's the opposite happening. That is why I do my best with what I have to support and uplift other Queens out there and I feel more women need to do this daily because it costs nothing to be "Kind". I hope you all will enjoy this interview, do not hesitate to leave a comment below or email me your thoughts and opinions. Enjoy.

[Image Edited By - Viviraa]
LB: Thanks for joining us Minnow, Please tell us a little bit more about yourself and your personal lifestyle
MINNOW: Hi Linda, thank you for having me! And hello to all you beautiful people here in the audience. I’m so happy to see you all!!
So for those who don’t know me, I’m Becs, I’m actually Australian by birth and grew up there, but I currently live and work in New York City. For my day job, I work in events and graphic design, and in my free time, I collect records, make a lot of vegan food, drink a lot of tea and am always looking for the perfect slice of pizza.
LB: Your passion and flair for fashion is obvious to tell me what inspired you to become a developer via IMVU and are you also into Fashion in RL?
MINNOW: Yes! I’ve always loved and been interested in fashion – when I was young my grandparents were very involved in theatre productions and so I always had a fabulous ‘dress-up box full of bits of costumes. When I was in high school, my best friend’s mum owned a hair salon and we would sit in there for hours, going through all her fashion magazines and cutting out the things we liked for our scrapbooks (her mum wasn’t too happy about that part of it, lol!). I’ve always had fun with fashion and a strong sense of my own personal style. Often I wanted to create certain looks on imvu but I just couldn’t find what I was looking for in the shop, so I started looking into the creator program. Then when NYC went into lockdown last March because of Covid, I finally found myself with a lot more free time on my hands to try creating.
LB: You are known as an admirer of unique clothing styles, fabric and patterns. How vital is it for a fashion brand to exude "bespokeness" (if that's even a word) and originality to stand out in a fiercely competitive market such as IMVU? 
MINNOW: For me personally, it’s important – like hello, says the girl in the bright green floral jumpsuit hahaha.. but yes, I do think it really strengthens the quality of the shop and enriches everyone’s experience when we have a wide range of available styles and items to play around with. Not everyone likes the same thing, and if everyone just made the same things, what a boring world that would be. I still get really excited when I come across a creator making unusual and unique items, and if people get that feeling when they happen across any of my items, that’s a huge win in my book. 
LB: Minnow How would you describe your brand aesthetics?
MINNOW: I would say my aesthetic is stylish yet whimsical. Fun but still sophisticated. At least I like to think so! I like to mix casual pieces in with more fancy things in my everyday life, so I try to bring that sort of dressing over into my imvu store as well. Free the sequins!
LB: What other qualities are needed to succeed as an IMVU Creator?
MINNOW: Number one thing I would say is PATIENCE, lol. Creating isn’t hard as long as you know how to use a graphics program, but it does take time and practice to get better at it, and it takes time to put together each item. I think a lot of people would be surprised how long it can take to make one thing, I know I really had no idea when I first started out! There’s a lot of trial and error involved (hello opacity maps, lmao!), but it’s really worth putting in the time if you want to produce a quality product, and I think people appreciate the extra attention to detail.
LB: What does women empowerment mean to you? 
MINNOW: For me, it means women truly supporting and lifting up each other – not just the women we know like our family and friends, but the ones we don’t know, the ones across the other side of the world, the ones we might not agree with. It’s about celebrating our individual uniqueness as well as the things we have in common. Shifting the focus from the things we’re told by society we should care about to the things we truly care about. Knowing we’re more than just our gender, and knowing that we are all the source of our own strength and abundance and realizing that we can do and be anything we want to.
LB: What ways do you think we women could help support each other more via the IMVU community because I have to say since my return to the VU last year – this date, I have seen so much drama and animosity between women, instead of spending time crowning each other and lifting each other up I have witnessed them tearing each other down and being Vile, this is one of the issues that really baffles me, so please in your own words and thought, what more do you think can be done to improve the communication and peaceful relationships between women in this little community (IMVU)?
