I don’t make my students shy away from doing displays that are provocative or controversial. I say push the boundaries! But when I came across this article in the Daily Mail, on the windows skin-care retailer LUSH did, I wondered if they crossed the line?
Although I do not find what they did offensive, it does turn my stomach a bit and does not make me want to go in their store. Which completely defeats the purpose of visual merchandising!
I applaud their efforts to bring animal cruelty in the cosmetic industry to the public’s attention, but when I hear the word LUSH and think of skin-care, I envision beauty and goodness.
What do you think? I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this.
Here are a few pictures from the full article, although read the article so the photos are not taken out of context.
Here are the photos from last week’s displays. The theme was food. I’m finding the displays are getting better and better each week, as the students are refining their skills and taking more chances. The comments in class, as they critique each other’s work, is also in line with what I’m thinking. This is a testament to their growth as visual merchandisers and how their eyes are now trained to pick up on slight details that used to be overlooked. My hat is off to all of you!
Group 1 – Shelving Unit
Looks yummy group 1! – I thought they did a great job with this one. I could see this as a free-standing display in a bakery or even in a window. The background matched the sprinkles on the cupcakes, and the coloring of the cupcake prop is not too overpowering, which makes it a perfect complement for the merchandise. They even added under-cabinet lighting. Great job and thanks for sharing all the treats at the end of class !!!
Group 2 – Cubes
Group 2 chose candy as their product to feature. This project was good in theory but did not deliver in execution.
This cube is suppose to be cotton candy. The pieces of cotton candy on the bottom of the cube didn’t work, as the sugar began to crystallize. There is too much negative space within the cube. I wish the tree branches had been painted a color, and instead of cotton candy, they could have used cotton batting, or stretched out cotton balls. Learning to improvise, or creating what you want out of something else is the name of our game! Plus the cotton will last longer than the cotton candy.
The candy mosaic on the bottom of this cube turned out nice. They used mint flavored dental floss to hang the candy (kinda’ ironic)! Again, I wish they had painted the branch, although, the unpainted branches was their intent, as they were inspired from another display that used branches.
I like the last cube showing the jawbreakers and gummy bears. Now, if only they didn’t add any branches to this cube, it would’ve have been perfect. Their reasoning was, the other cubes had the branches; they wanted to be consistent and have a cohesive look. Do you agree?
Group 3 – Wall
Unfortunately group 3 did not finish their display in the allotted time. It’s a shame because they had a cute idea, and from what I saw on their design plan, this would have been a great wall display!
Group 4 – Cubes
I loved this look! I wish our cube stands where in better condition, or better yet, they had placed the cubes on tables. The old stands take away from their work.
They almost went overboard on this project, by placing cupcakes on top of the cube! Glad they scaled back.
The “Heaven and Hell” theme comes across clearly in the overall display.
This display is a great example of when the store display follows along with the marketing campaign. Every week we receive newspaper fliers in the mail advertising a store’s sales, holidays, hot ticket items, etc….this display would go along perfectly with that. The slogan they choose “on the go” with quick and easy food products, for when you are “on the go”, would go perfectly with an advertising campaign along these same lines. [VONS is a large grocery store chain in Southern California. They are the equivalent to the Safeway chain we have here in Northern California]
Group 6 – Table
Group 6 never disappoints! They do clean, professional looking work every time. What can I say, the display speaks for itself. I like that they added lots of different heights to the table. Very important and visually interesting, as it keeps it from looking flat.
As I mentioned in class, the projects are getting better and better each week. I’m finding less to criticize and more to praise. Keep up the great work and I can’t wait to see what you do next week with our theme of FASHION DESIGNER!
The textbook I use for this class is Visual Merchandising – Window and in-store displays for retail by Tony Morgan. I really like this book as it doesn’t read like the traditional textbook with too much technical jargon. It’s very informative and would make a great addition to the display person’s library whether they are a student or not.
I am happy to report the book has been updated and the second edition is out. Thank you very much to Laurence King Publishing for sending me a copy (one of the few perks of being a professor!).
This book will now become required reading in my class, before it was only on the suggested reading list, but I reference it so much and my students are in line to borrow my class copy, I’ve decided to make it mandatory. The cost is $40 (if you’re wondering) or about $26.00 on Amazon.
