Featured Image by Photographer and Stylist Linda Reddevil
Miele Tarantal of AUDAZ approached Jack for this interview with some trepidation. Surely someone who makes stuff this hip and edgy must require careful handling. But he is as friendly and gracious as a docent in a gallery. His answers reveal the playfulness that infuses his work, and belie the seriousness with which he approaches it. Read on to become acquainted with Jack Valentine and Boys to the Bone, and get a glimpse of the innovation and versatility of his work through the eyes of our AUDAZ style collaborators.
AUDAZ: We know BTTB as a truly eclectic fashion house full of colorful, exciting clothing and accessories for anyone. As BTTB’s creator, how would you describe the personality or feel of your brand?
Jack Valentine: The core of BOYS TO THE BONE has and always will consist of fashion-forward, unisex and fun items. I want my brand to be seen as something exciting, colourful and easy to make looks with!
AUDAZ: What do you enjoy about what you do?
Jack Valentine: The freedom of making whatever I feel like. To be frank, meshing and rigging is hard and tedious and are the steps I least want to do (but of course they are necessary). My favourite part is creating colours and patterns. I’d say that making graphics is half of the work with many releases! I take the copyright laws very seriously and make my own graphics using RL images as inspo and remaking them in a way that represents my brand. And sometimes it’s just an idea I’ve gotten on my own.
AUDAZ: A study of your Flickr feed tells your story’s beginning as that of a blogger, already with great style, and then you pretty quickly began creating. Do you have a real life background in art?
Jack Valentine: I actually do! Well, not art specifically, but I went to school for graphic design and photography and realized pretty soon that the whole, ‘making art from other people’s ideas’ wasn’t for me. I really enjoy making magazine spreads when I blog; it adds that extra element and sometimes the layout is actually what I spend the most time on. So I definitely got a lot of use out of my school years!
AUDAZ: When you think of your complete body of design work, which would you name as your favorites? What are you most proud of?
Jack Valentine: Oh, that’s a hard one. My latest is always my least favourite one; I need some time away from it to like it again. But one of my all-time favourites would have to be the ‘Fin trench coat.’ That one was A LOT of work to get right, but I am in love with the result! Another personal favourite is the ‘Vendetta tee/Huvud jeans’ release. It’s not so recent anymore, but I am still really happy with it. The jeans were my first proper denim item, and I am thrilled that so many people still enjoy and wear them!
AUDAZ: You have created some incredibly unique items, leading us to wonder where you find inspiration for your work?
Jack Valentine: I always look to the real life fashion world for inspo; I don’t find any use in getting inspiration from Second Life, itself. I am a huge Gucci fan – their editorials and colours/patterns are so inspiring! I do try my best to keep up with what is happening on the catwalks, but at the same time, I enjoy making things from my mind, as well. It’s quite a big mix and sometimes I can be inspired by something really random and just make my own version of it. At the end of the day, I create what I feel is missing from the grid, be it for male avis or SL as a whole.
AUDAZ: What are your favorite real life design inspirations?
Jack Valentine: As I mentioned before, Gucci is definitely one of the most influential real life brands for me. I am also really enjoying younger designers like Vetements and Off-White. Of course, Alexander McQueen is forever an icon, as well. And I need to mention Creepyyeh – her harnesses are amazing! I hope to bring a few more pieces inspired by her to the grid in the near future.
AUDAZ: Have you ever or would you consider making things for real life wear?
Jack Valentine: Honestly? Yes, it’s always in the back of my mind to try it out once. Right now, I don’t feel like I have the energy to start that venture yet, but it is definitely a bit of a dream for me. One day, maybe! I have gotten offers to work with people in real life based on my SL work, but I feel that if I do end up taking it to real life, I want it to be on my own and under myself, not another person’s brand.
AUDAZ: We wonder if you might give any teasers on anything you currently have in your queue!
Jack Valentine: Hmmm… I am very bad at planning ahead. I tend to make whatever catches my eye as the deadline approaches. However, Halloween is coming up and there miiiight be some fun items for that. Also, jeans shorts. It’s a bit late for shorts, maybe, but hey – it’s SL, every day is summer if you want it to be!
AUDAZ: What would you like people to know most about BTTB?
Jack Valentine: That it will forever be unisex and that I am a one-person brand; everything from meshing to texturing to HUDs and previews are all done by me and me alone. That is something I wish more people knew – that it is totally possible to have your own brand but it does take a lot of work and dedication. BTTB has been growing for the past five years, and where I am now didn’t happen over night! Other than that, I hope people know that I plan to stick around and bring colourful creations to the grid for a long while still.
AUDAZ selected Jack Valentine’s Boys to the Bone as our first designer feature because of BTTB’s cutting edge, vivid, wearable art. One of Second Life’s true fashion creatives, Jack Valentine’s audacious approach to fashion embodies what it mean to us to be bold, to transcend the mainstream, to be AUDAZ.