I Do Windows

The History of Visual Merchandising

Posted in Fashion 49, History of Visual Merchandising by Arcadia on February 12, 2010

Years ago it was not uncommon for the store owner to just display their wares on tables in front of the store to lure in customers.  Many still do that today!

Windows were small back then as glass was not a ready-made nor easily available product; that all changed in the 1840s – glass could be mass-produced.  This had a profound effect on the building industry.  We have gone from having small storefront windows:

to this:

Because of this new development, storefronts became important.  The small storefront table has morphed into display work that rivals some Hollywood set designs.  I often walk by stores and have no clue what merchandise they are supposed to be displaying, but have been so impressed with its artwork and design, as seen in this Bloomingdale’s window display:

What they are selling I don’t know, but the time and work that went into this display is quite impressive.

Display has risen into an art form (that sometimes can overshadow the merchandise) that retailers have been known to collaborate with artists to create one of a kind displays.  And everything comes into play – lights, camera, action – as sometimes even real models are used instead of mannequins!!

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  1. Lari said, on November 30, 2011 at 10:09 am

    This is amazing, and it helped me a lot with my work. Congratulations, great text and thoughts on the subject. (:


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