It must be fun to design clothing on models that are thin and perfect, have no temperament or dietary issues, and can strut the catwalk without ever tripping.
But these idealized models aren't real people - they exist only in the virtual world of The Sims 2 computer game. Without needle or thread, more than a thousand real-world aspiring designers recently crafted original outfits for their Sims 2 characters, or avatars.
One lucky winner was chosen by retailer H&M to bring his virtual outfit to life and sell it in their bricks-and-mortar clothing stores. The winning design, a short, black-and-white striped, scoop-neck dress, was fabricated inside Sims 2 by Beau Fornillos, a 21-year-old American interior design student.
The Sims 2 H&M Fashion Runway contest ran for seven weeks during the summer of 2007, with the runway shows simulcast on Yahoo.
Clothing was designed for six categories of Sims life: Party Time, Skate Park, Street Wear, Night Out, Let's Go To The Beach, and Red Carpet.
Fans voted for their favorites, while the entries were also judged by several members of the H&M design team in Stockholm, Sweden. Fashionistas can grab Fornillos's dress in real-life sizes at select H&M locations beginning July 31.