MINNOW: Regarding the second part of the question - I don’t think this is something that’s exclusive to women but I think there are just more women on imvu than men, so we see it more often. People lose sight of what’s really important -  we aren’t just avatars, we’re all real people behind the screen. People behave very badly when they think there aren’t consequences to their actions, but there are always consequences, both for other people and for themselves. You don’t know what someone else is dealing with, so just be nice, and act as though you’re talking to someone right there in front of your face. It doesn’t cost you a thing and it’ll make your day better as well as theirs. I really believe that there’s more that unites us than separates us. I’m not saying you have to be friends with everyone – that’s not normal either, but it’s really not that hard to not be an asshole and just let others exist on their own terms. And if someone is really draining you or constantly being a toxic presence for you, I’m a big believer in the block button, lol. Always protect your own energy.
LB: One of my favourite Words to throw out there is – Collaboration Over Competition, What are your thoughts on this?
MINNOW: Yesss! One million% agree. I’m not in competition with anyone. Life isn’t a race. If someone else does well – I will always be the one to say congratulations and cheer them on.  I think my friends would probably agree that I’m better about celebrating their achievements than I am at celebrating my own, lol. I’ve found that being helpful and collaborative almost always leads to better connections, more creative ideas being generated and generally reduces everyone’s stress levels. For me, that’s just a nicer way to exist in the world. In the words of my fav philosopher (Moira Rose) “when one of us shines, all of us shine”. 
LB: I believe we need a new era of connectivity in the workplace that empowers people of all ages, sexes, and dispositions to work better, together, If you could create a feature/platform/app to achieve this – What and How would you go about it?
MINNOW: This is the hardest question, and I feel like I don’t really have a good answer!  I feel like a lot of apps and social media are created to bring people together but for whatever reason negativity still ends up creeping through. It’s a little sad to me that we need to remind people how to get along and act nicely. Maybe I’d like to create an emergency button app you can press whenever you’re really in your negative feeling that just has little reminders/messages like ‘count to ten’, ‘keep an open mind’ ‘go for a walk’ ‘she/he’s not worth it’ ‘what would your best self do’ ‘turn your phone off, lol.  I think it’s up to smarter people than me to figure this out. But ultimately I think you get the idea.
LB: Where do you look when seeking creative inspiration?
MINNOW: I think probably the same as anyone else – I like to keep up on current fashion trends, but I’ve always loved vintage and historical fashions, will literally watch any kind of fashion/style/music-related documentary or movie, I love street style blogs, and also music videos. I haven’t been able to do it as much lately but I love going to art museums and just soaking up all that creativity and colour. I love just walking around and really looking at things – architecture, plants, patterns in nature. Living in a city like New York there are always inspiring people and things happening all around – sometimes just taking a walk or sitting at a café and people watching is the best kind of inspiration.
LB: What do you think are the biggest challenges for new creators starting out today?
MINNOW: I think as you’ve said previously – it’s a really saturated market, but the other main thing I found when I was starting out, and have heard from a lot of other creators, is that there aren’t a lot of resources to help people learn how to create. Most of the tutorials on the imvu site are outdated or not very comprehensive. So I want to give a shoutout to Prey and her Creator Help Discord channel, which is an amazing resource and community full of smart, helpful people! (/me waves to Xinfo) I definitely recommend joining, whether you’re a new creator or not.
LB: Which designers have been the biggest influence on you via IMVU and RL (Real Life)?
MINNOW: [IMVU] Special shout out to my fellow Insite Designers – Naitve, Medu, Samology, Clarra, Cyto, ZGIVisual, Blvk, as well as creators like MissC and Deathcamp – they all have really cool ideas, quality products, strong brand identity and an energy that’s really inspiring to be around. 
[Real Life] I love a lot of designers, especially those that do colour and pattern really well – lately particularly Zimmerman, Brandon Maxwell, Dries van Noten, Missoni, Andrew Gn, Dolce & Gabanna, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Gucci, etc

LB: Is it hard to stay innovative, and how do you overcome the hurdles one faces as a Creator?MINNOW: It can be! I’ve learned through my creating journey that I work best when I don’t pressure myself into it. For me, it’s always worth taking a step back for a few weeks or a month until inspiration strikes, rather than trying to force myself to create. I’m doing it because I like it, and if it becomes a source of stress then I’m not going to enjoy doing it! 
LB: Let me take you back in time a little bit to when you made the product called - Yellow Marble Midi, fast-forwarding on to 2021, how has your work evolved since you started creating via IMVU?
MINNOW: Aw, my first item! Actually, this past week was a year exactly since I uploaded my first items to the shop! I did a bit of a look back and I think I’ve come a long way. I’m still proud of those early pieces, but there are definitely extra details like creases and shadowing that I’d add if I were to make them again today.
