I Do Windows

A Student’s Critique of Store Windows

Posted in Discuss This Display, Mall Field Trip Assignment by Arcadia on April 28, 2011

I’ve been wanting to post this assignment for the longest time, my student is beginning to wonder when am I going to give her paper back!  We were having technical difficulties with the corresponding photos.

Westfield Mall/Union Square Assignment by Syeda L.

Click here for the list of questions the students had to answer.

1.  The window that I found to be the most effective was Barney’s window.  This window was the most effective because it made me stop and pay attention.  I like how all of the garments displayed were in white and that there were these great quotes from the designers placed on the window and pictures of past collections scattered on the floor.

2.  The window that I found to be the least effective was Juicy Couture’s windows.  This window was the least effective because considering that they are right on Market Street, there is absolutely nothing eye-catching about their windows.  Their windows look like they were ill-planned and that there was absolutely no thought put into them.

3.  Barney’s had really cool and creative wall fixtures.  They used wall mounted face out fixtures for their display of Alexander Wang.

4.  Express used color blocking for their men’s collared shirts, as well as horizontal merchandising and product merchandising.  They arranged all of their shirts according to the color wheel; they were all folded horizontally in a wall, and they were all grouped together.

Bath and Body also had examples of product merchandising by grouping a whole bunch of bath soap of the same scent all together and displaying them on a table.

Another good display of horizontal merchandising is Anthropologie.  Anthropologie grouped some dresses all together and some jackets all together and some skirts all together on a wall.

5.  Bloomingdales used vendor displays for their Burberry area.  The vendor displays are all a light wood color mixed with steel that is specific to the mini Burberry shop.

6.  H&M uses POP displays.  Their POP displays are in front of each cash register and are in glass type containers and they contain small items like hair items or jewelry.

7.  The Icing uses a trend area.  The trend area is for St. Patrick’s Day.  It is a small circular wooden rack that has jewelry and other accessories related to St. Patrick’s Day.

8.  Diesel uses printed graphics in their windows.  They have a graphic of a man wearing Diesel merchandise and there are bikes scattered on the floor.

9.  Abercrombie and Fitch creates ambience with both music and scent.  When you walk into any Abercrombie and Fitch store, you are hit immediately with their overwhelming scent and the lighting is super dark and the music is super loud.  It feels like you stepped into a rave or something.

10.  Barney’s is my absolutely favorite store visually.  I love the creativity put into their visuals.  They have a really nice store design, good lighting, clear signage, quirky music for ambience, and really nice fixtures for the merchandise.

(all images via Syeda L.)

Window Shopping

Posted in Just Genius by Arcadia on April 20, 2011

The NY Times has a great little article on various museums that are currently showing fashion exhibits.  Take a look, especially if you are in the area.  I will be heading to the Balenciaga one soon!

The Display Calendar

Posted in Display Calendar, Fashion 49 by Arcadia on April 18, 2011

The last paragraph from the post: What is good display?  Got me thinking about the display calendar and how important it is to the visual merchandisers.

Displays aren’t installed haphazardly, well professional ones aren’t!  Just about everyone follows a display calendar so you know when displays need to be changed according to the season, trend, or sales event.  This is especially true for the window team!

The calendar is an essential tool for the visual merchandiser, it helps you anticipate the upcoming promotions, plan out your process, and make sure things go according to plan.  It’s also a way to communicate the fashion merchandising team, as they will want to make sure merchandise that is to be promoted is in the store at the designated time.

Just as the world of business has a “fiscal year” – and they don’t always start with January – so can a display calendar.  Choose when you want your “year” to start.  Most big retailers with in-house crews use Christmas as the start of their year.  Your calendar doesn’t even have to run the traditional 12-months.  Some retailers even use 18-months to really plan ahead!  I would even advocate for a six to eight month calendar.  Why?

Fashion is a quickly evolving industry.  Sometimes planning too far ahead and feeling as if you are stuck with that plan doesn’t give you much room to adapt to the trends.

When planning your calendar be as creative as you want with it – hey that is what we do – but make sure your team and everyone else who uses it can read and understand it!

  1. Always put your big promotions on there first: major sales, Christmas, Back to School, things you know are traditional and don’t change.
  2. Next schedule your smaller promotions: Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day.
  3. Once you have these on your calendar this allows you to see the weeks you need to fill in with trends, promotions, or new collections set to arrive.
  4. Don’t forget to have a discussion with your fashion merchandising department as they may have special events they want displayed in the windows and store.

