You might not be aware of it, but there's a pretty competitive fashion industry within the still-kicking virtual world of Second Life. For years fashion designers have created pretty amazing virtual clothing, jewelry and other artifacts, some not possible in real life. Such items have been sold to Second Life avatars for many years. But that's changing.
The key seems to have the introduction of new 3D development tools within Second Life. Previously, all virtual artifacts had to built with Second Life's proprietary (and lousy) 3D tools, which greatly limited what could be made. Linden Lab, the owner of Second Life, introduced a feature they called, "Mesh" last year, which permitted the import of designs made from standard and more powerful 3D development tools outside of Second Life.
The hope was that a portion of the huge amount of existing 3D models would be imported into Second Life, improving the lot of avatars grid-wide. However, we now see that something different has occurred.
Avatar Maxi Gossamer, a jewelry designer in Second Life, used the "Mesh" feature to upload virtual jewelry designed with ZBrush, but discovered that the same designs could be posted on Shapeways to be 3D printed in real life.
Gossamer now has twenty rather beautiful jewelry items for sale, in real life, at her Shapeways shop. Will we see more 3D fashion expertise make the virtual to real jump?