Tony teaches visual merchandising at the London College of Fashion and is the head of the visual merchandising department at the Fashion Retail Academy in London. Wow – a whole school devoted just to fashion retail!! I think that’s fantastic and wished one existed on this side of the Atlantic. Most of our fashion schools are devoted to design with a few classes in merchandising and marketing.
Now that the students have gotten their feet wet and know what to expect, I’ve noticed the displays are getting better and more detailed.
Group 1 – Other Cubes – Halloween
The photos do not do this display justice. This was one of my favorites of the day. Group 1 really redeemed themselves after that “ho-hum” window display from last week. This week they pulled out all the stops! Everything in those cubes were handmade and done so well! I couldn’t stop admiring this display, it was so cute. I wish the photos really captured that.
Keep up the good work Group 1!
Group 2 – Wall – New Years Eve
This display is nice, but it didn’t “wow” me. Clever slogan and I like the clock. I get that it’s a New Year’s theme, but I wish they took it further and went a little over the top. It looks unfinished to me.
Group 3 – Cubes – Mardi Gras
This group works well together and it shows in their work. Another nice job! My only pet peeve is how flat the tissue paper looks. I want it to stick up out of the bag and not be pressed down against the wall of the cube. Trim it if that’s the case. These are the little details we visual people need to look out for.
Group 4 – Window – Folsom Street Fair
The Folsom Street Fair is not your traditional holiday, but it is a day a celebration for this community. I allowed my students to do a display that was really sexual in nature, and somewhat controversial, as long as they kept it tasteful; which I think they did. The window turned out great!
Group 5 – Table – New Years Eve
All the elements are there but to me there is something missing that could send this display from nice to WOW! The table is proving to be quite a challenge for this year’s class. The bust form with the shoes and champagne glass look great, the dresses look flat, and I don’t think the chandelier on the table was necessary, although, most of my students liked it. My advice is to display items on tables that are meant for tables, dresses should be hung. Do retailers do it? Yes – but it doesn’t make it right or good!
All in all, I’m happy they continue to do good, neat work!
Group 6 – Shelving – Halloween (Lucid)
It’s all about the details……
Group 6 took our old shelving unit and turned it into an armoire!
One of my students used to work for this brand, and said she could definitely see this display as an endcap for them at a grocery store!
They hand-stenciled the absinthe spoons on the wall paper – now that is attention to detail!
They used those glow sticks that club-goers wear at parties and such, to make the green liquid!
Group 6 always surprises me and makes me wish I had thought of that!
Well students it’s been another great week. I’m looking forward to what you guys come up with for our next theme: FOOD!
For my non-students who read this blog I love your comments and do share them with the class. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and share your insight.
Last week in class began the presentations of group projects. Students have been working on their designs for the past two months and will be presenting their various projects for the next month.
We have six groups and this week’s theme was “Green” (my favorite topic). Students showcased their ideas in a window, wall, table, cubes, and shelving unit.
Group 1 – Wall
Kindle is the product Group 1 chose to feature.
I love how they displayed all the paper content behind the Kindle as a butterfly!
Nice job Group 1!
My critique: the ivy isn’t necessary at the bottom of the display, and the Kindle icon should have been bigger.
Group 2 – Cubes
“Tea” and its many uses is what Group 2 chose to display.
Group 2 did nice job on this display!
This display almost became too fussy and overly embellished, but as they continued to work on it, I’m glad they took away a lot of the flowers and edited themselves.
Group 3 – Window
Reusable bags were their product of choice.
This is a case of not going far enough. The dress they made for the mannequin is fantastic, but the display is too one-dimensional. I would have liked to have seen more flowers spilling out of the bags, more bags around the floor – and at different heights.
Group 4 – Table
Clever idea to showcase “Green Fashion Design Classes”, as their green product!
This display is missing so much – patterns, books, fabrics, color! It’s better to have too much and then have to pull back, than to do too little and look like an unfinished display.
Group 5 – Shelving unit
Group 5 is displaying jewelry made by one of their teammates – Shelby S.
Great Job Group 5!
The feedback they received from me as well as the class, is the background is too dark, making the jewelry difficult to see.
Group 6 – Cubes
I am beyond upset that none of my detail shots turned out as this was an excellent display. Everything you see in the cubes, these girls made!!! I thought they borrowed all the props from our local Origins store, but I was wrong. The work is clean, well-edited, and professional looking.
What are you thoughts, how do you think they did for their first week?