Now that you know what promotions and holidays are coming up you can look at your budget, allocate accordingly, and order materials/props well in advance.  Don’t forget to schedule time to remove your old displays as well, this usually doesn’t take all day, but it’s still important to give yourself time in the schedule for it.

I don’t care how big or small your store is, you still need to give yourself a display calendar.  I hear customers say all the time how disappointed they are that certain stores don’t change out their windows often enough!  Keep yourself on a regular schedule and your displays will always be fresh and new!

(image via: lushlee)

Visual Merchandising Student’s “holiday” Theme Displays

Posted in Class Group Projects, Discuss This Display by Arcadia on April 18, 2011

Here are the photos I meant to post last week on the in-class group projects.  Considering what limited resources we have to work with, I’m very impressed with what my students come up with every week.  The theme for this week was “holiday”.  Students were allowed to choose any holiday they wish and interpret it into a display.

The only rules are:

  1. I must be able to identify the theme immediately from looking at the display
  2. I must be able to identify what product/merchandise they are promoting

So how do you think they did?

Group 1

They are displaying books in a children’s store.

Two future visual merchandisers, very happy with their work!

Group 2

Last week we weren’t able to see anything from group 2 as the cubes were temporarily M.I.A., so this is their first showing.  Obviously they chose Easter too, and they are displaying towels.  The bunny artwork is adorable!  I would have like to see more towels displayed on the table.

Group 3 –  This group had the clever idea of doing a story line for Valentine’s Day.  I will admit when I first saw it, I thought their theme was weddings.

The Courtship – There are transparencies in each cube with a love poem on it that pertains to the occasion.

The Engagement

Happily Ever After!

Group 4

This group choose Christmas in April!

Group 5

This group’s holiday is 4th of July and cute H&M sandals.

I love how they displayed the shoes and made all their risers in class!

Good job group 5!

So how do you think they did?

Store Study: BeBe

Posted in Store Study Assignment by Arcadia on April 18, 2011

This week’s store study assignment is by Lisa G.  I’ve featured Lisa’s reviews before, and I do like to post other student’s work, but Lisa does a really great job of analyzing a store from a visual merchandiser’s point of view.

BeBe, San Francisco Westfield Mall

What does the store design tell you about the retailer?

Overall this store’s design doesn’t really tell me that the designer or visual merchandiser cares about the product they are selling. Nothing to me is really appealing about this store. This Bebe store and many others makes me think that very little time goes into creating an experience that one should feel when they walk into a store.

Describe the store’s target customer?

I think the store’s target customer is one that likes to dress a little bit more on the sexier side. As for age range Bebe probably caters to late teens to early to mid 20s.  A lot of the clothing is on the tighter side so I would say their target woman is one who also likes to show off their curves.

Is the merchandise displayed in an accessible manner for the customer?

No, everything about this store is a mess. A lot of the merchandise is displayed on racks. They don’t really have any clothing on shelves or in cases. Their jewelry is hung on a jewelry rolling piece pretty much in the center of the store. They do a lot of color blocking in this store. All the whites are together, peaches, black, etc.

Is it stocked pile or more minimalist?

I would say it is somewhere in the middle. It is definitely not minimalistic but also not stock piled. I would say they have a few sizes of each different piece

Do the fixtures suit the store environment?

They have a table in the store that has a mannequin placed on the top of it and then benches going around the table. On the benches they have jeans draped over the side. This display is not done well at all because the display looks like it was thrown together and the jeans are also touching the floor.

Does the lighting highlight the merchandise?

Yes, they have a lot of lighting in this store but it is almost too bright. I think they need to dim the lighting a little bit because it actually hurts my eyes. I think it probably seems a bit brighter because in the corridor of the Westfield mall it is not that bright and then you walk into this store and the brightness is almost an over kill.

How is color used in the store?

Whenever I think of Bebe I think of colorful tight clothing and as I mentioned above they do a lot of color blocking in the store. Color is definitely shown in their merchandise. Besides using color for their clothing there really isn’t any other color in the store and the walls are very simple, white and plain.

Are the windows pleasing and drawing you into the store?

These window displays are awful and do not draw me into their store. Now that I’ve reviewed a few stores I realize just how unappealing the Bebe stores are to the public. Based upon their window display one knows they are having a sale. Yet, in the window display I think they added way to many mannequins in the window to advertise their sale. However, I do like the use of levels in this display. In their other panel they have six mannequins and then a poster with two models on it all being shown over 3 panels. I really don’t even know where to focus on this window display. I know in class we learned it is always better to have an odd number of mannequins yet in this one there are 6 mannequins and a poster board with two additional models. To me it does not seems like the visual merchandiser spent a lot of time on creating a great window.