LB: So On IMVU, it’s easy to blend in or stand out, Most of us choose to stand out and create that which appeals to us in hopes that someone out there is as crazy as We Are and will also find our work appealing, at least this is my mindset, So, How do you walk the line between being unique and having commercial appeal?
MINNOW: Well, I know my creations aren’t for everyone, and I’m honest with myself about that. I just try to create things that bring me joy… you could drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what other people want and never be any closer to knowing. Sometimes I’ll make an item I’m kinda meh about, and it ends up being a big seller. So honestly, I just do my thing and hope that some other people will like it too.
LB: You use quite unusual materials, patterns, textures, colour tones in your collections, Do you think it is important to source materials carefully when trying to create a unique product for the Catalog?
MINNOW: For sure, but I think most important for whatever you’re creating is to look for materials and meshes that are high quality, they’ll give better end results. The rest is just personal taste and aesthetics.
LB: So, I notice you have more clothing products than rooms and furniture in your catalog, would you be making more Rooms and furniture’s in the nearest future and What is your favourite part about being an IMVU Creator?
MINNOW: True - I feel like I haven’t really explored the rooms/furniture creating side much, but there are so many possibilities there that I’d like to at some point, but I don’t see it ever becoming my main focus.  My favourite part of being a creator is seeing people wearing and using my items. It’s really such a cool feeling, I love when people tag me and I always try to comment and share posts as soon as I can.
LB: What aspects of the IMVU Developing industry would you like to change if given the opportunity to change anything?
MINNOW: I think that creators should be compensated more fairly by imvu. We do all the work, and then they take a huge cut of the credits for each sale on top of us already having to pay to submit each product. Doesn’t quite seem fair.
LB: If you could go back and tell yourself one thing in life, what would it be?
MINNOW: Don’t compare yourself to others, or worry about what they think or about what everyone else is doing. If you’re going to compare anything, compare your past self with your current self and be proud of how far you’ve come.
LB: It’s normal to make mistakes in life, So - What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?
MINNOW: I think the biggest thing would be rushing and stressing myself out trying to make things that would be ‘popular’, and not trusting my own tastes and instincts.
LB: What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
MINNOW: I think it plays an increasingly important role, and in the past year it’s really become more important still. Big established fashion houses are live-streaming their collections and taking advantage of the global exposure of social media, as well as branching out into using digital/virtual models and finding more creative alternatives to the traditional catwalk show. To me that’s really cool – it makes fashion of all levels and from all cultures much more accessible to all kinds of people. You can watch a designer’s show, click a hashtag and see how people all around the world wear the looks or interpretations of them. Social media has really become the fashion magazine of our time. Now we all save Instagram posts rather than tear out pages. Lol.

LB: There’s so much pressure for developers to come out with their greatest collection season after season. What advice would you give to aspiring developers just starting out and hoping to make it in the IMVU Creators Community?
MINNOW: Honestly, just do it! And keep doing it. Keep making products, the more you keep learning and developing, the better your products will be. And don’t try to be everything to everyone. Make things you like, clothes or accessories you’d wear, the furniture you want, or rooms you’d like to hang out in. You’ll be more excited and more likely to put quality time into making whatever it is that sparks your passion. I think that really shows through in the final products and people notice.
LB: Have you ever tried any other virtual website other than IMVU? [One Of My Most Popular Questions]
MINNOW: Well, I haven’t tried SL yet, though I’m tempted by the quality I don’t think my computer (or my wallet) could handle it, haha! I actually found out about Imvu because I used to play a game called Hotel Hideaway, and some friends on there decided to try out imvu and dragged me along with them. They all lasted about 3 weeks and I’m still here 3 years later lol. 
LB: Any Last words for your fans and supporters out there?
MINNOW: Just a huge THANK YOU to everyone for being here, especially with all the issues today.  It’s really a little overwhelming, I’m not great at talking about myself but this was such a meaningful subject for me. So I want to say thank you again to everyone for supporting me and shopping from my store, I feel very grateful to have my own little niche in such a creative community. You all keep me motivated and inspired every day!  And especially to my close friends and VIPS here or watching- I love you guys so much, you keep me sane and definitely wouldn’t be here on imvu without you guys <3
For More Information About Minnow 
Follow Her On Instagram Here
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