I’m in the middle of finals week for my classes, but I’m hoping to gather my notes and post the interviews of Ken Ferraris – Visual Manager of Barney’s NY (San Francisco location) and Terry Guiterrez, Visual Merchandiser of Macy’s (San Francisco location).
They were both kind enough to come to my class and speak to my students on the industry and what it takes to make it as a successful display person.
Here’s a tidbit: The number one pressing question everyone writes in and asks, as well as all my students:
“Is a portfolio of past work necessary in a job interview?” The unanimous answer was YES!!!!!!
Dear readers, below is a question sent to me from a fellow visual merchandiser, with a tricky situation. I decided to post it here while I ponder my own response. Please post your comments or advice on how a fellow reader can solve her dilemma. Thanks!
I have recently moved to the southern hemisphere AND very recently landed my first VM role having previously been a buyer for a department store chain in London. I have been reading your blog for the last few weeks and have found it really useful in helping to prepare me for my new role.
One thing that’s been on my mind since starting my new career (and new life) in New Zealand is Christmas! It’s in the middle of Summer here and I just can’t think how to portray strong Christmas windows and in store display when everything that I would normally connect with Christmas (snow flakes and icicles, cosying up by roaring log fires, wrapping up warm in coats and gloves and scarves) won’t be relevant here. Do you have any tips or suggestions on pulling together strong themes and display for Christmas in a hot climate?
I will say - the first thing that comes to mind is does it have to be a “wintry” Christmas? Why not do “fun in the sun” as a Christmas theme. I know many folks who travel to the islands, mainly Hawaii during Christmas, trying to escape the cold. I need to think about this some more, but I and Emily would love to hear your suggestions.
Art and fashion definitely go hand in hand. I think we can all agree that’s pretty much what we do as visual merchandisers! Below is some information sent to me of a local fashion and art showing of one of our local design schools. If you are in the Bay Area I hope you will support these students and the local talent!
The Bachelor of Science degree students of the Fashion Marketing & Management program of The Art Institute of California, A College of Argosy University, Sunnyvale are presenting “Glory Days” on Saturday, June 9, 2012. This is the first fashion-related show for the Institute since the Sunnyvale location began accepting creative talent in 2008.
“Glory Days” is a production of The “Freedom” Fashion Show & Art Event, which debuts what will become an annual event of fashion, art, and design; revolving around the ideas and images of “freedom”. The event is taking place at 1120 Kifer Road, Sunnyvale, the location of The Art Institute of California, A College of Argosy University, with an agenda that will show case the artistic works of the various programs offered through the creative arts institution.
Doors will open at 11am, beginning with a reception and gallery event of open and juried submissions of art and design work by current and alumni students. In addition, tours of the facilities and information about the institutions programs will be offered. This will be followed by a student produced fashion show at 1pm, which will feature a variety of looks focused on the use of America’s most-iconic, fashion staple – denim.
Viewing of the gallery submissions will be open until 3pm.
Thanks Woody Anthony for sending this in!
Here are the displays for the Music theme week:
Group 1 – Window
Clever idea to cut the musical note out, and I like the styling of the mannequin. Like your classmates had mentioned, I too had wished the musical note had been constructed out of a different paper, something more colorful.
Group 2 – Table
Great job group 2! I could see this display at the MAC makeup counter, and the colors you chose are perfectly on trend!
Group 3 – Shelving
You’re on the right track with some of the iconic images you used for Jimi Hendrix. The guitar is great, but the peace fabric is a little much. Nonetheless this display would work in a store that sells vintage records, and it is truly representational of the artist.
Group 4 – Other Cubes
This was one of my favorite displays of the day. I loved how you took the cubes and made them into a an old school boombox, yet you have a modern-day music player – genius! My only critique is to nix the pipe cleaner musical notes.
Group 5 – Wall
The meet and greet display was fun, and who knew 20-somethings were such Beatles fans! I enjoyed looking at the collage with the drum in the middle. Great job!
