A “Sense of Style” with Sascha Shea-Carvalho – by Heather Ashford.

I met Sascha Shea-Carvalho in one of the clubs I frequent in Second Life. It is one of those places where people come to be seen. It is full of beautiful people and beautiful outfits. It also is a place for some freedom of expression. Lots of fetish-wear and even some more extreme looks. That is how I first talked to Sascha Shea-Carvalho. Her avant-garde approach to life and fashion makes her stand out in any room. She is brash and ballsy. Frankly, she is a blast. She is French.

Instead of trying to define her, I decided it was better to let her do that herself. Here is my interview with Sascha Shea-Carvalho. This is the first of a two-part series of blog posts.  In the second part, Sascha Shea-Carvalho does a makeover of Heather to her style and specifications. So, hold onto your seat children, we could be in for a bumpy flight!

Love, Heather XOXOXO

Tell me about you, what you do in RL and why are you in SL.

I am a real-life fashion designer and I am a RL woman. I run my own company and have a Designer Createurs Collection. Next, to that, we are creative directors for various well-known high-end Lifestyle brands. Those who are able to read in between the lines of my profile could have guessed that also already.

I did come to SL for RL work reasons. SL is partly private time and partly RL work time for me. My wife is the main reason I also will stay in SL after my work is done. At this moment we are doing a large critical fashion design research and that is what has led me to SL. The research is about re-imagining sex and gender for a time where labels like male and female do not exist anymore (re-define). The actual design question is pretty complex and is about designing a speculative forecast for a non-binary image language in fashion.

But it comes simply down to this – “What if males and/or females don’t exist?  What Now?
And How? In the Fashion world.”

What would you say is your fashion style?

I am an avant-gardist and createur. That means I create identities and I create Fashion language of tomorrow. The collections we design are designed in general 2 years in advance (We work now on A/W 20/21 and some S/S 21). So that's ahead of any current trend. In real life those avant-garde garments are available to me (I wear our own brand and I wear progressive designer brands). In SL that's way harder since SL is far behind to what I am used to in RL. IN RL I dress avant-garde, minimalist, refined, conceptual and very feminine and I always wear only black. Everything needs to have an edge. I also like more kinky things like latex, seamed stockings, extreme heels in RL. I try to translate this style to SL and use the SL garments, hair, shoes, make-up, etc. which are available there. It’s mostly visible in how I balance my looks and in the design choices I make. This last part shines through in anything.

When you are out and about, how much do you observe around other's fashions?

I do not observe others in SL, in regard to their style. I am not a consumer nor a follower. What I do is looking for people who created unique identities and are creative not for my own style but for the reason I came to SL. Let me try to explain what kind of observation a fashion designer actually does do. I mentioned earlier on already that I am a conceptualist createur. We construct concepts (thinking models and theories). That is also the difference between a designer and a stylist. Designers create things from zero and translate the essence of the abstract idea of things into an image (garment, make-up, installation, forecast, whatever Fashion tool) A designer gives meaning to the designs and shows new options and paths. A stylist just “copy and pastes” what is already there. Stylists follow the designers in the Fashion industry.

We observe patterns in society, see it like hovering in a helicopter above global society. These patterns are analyzed, discussed and later on used for constructing concepts. From these concepts, designs are created. The things we look at are related to anything like politics, war, economy, zeitgeist (indeed mostly anything but actual clothing). Designing is translating abstractions into visual form. These things make what fashion is (Fashion is NOT shopping or copying others). How I observe? As an artist my first language is image. I can read any image, any look, see all the used design principles/methods, see all the layers in meaning in it and I see basically also right away who is what (sorry boys ;-) ).

 Where do you get your fashion ideas?

I already explained this above. In addition to this is Ideation (or conceptual thinking). Ideation is basically like breathing to me. It is a never-ending process which goes on 24/7. The pattern which becomes visible is linked and from one idea or link flows the other. When designs are created it is basically a matter of translating these ideas into concepts and actual designs. In the concept, you also develop your own design methods which determine your compositions (so in single garments, looks, total collection and anything related to it like hair, makeup, and identity design).

In SL I do look at various things but that's because I am a young woman and have to discover what is available. It’s obvious that for the RL Fashion things I simply use my RL work, RL research and RL professional practice and it’s obvious that I visit a lot of things or present our work there. For SL I have permanent around 40 browser windows open with marketplace shops and items. I admit IN RL and SL I am the kind of woman who has tons of clothing with still all labels on (never worn). I love heels and I love handbags.

A Favorite Quote: "Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, Small minds discuss people"

Who inspires you?

ME, MYSELF and I. I am not inspired by others (that does not mean I do not respect the creativity or the designs of others).

 Do you talk to others about clothing and style?

