One of the things I enjoy most about SL, and this opportunity to share some of the stuff I find there, is hearing about (or from) new or unfamiliar designers and trying on their creations for the first time.Â Whether they’re just getting started, or taking their design work in a new direction, there’s something actually kind of exciting about it.Â Namida Akami has just two items out at her new shop MUWU, but they’re her first two designs for men, and they’re fascinatingly different from each other inÂ approach, styleÂ and execution.Â “The English Boy” (L$90) is a classic ensemble: navy blazer over sweater vest over white oxford shirt.Â It’s eminently sober and respectable, just the thing for a full day of classes or an afternoon of quiet studyÂ at the library.
Look closely and you’ll see pleasantly realistic fabric textures–the jacket is especially well done–and fine detailing and shading that really make this design work for me.Â You may also notice some “cheats” that Namida has used to get around certain limitations of SL garment layering.Â On one side, the shirt collar subtlyÂ falls over not only the sweater collar but the jacket lapel as well, and the casually untucked shirttails come from under the sweater to lie over the pants, along with the jacket.Â Of course these are impossible tricks for any shirt-layer item to pull off, so you won’t be surprised to hear that the blazer, sweater and shirt are all included on the same garment layer.Â The set includes shirt, jacket and underwear clothing items.Â The shirt allows you to add a little bulk or “puffiness” if you like.Â This design approach does mean that it’s not possibleÂ to wear the various items separately or two at a time, say just the shirt with the vest.Â Given the price and quality of the workmanship, this is just an observation and certainly not a complaint or criticism.
Blazer and sweater may get you through the day, but you’re probably looking for something completely different for, say, a night out at the pub with your mates.Â Namida’s other outfit is called “Contrast” (L$180), and the name works on a number of levels.Â It’s very different in many ways from “The English Boy,” and it is itself a small-scale study in contrasts.Â The casual pants and jacket-style shirt are executed in crisp white and deep black, with contrasting trim, zippers and stitching.
Although I don’t see much detail in the fabric texture of theÂ black shirt/jacket, the collar and chest pocket flap are shaded for clear visibility, and the white trim elements really stand out.Â The white pants, on the other hand, do have a distinct denim texture, and it’s easy to make out the rivets on the back patch pockets.Â The outfit includes jacket, pants, shirt, andÂ underwear-layer extension, so you can wear the shirt tucked or untucked.Â I have the pants cuff flared pretty wide for me, about 20, because I’m wearing the Akeyo Chucks high-tops–it seems I can’t…take them…off.Â Don’t worry, the cuffs flare can be toned down.Â
Permissions are mixed–shirts and pants are Modify / Copy / No Transfer, other items are No Modify / Copy / No Transfer.
Namida’s designs are available at MUWU (Umbra 186, 174, 26).Â Access to the shop seems somewhat awkward and potentially inimidating due to ban lines right next door, but the entrance isn’t actually blocked, so walk right on in.Â I’ll be looking forward to seeing Namida’s future design workÂ as well.