If you could make changes in the store what would they be?

Here are my changes:

1.     Window display – Instead of having 6 mannequins and a poster of two models I would have three models gathered together and pointing to a sign that said Sale. The models would be dressed in typical Bebe attire since their goal is to sell their merchandise.

2.     The store itself is so dirty. The bare white walls are not appealing. To add some more color to the store I would paint the wall behind the cash wrap a bright color at least to add some differentiation. I would also hang a very large painting or mirror behind the cash wrap.

3.     Shelving. They should include some shelving in this store and fold some of the clothing instead of having it all on racks or table displays.

4.     In class we learned to put your most expensive and new items up front and then your sale items near the back. Walking into this Bebe store I could not tell what was new or their gold merchandise. I would change the layout of this store and maybe have the cash wrap in a different area. Off to the side instead of right in the middle.

Thanks Lisa for another great assignment!

What is good display?

Posted in Book Reviews by Arcadia on April 11, 2011

[Editor’s Note:  I’ll be gone for two days at a work conference, so posting will be light this week.  I am excited to get up the next set of group project photos once I return.  In the meantime I ask you what is good display?  The Godfather of display Martin M. Pegler answers this in one of his MANY books:]

“A good display is the result of Planning, Coordination, & Co-operation!

A display person must know, in advance, when a particular display will be installed, where it will be installed, and what will be shown and promoted. He or she needs some sort of a schedule (which can be altered if need be) or, at least, a master plan.

The execution of a good display comes from knowing in advance what trends, what colors, and what type of merchandise are scheduled for future display so that some though and preparation can be made for the eventual visual presentation of that new merchandise. It also requires a close working relationship with the retailer, buyer or merchandiser, marketing people, and display manufactures and vendors.

Good displays come from the display persons knowledge of what is available and where, what is in stock or in the warehouse, and what can be borrowed or “begged” from neighbors or institutions in the community. It requires an awareness of what is going on in the community, in the city, in the country, and in the world, and then being able to draw on that awareness to create attention-getting image-building, and merchandise-selling displays.

The display calendar is a well-thought-out schedule that keeps displays and merchandise moving freely in and out of windows and on and off ledges. A change of windows can be set for every 10 days to 2 weeks, but should never be longer than one month.”

Source: Visual Merchandising & Display Fourth Edition (Updated Edition)

Christmas at Chanel, 2010 – image via Moodboard

Visual Merchandising Student’s “green” Theme Displays

Posted in Class Group Projects, Discuss This Display, Fashion 49 by Arcadia on April 6, 2011

Group projects are underway in class and we are off to a great start!  I love this part of the semester when I don’t have to lecture as much and the students get to unleash their creativity.

This week’s theme was “green”.  Their displays had to have an eco-friendly focus.  The students get to choose whatever product they wish to promote.  Here are some photos from this week’s displays.  The only group missing is Group 2, as the display cubes went MIA from our classroom (I’m on the hunt for them now)!

Group 1 had the wall this week:

Two students who are proud of their work!


Group 3 had the window this week:

Group 4 had the table this week:

Group 5 had the shelving unit this week:

So how do you think my students did?  Everyone in class is getting the chance to critique each others work.

Coming Next Week Holiday

I’m on Twitter……finally!

Posted in Uncategorized by Arcadia on April 1, 2011

I’m finally on Twitter.  Since my office hours are so sporadic, someone suggested I get on Twitter so my students in all my classes (I teach in the construction department and engineering as well), can get a hold of me, or at least known where to find me.

What a clever idea this Twitter – don’t know why I didn’t think to use it sooner.  I won’t only be tweeting my whereabouts, I like that I can keep you apprised of other interesting things I see; such as the Balenciaga/Spain installation at the de Young Museum I will be attending soon.  I love it when they bring their fashion exhibitions to town!

Ciao for now…..

Follow Fash49 on Twitter

Tagged with:

FASH 49 updates

Posted in Fashion 49 by Arcadia on April 1, 2011

Tomorrow we return to class – Spring Break is over, went by too fast!

I’m REALLY excited to see what everyone has designed for the start of group projects.  Tomorrow’s theme is “Green”, great way to start since this is the month we celebrate Earth Day.

Mid-term grades have been turned in, some of you will not be happy with your grade!  I’m not a tough teacher, but if you don’t turn in ANY assignments, I have nothing for which to grade you.

See you in class……

%d bloggers like this: