Hair Fair 2009

Hair Fair ’09 Sponsored by Beta Technologies

Hair Fair '09 - Candy Land

This year’s Hair Fair ’09 — the largest trade and charity fair in Second Life, with an estimated attendance of over 15,000 people, and having the goal to raise US$ 12,000 for the not-for-profit Locks of Love, is being sponsored by Beta Technologies, which has provided four sims for this year’s event, logistics, and a metrics system to keep track of the visitors.

What is Hair Fair?

Could you believe that a sophisticated pompadour, a jazzy bobbed hair or gothic pigtails can become real hair for real children?

In the United States alone, 2 million children and teenagers are stricken with diseases that imply partial or total loss of hair. Alopecia is an auto-immune disorder that causes the hair follicles to shut down and these children end up with partial or total hair loss. Add to these all kids undergoing radiation and chemo treatments, children suffering from ectodermal dysplasia, loose anagen syndrome, trichotillomania, telogen effluvium, and traumatic injuries – and what you get is millions of kids who are deprived of one of the marks of normality – having hair. This is terribly traumatic for a growing kid.

Most adult wigs won’t really do the job – they’re too big and too grown up. So there are specialized wigs for kids – but they cost thousands of dollars. This is where virtual hair comes in.

In Second Life®, the fastest growing virtual world which already counts with 16 million users, economy is brisk. One of the virtual economy motors is the creation of objects for sale. And one of the most desired items is… Hair! Since you are free to change your appearance, it’s not uncommon that users feature a glorious mane of red hair one day and a short, cosmopolitan blonde the next. There are hundreds of hairstyle creators in Second Life, and the virtual job has already become a virtual art form on its own.

This is the fourth year in which the hair designers unite in a common event for getting money to sponsor wigs for children – the Hair Fair 2009. The Hair Fair is a 2-week event that congregates all that is Hair! – in Second Life. Spreading over an area of more than 2 million square feet, Hair Fair resembles a business fair… only the theme this year is ‘Candy Land’ and so you will be able to visit a landscape of sweets in which the merchants’ booths are gingerbread houses… all is possible in Second Life!

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Merchants donate the proceedings of at least one hairstyle to the Hair Fair. Hair Fair staff is totally volunteer, and all proceedings are amassed and given to charity. To take care of the costs, Hair Fair is sponsored by real life companies doing business in Second Life – this year the sponsors are Beta Technologies, a US-Portuguese multinational virtual developers company, IllClan, another US company that specializes in state-of-the-art virtual video – machinima, and mechanizedLife, who has sponsored some of the intricate programming that the event requires. IllClan has produced the official videoclip and Beta Technologies is lending the virtual area and logistics for this event which has taken almost a year to organize.

Hair Fair will open its liquorice gates on Saturday, the 20th of June, and will carry on until the 4th July. Besides all the multitude of hairstyles to see and buy, the Fair will have several events – music, parties – and a special event day – the Bandana Day, in which Second Life users are invited, for a day, to try the traumatic experience of leaving their gorgeous hairstyles in their virtual pockets and pass the day using a bandana on their heads – so that they can experience something akin to the suffering of millions of young lives.

How to reach Hair Fair ’09?

Note: Since this event occurred over a decade ago, the above links very likely won’t work. Hair Fair continues to be held every year, with a different sponsor. Besides some images of Hair Fair 2009, we have also preserved some of the buildings we designed on our own OpenSimulator Grid, where they can be still seen.