Yes of course. I am not into Fashion....I AM FASHION. It's my way of living in RL. In SL I talk the most with my wife Valexia Shea-Carvalho. She is a very creative person and, just like me, all into Fashion. So that is a thing in our marriage which is important to both of us. We also use various things around the web to share our Fashion things outside of SL.

When you observe a certain look do you try and create it?

NO, never..why would I? I mean fashion is creating your OWN identity, create who you are or want to be. Totally useless to copy others (in SL or from RL looks available around the internet). Identity and style comes from within and you translate that into your look (otherwise you are nothing more than a clone or cheap copy and empty shell...booorinnng). Fashion is your second skin (and architecture the third). It all starts with Fashion and Fashion impacts any other art form.

When do you try new things, push yourself a bit out of your comfort zone?

I am Avant-Garde...so yes obvious. I do hate it that you can't easily layer garments in SL and I hate the limited attachment count. I also use typical cliché "male" design methods and approaches just because I can. I love it to tip people a bit off balance and become basically non-binary (-smiles-). But as my skills with the SL editor developed, I obliviously will break even more boundaries.

What types of dress do you most like to wear?

Depends on how I feel or what I want for that day, could be super smart stylish, full kinky latex, full revealing, or anything. In RL I take always a long time to dress myself and I do change during the day. In SL, it’s the same thing. My wife and I spend hours in SL just dressing ourselves and we change often our looks during the hours we are in SL.

 What challenges do you find for certain looks? – casual, formal, beach

Not really challenges in designing my looks but more technical challenges...I simply can't layer garments in SL as I would do in RL.
And, of course, I sometimes have certain items in mind and cannot find them on MP.

What style of clothing would you like to try or become better at?

I will become better at Everything! You always have to improve yourself, learn new things and re-new yourself. If you do not do that you are out of the industry and dead. I have that exact same mentality in SL. "I have to change to stay the same". To add to this. I see my shape (face and body) also as part of my garments. So, I also keep designing those things. I never use bought shapes. All my shapes and faces are designed by myself and based on myself and they will not simply evolve but radically change over time. I am not a person who is stuck in one look and feel. I try to design the various conceptual aspects of my RL identity in SL. So, you actually see the real me translated into various incarnations and translated into pixel concepts and stylizations. Sometimes larger than life, sometimes more realistic, whatever is needed to get the job done to communicate.

What is your” go-to” clothing item or look?

I have none. When I came to SL, I spend over 1 week on Tutorial Island. Not to learn the controls of SL (boring). But the clothing shop was what kept me there. I spend that entire week in the dressing room experimenting with all the clothes and fashion related things. And when I came out of tutorial Island and walked into the first building....with again a dressing room I spend again two weeks in that room designing the shapes, faces, skins and experimenting with the various outfits. So, I do not have a go-to look. Obliviously I wore at the start a lot of the same things (loved pencil skirts and still do and I love latex) but as my wardrobe grows, I always change.

How do you like to accessorize your look?

I need to get more accessories. (and Linden should add more attachment slots) I like the full things, earrings, necklaces, rings, shades, handbags, stoles, anything. I do not stick to one style. So, I go for the max possible but keep it always in strong and clean Sascha Shea-Carvalho balance.

When you set up an outfit how do you do it? What comes first?

That really depends. I can start with anything. Sometimes its hair, sometimes its shoes and sometimes it’s a certain garment. But it also can be just a color I have in mind. Most times I start with a certain statement I have in mind for that moment of the day. It can also start with a present I got from my wife. We talk a lot during dressing and fixing our make-up and hair. Valexia and I are deep and natural connection and that goes beyond SL into RL. So, we often also match in a certain mood for that time of day. From whatever start point I use I simply construct my design with things I have in my wardrobe or I search on MP while I am dressing and buy additional elements that I need the things I have in mind. It is basically composing my looks and experiment with balance and items.

So, tell me more about your research and where it is going.

In total there are 3 design-related research activities inside SL. They are all about designing new persons, new identities and re-imaging new possible options. I decided to become one with SL and live here and do participatory design together with people in SL. The virtual world in SL has not the boundaries we have to deal with in RL. SL is one big editor, a perfect place with a lot of creative people to re-imagine these new persons. We are breaking the boundaries. The free visions of the virtual world will impact the real-life world. The goal is a speculative design Fashion forecast. My wife Valexia Shea-Carvalho is also part of our RL team.

We are always looking for cool, edgy creative people who are creating unique identities so If, you have any questions or, even better, Like to contribute and help in this Fashion research just contact one of us. We would love to have you onboard!!!

Fashion work Sascha Shea-Carvalho and Valexia Shea-Carvalho are working on:

I can show & tell more to those who are interested. Shea-Carvalho studios, located in the House of Shea-Carvalho, is the center of our activities.

Please contact Sascha & Valexia Shea-Carvalho


Sascha Shea-Carvalho |Fashion designer|
Valexia Shea-Carvalho |Fine art Photographer|