Today, we are shining a spotlight on Iki Akiri, the talent behind Violent Seduction, a virtual fashion boutique specializing in elegant, Gothic, and Lolita styles.
How long have you been in Second Life and how did you first hear about it?
I've been in Second Life since 2005 and heard about it through some friends on a forum I was running at the time.
My early days involved turning up unannounced to people's houses in a party hat and forcing people to party. It was always my birthday. Endless entertainment for me, maybe not so much for them. My friends can vouch the troll never left.
You’ve been creating content in Second Life for many years, how and when did you get started?
I started my store around December 2008 as a hobby right after finishing high school. I had not had an easy life prior to this point and I turned to art to regain my energy. I had been in and out of Second Life for a year or two, but I wasn't happy with a lot of the style of clothing Second Life had to offer in 2008, so I started making my own and never really stopped.
It was just a drive to make things that don't exist yet and it became a hobby and a tool to help me destress. Over time this became a lifeline and learning tool that supported me through many other hardships and redundancies after. I am so grateful for it.
2011 vs 2023
Do you have a background in 3D content creation and what kind of tools do you use to create your content?
I was originally an aspiring 2D artist working to become a concept artist. By the time I had started my degree in Game Art, I had decided that 3D had more freedom, more prospects, and an easier barrier to entry than concept art for my future, so I switched to the 3D electives early into the course and graduated in 2012.
After that, I learned a lot about lighting and rendering during my time working in Archviz. This allowed me to learn the specifics of light and material properties early on before a lot of games had built the visual equivalents into their base engines.
I taught game art (UE3-4) for 5-6 years while I was running my store on the side and this also gave me the added motivation to teach other SL creators using the curriculum I was already teaching, but with a pipeline more suited to Second Life.
Since then I've been jumping into indie work specializing in high poly assets and skilling up using adapted game industry standards in parallel to my work in Second Life to keep me up to date.
The main programs I use regularly are 3DSmax, Marvelous Designer, Substance Painter + Sampler, Zbrush, and Marmoset Toolbag. I add, remove or switch programs, pipelines, and plugins depending on the type of item I'm making or if something new seems interesting/applicable to test.
I also do the majority of my quick reference sketches using Fashionary sketchbooks and lately; Procreate using a fashionary template. Imagine the satisfaction when I found out these were recorded, what a time to be alive:
You create high-quality Gothic styles that are always efficiently using the latest technologies available on the grid, such as PBR. Do you have any tips and/or advice for creators looking to increase their content creation skills?
Yes! My advice would be to start looking into alternative pipelines, programs, and engines, expanding your problem-solving skills with more than what you are used to. Learn what the industry is doing right now and see if you can learn those tools and techniques to improve your own quality. Focusing on efficient content allows you to work in a nonconstructive way alongside the gaming industry, meaning your portfolio and skills will transfer and you'll be able to pivot and adapt as a creator during things like the addition of PBR and future updates if you keep on top of your ongoing learning.
Find Game Art 3D tutorials and watch them in your spare time. Dedicate an hour (30 mins even) every day to learning a new 3D skill, or alternatively, if you don't have time to learn; build those tests/skills into your work as you go. You'll get better very fast and it is absolutely worth the time even if it's not 1:1 applicable with Second Life. It might be valuable information later down the road.
I'd highly suggest finding some local Game Dev Discord channels local to your area and sharing your work, asking for constructive criticism, and adapting on the feedback of peers with wider experience. You can make a lot of local friends in the industry and improve super fast this way!
There are so many benefits to aligning yourself to a more efficient workflow, and it does wonders for networking in the real world too.
Where do you get the inspiration for your designs and what are some of your favorite pieces that you have created?
Fashion is definitely one of my major loves my whole life. I have been designing clothing well before I started in SL and had some real-world experience watching seamstresses work with patterns at an early age too. My love for fashion is the main driving force that keeps me creating here.
My inspiration often comes from seeing certain cuts, wrinkles, or fabric types and building a design around the idea I'd like to test in 3D. As a result, I don't often use complete pieces of reference and will take snippets of many different references to create something new. I personally feel that Second Life is a research and development tool in a way so I enjoy pushing myself into different styles and testing to see if people think they're cool or not while I keep pretending to be a fashion designer. Perhaps it will be real-world applicable to me one day.
I'm inspired stylistically by a combination of substyles namely Larme Kei, Gothic Lolita, Otome Fashion, Cyberwear, and Techwear as well as designers like Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, and Iris Van Herpen. I will often be inspired by random objects I've seen while traveling or historical Victorian patterns I'm itching to translate into Marvelous Designer. I also really love to use SL to experiment with my designs by crossing different substyles and seeing if that will translate into the real world. Tying my real-life fashion style into my design process is so important for my creative motivation.
My favorite works are generally the ones that were the most annoying to make. They act as my heavy-hitting portfolio pieces as some of the technical aspects are fiddly and need a lot of early problem-solving to achieve efficiently for Second Life. I hated doing it and didn't sleep for most of it, but now I love them:
Nemissa Set - Regicide Set - Theia Set
Tell us about some of the other Residents in SL that inspire you and whose work you admire.
I'm a bit of a hermit and honestly, I don't get out much, so my inspirations are people and friends I've followed for quite a long time:
Hinadori Chang (ひなどりさん♡): I've followed Hinadori for many many years. The way she combines sub-styles together and presents them in an old "Street Snap" style really resonates with me. If you've ever collected any Japanese fashion magazines you'll understand immediately!
Contraption: Walt builds some of the biggest, coolest, and most efficient builds in Second Life. They're beautiful and I'm so excited to see more from him - especially with the upcoming PBR updates as well as his work with world/sim building.
Insomnia Angel: I don't know how to explain this, but whenever I see Insomnia Angel reference a tiny aspect of an outfit I've only seen on display in the basement of Laforet it makes me so happy, like an inside joke only 3 people get. She gets fashion in and out for the same styles I'm interested in. ♡
Tonktastic: Real OG, Tonktastic has been pushing efficient content longer than anybody I can think of. Highly recommend looking at his breakdowns over the years!
Where can people see your work? Please share links to your sites and social media accounts.
New Website: violentseduction.com
Entire Catalog on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/violentseduction
Thank you, Iki, for adding your style and expertise to the Second Life fashion community!
Each of our Spotlight posts features a different Resident to showcase the spectrum of experiences and personalities found in our virtual world. If you have created something inworld that you’re proud of, or have had a deeply meaningful experience that could brighten someone else’s day, please sign up! More info here: https://second.life/spotlight-signup
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