Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Goddess Apparel

Goddess Apparel is a clothing store aimed at women with a taste for elegant fashion. Owner and designer Athene Forder has a style that has been described “as elegance with edge.” Her shop is located in the Star Land 2 sim (107, 154, 22), elegantly built with an obvious Classical influence with it’s statues and founts, built to be appealing and pleasing to the eye, “... I had to have water and elegance! So that is what I built. ;-) If you listen you can hear the wind chimes from the gazebo, and the trickle of the fountains.” The store also has a changing room, and landmarks to neighbors’ stores, “I do not want to feel like we are in competition, but rather that we compliment each other.”

I first encountered Athene Forder at the Mystery sim around the Christmas holiday. Tygeria Mirabeau introduced Athene to me as the kind of fashion vendor her sim had to offer. Athene had been working on holiday-themed dresses, going for colorful and rich fabrics. Recently, I met up with Athene again at her store Goddess Apparel, to talk about her place and her work.

Athene has been in Second Life for about a year and a half. Her favorite was and still is meeting people and making friends. Of building, her first project was a gazebo. Then she tried building clothes, “All of a sudden I found an outlet for my creativity. At first it was simply to supplement my wardrobe, my husband still teases me about its vast size. But as others around me encouraged me to make those designs available to others.”

Of what inspired the name and theme, “Well, I am a fan of Greek mythology, hence my SL name (laughter). Even my real-life name has Greek hints.” She had opened her first store in June 2008. “I do mostly dresses, both formal and club wear,” she told me, “The dresses range from full formal ballgowns to short, sassy club minis. I have some with a more conservative cut, like the Stellar or Demeter, or some with a bit more skin showing, like the Hera or Artemis. I even have a flapper outfit and boas and head pieces to go with it. (laughter) When I need a break, I put together a mask, or try learning something new. I have just started some footwear and have a line of boots in the store.” Her work has also attracted the attention of some musicians, “I have been lucky enough to have a few of the live singers in Second Life see my work and ask for some to fit their style on stage.” She plans to design men’s fashion in the future.

Goddess Apparel opened earlier this month, “I held my grand opening on January 3. It was wonderful! Honey Potez offered to do some trivia for me, and then Katia Keres came to sing. We filled the sim, though I think that Katia and her tremendous voice was more responsible for that.” She told me she left the dance poseballs as she intended to use them again, “I put them out for the grand opening, and have not found a reason to have to take them down. ... I am hoping to host events once a month or so.”

“I feel so blessed by all of those who support me at this store. I need to say that! :) For me, the designing is FUN, such fun. And it stretches my mind. But it is also something I never would have thought I could do. If others had not believed in me, there would be no Goddess Apparel.”

“And it is through the support of others that my store and designs have grown. Autov Forder, my husband, provides both needed critique and support as designing takes up my time. David Tuck of Shiraz was persistent in getting me to open my first store. Adrianna Biziou, the owner of La Scala, graciously offered me a second store in her desire to help new designers. And oh my God, Tygeria Miabeau is amazing in her support - she not only has commissioned several dresses, but she also has taken me under her wing, and through her I have had the opportunity to participate in Mystery's Winter bazaar. Nathan Alter and Annie Melson have both pushed and encouraged me. In fact, Annie's store is just a few stores away from mine. I could go on ... so many people impact me in such positive ways. In all of these people I have found friends, something that transcends Second Life.”

When asked about her most popular items, “The masks downstairs have sold the best, and that surprised me. Also the dresses that push the boundaries a bit do nicely. Like the newest: the Calypso, a body suit of lace with a few undergarments that keep it from being too racy. :) It is combined with a glitter fabric of a contrasting color that forms a slip beneath the long lace skirt, or a set of silks. I try to give several options with a dress if I can, since every woman has a different desire when they put on a dress. Oh, the Leto Edge is another big seller. It adds a latin flair to a traditional ballgown style and is done entirely of feathers.” She put it on, “This was designed for Katia Keres. She wanted something that would move well as she danced on stage. ... though I think she bought the red since that is her signature color. Oh, I might also mention that while this is Second Life, I try to use some real-life in my designs. I ballroom dance so I know what will move and what will not, and try to use that in my designs.”

The subject went back to red and her avatar having red hair, “(laughter) ... as a redhead, I have to be wary of what red I wear. In fact, being a redhead inspired some of the color choices. The red I used when I did the Aphrodite for Tygeria compliments mine, a deeper tone. And I can find a green that doesn't make me look like a Christmas tree if I put it on. Sometimes being the designer has its advantages.” She then put on a red dress with red hearts, saying she designed it for Tygeria, “this was made for the Queen of Hearts ... and it will do well with Valentine’s Day coming up.”

Athene reminded me she does commissions, “if someone is looking for something special. It gives me a chance to stretch my skills too.” Of her future plans, “Well, pushing my skills. I hope to do some pumps that will match my outfits. I have a few dresses on the drawing board as well. I want to continue designing clothes in Second Life, and hope so much that others will enjoy it as well. And if I get a chance someday to help others as I have been helped, that is my greatest goal, to get into that position. :) “

Athene and I eventually had to part, and she wished me well, “Goddess Apparel is already a success in that I enjoy it, and I have the help and support of friends.”

“In Second Life, it is safe to try for your dreams, to push your own envelope. ;-) “

Bixyl Shuftan


Tygeria Mirabeau said...

This is a wonderful article about an even more wonderful artist. Athene is my friend yes but she became my friend after she did such wonderful commission works for me. Now it is a deep honor to call her friend. If you seek a special outfit please give her a try she is up to attempt to please with typical Goddess flaire!!