I Do Windows

The History of Visual Merchandising – Today

Posted in Fashion 49, History of Visual Merchandising by Arcadia on February 14, 2010

We have come a long way from stock piling a table in front of the store with goods, to having live models posing in windows.  Creativity and innovation continue to push the boundaries in our field.  Here are some things you might see today at a retailer:

  • DJ spinning music or a house band
  • Café or bistro as part of the store
  • Lounge areas for perusing look books and sipping champagne
  • Plasma TVs showing latest catwalk show
  • Mannequins replaced with glossy photographs of supermodels

Improvements in technology and with major fashion houses having unlimited budgets, window dressing has grown into massive productions of display.  You will have a team of craftspeople working in their specific trade to help put it all together:  carpenters, painters, electricians, stylists, florists, maybe an artist or craftsperson with a specialized skill – “it takes a village”, as they say!  And all of these things push the boundaries for visual display.

What most people not in our industry don’t realize is it takes months, and months of planning before a window is installed.  Christmas windows are being planned a year in advance  – I’m not exaggerating! Stores have to know ahead of time when they will be having “Sales” so the proper signage/banners/displays can be in place.  Although this job is a lot about creativity it also takes a lot of organization and planning as well.  It’s great to be a talented decorator, but you will also need to be focused and have good time management skills; because today there is nothing you can’t do in our line of work.  You can go as far as your imagination will take you!

(Store: Holt Renfrew)

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