Group 6 – Cubes
As simple as this might look, it took a lot of time to assemble. You can tell Lady Gaga was just an inspiration for this display and not a direct representation of her. Shame the black contact paper didn’t cooperate, but regardless it is still an elegant display.
The final projects coming up are Pop Culture!
One of the very first skills I quickly acquired, when I joined my first big visual team was flower arranging. Regardless of who you were or what department you oversaw, everyone and I mean everyone on our team knew how to arrange flowers!
It’s kind of like your go-to prop when you need something quick and pretty. Stick a vase of flowers next to a purse, shoes, bustform, on a table, etc….you are good to go. If you don’t know how to do quick and simple arrangements, pick a book and a bunch, and start practicing. I promise you it’s a skill that will come in handy over and over again.
I have also found that my arranging skills have helped me when arranging props. They use some of the same principles, when it comes to layering items, the pyramid (triangle) shape, how to play with height, and experimenting with various colors. You’ll find your flower arranging skills to be transferable to other things – which is a huge bonus.
Here’s a simple video to help get you started.
[images via Sterling Style/tumblr]
My student Chelsea W. sent me these photos last week of her work, and I’ve been remiss in getting them up here. She currently works at Bloomingdale’s and is one of my most creative and hardest working students. I love her attention to detail and how meticulous she is in her work.
She told me at the beginning of the semester, that had it not been for this blog, she would not have known such a class existed! I am not surprised, that throughout the course of this semester, she was able to land a job with Bloomies on their visual team. No one deserved it more!
Her work speaks for itself:
Working in the studio: covering her mannequins with Astroturf .
A job well done – these windows can be seen from the Mall entrance at Westfield!
Keep up the great work Chelsea!
Here’s a wonderful article from the San Francisco Chronicle, interviewing all the ladies who run the fashion departments at San Francisco’s top design schools. My boss Diane Green is in the article as well! The article not only focuses on what the schools offer, but I like that Sylvia Rubin asked about the influence social media and fashion reality TV is having on our industry.
Diane Green, CCSF Department Chair of Fashion
[images via SF Gate/Russell Yip]
This coming Saturday we will have two guest speakers from the world of visual merchandising:
Ken Ferraris (Visual Manager from Barney’s NY). Ken has been a wonderful contributor to our class in the past and I’m so happy he continues to support our program.
Terry Gut (Visual Merchandiser from Macy’s). This will be Terry’s first time joining us.
They will be sharing their expertise on what it takes to make it in this business. I have questions to ask them. I’ve told my students to bring their questions, and dear readers if YOU have any questions please send them to me and I will be sure to ask the panel.
Three questions I get asked daily are:
- How do you break into this industry?
- Is a portfolio of work necessary at an interview?
- Is previous experience necessary?
Trust me, I will be sure to present these questions to our speakers! Let me know if you have any others. I will try to pick the ones that I think have the broadest appeal or get asked the most.
Students don’t be late, our panel begins at 10:30 am on Saturday.
See you then!
These past two weeks I’ve been out of the office at job sites or student interviews for my summer school program in construction. Suffice it to say I am way behind on my work – namely getting all your wonderful worked posted here!
Theme for the week these projects were completed is Fashion Designer.
Group 1 – Table (Tiffany’s)
There was a lot of discussion amongst this group on whether or not this display needed flowers. What do you think?
Group 2 – Shelving (Betsey Johnson)
It does look like something you would see in a Betsey Johnson store!
Group 3 – Other Cubes (Tiffany’s)
The photo doesn’t capture how light and delicate this display looked. It was really well done.
Group 4 – Wall (Jean Paul Gaultier)
The elements are there, just not the execution. I needed bigger and bolder.
Group 5 – Cubes (Marc Jacobs)
They did a trio of cubes. I liked this one the best. It was great that a student hand-painted the Marc Jacobs wrapping paper to match the inside lining of the bag!
Group 6 – Window (Marc Jacobs)
I have very little to criticize and so much to praise. Great job students!