I Do Windows

Design and Display in India!

Posted in Class Group Projects, Discuss This Display by Arcadia on June 17, 2011

This is a real treat!  A while ago I received an email from an instructor in India, who also teaches interior design and visual display. She graciously sent in some pictures of her students as they work on their projects!

The class is run by the Government Polytechnic for Women, it had 13 students who learned various techniques in Open Displays, Window Displays, and Small Scale Exhibitions. Below are two projects the students completed.  They were allowed to choose their own merchandise and plan a theme accordingly.

Here are the girls setting up for their first project.

They chose stuffed animals as their merchandise to highlight for this Princess themed bed!

Cute class photo!

A window treatment in the works

India is well known for their use of vibrant color!!  The theme for this display is Spring and the merchandise is women’s clothing.  Since the girls did not have dress forms, they cleverly dressed themselves as mannequins – love it!

Great job ladies!  You prove that regardless of how limited your resources may be, you can still create eye-catching displays with the use of a little bit of imagination.

Thank You so much to your instructor Aeti Arora Singh for sending in this story.

(all images via Aeti)

Read Your Book Case

Posted in Just Genius, Props by Arcadia on June 13, 2011

I spotted this cool bookcase on Honestly WTF.  It’s by the Italian duo Eva Alessandrini and Roberto Saporiti of Saporiti.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the title of this post is what the bookcase reads!  Cool huh!

My Student Ariana C

Posted in Inspiration by Arcadia on June 13, 2011

Ariana C was a delightful student I had this semester in class!  When I found out she had a blog I knew I had to feature it.  You can check out this pretty girl (she’s a model) at: arianapamela.tumblr.com

Here are some photos I stole from her blog:

(just gorg!)

(what a cool idea)

(her favorite flowers)

(ooooh, I like this too!)

That’s what I love about reading others blogs, it’s like a sneak peek into someone’s diary – Thanks Ariana for sharing!

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Barney’s NY Ken Ferraris talks to Visual Merchandising class

Posted in Interviews, Learn from the Pros by Arcadia on June 13, 2011

“I love my job – love my field.   Visual merchandising is changing due to the internet, our role is even more important because how do you get that person into the store?  Those answers are really important to think about.  How can you WOW them and do bigger than what you’ve done before.” -Ken Ferrrais

[Here are some highlights from class, these are my recaps on the discussion as I am paraphrasing Mr. Ferraris’ responses]

What led you to pursue a career in visual merchandising?

I am a San Francisco native who studied fine art and worked at an art supply store.  I started helping out doing visuals for the store, and building props; eventually I began freelancing for 20-30 stores in SF (various kinds of retailers).  I moved to NYC  without any connections, and landed a job for a kids stores across the street from Barney’s. The visual merchandising manager from FAO Schwartz hired me as a freelancer, that’s where I got my real training.  I then became the Creative Director for FAO Schwartz, then came back to SF to open a store for them here, which is now the location of Barney’s!  I’ve done a lot of work doing store design for the Viacom brands: meeting art directors, costume designers, fashion people, makeup people.  I was also the Display Director for the Discovery Stores, as well as head of retail design for Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

What are the primary responsibilities for your job?

I look at the store from the customer’s perspective.  The windows change about every 5 weeks.  The interior displays change in the front more often than other displays.   I have a staff of 3. We do our floor walk in the morning and maintenance checks. I have management meetings throughout the week, lots of clerical stuff, and I make inventory maps.

What are your sources that you refer to for the development of your projects? What sources do you use for materials and props?

The dollar store! We use materials that are fairly inexpensive and we use them magically!  We reuse a lot of props, but we try not to use them in the same manner.

Do you network with others at your position level within the industry, if so, how do you go about it?

Lots of networking within the Barney’s store, and I’m friendly with display people in other stores.

Do you ever have to work or consult with Fashion Merchandisers or the marketing team on some of your projects? 

We work with the fashion merchandisers a lot in doing the floor changes, depending on the floor of the store.  The managers are responsible for the placement of product.

What are the education or skill requirements for a job in visual merchandising?

You must like working in a store, it’s a very physical job!  You have to be on a ladder, be able to lift stuff, and think on your feet.  You need to research and learn about the brand you are promoting.  Barney’s is a very signage heavy store  – in which a lot is made in-house.

What are some of the positive aspects of your job, in other words what do you enjoy the most?

I love being in a creative job and thinking on my feet everyday.  Every single day I enjoy going into work!  I like working with other people, and I like working in teams.

What are some of the negatives? 

Managing your time and deadlines can be challenging.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to get in this field?

Do what you can to make yourself stand out from the others for the job.  Play up  what you think is appropriate for the interview.  Always present a portfolio!  Do as much research on the company as possible.

Thanks Ken for your time and knowledge!

Polyvore – The virtual moodboard

Posted in Inspiration by Arcadia on June 5, 2011

The beginning of each semester I like to give my students a survey to fill out.  This gives me a chance to ascertain what they hope to get out of the class, as well as explain some of my goals.  I also try to make it an open discussion, so students can begin to share their experiences and ideas around visual merchandising.

As we were discussing ideas for inspiration, the website Polyvore came up.  One student raised their hand and asked what was it?  I in-turn then asked, who else had not heard of Polyvore?  I was kind of shocked to find out about half the class (I had 45 students) had NOT heard of this fun and useful site!

In a nutshell I would explain Polyvore as an online site where you can create your own moodboard virtually.  You cut and paste images you find from the web and create your “sets” as they call them.  You’re only limited by your own creativity.  Here are some sets I liked:


peace&loveee♥ by briellebr0♥ ⚓ ☀ featuring flower jewelry

Olivia Palermo

Olivia Palermo by virna! (B-day june10) featuring silk tops

I rock red

I rock red by ♥Lente♥ featuring string bracelets

I suggest logging on and playing round, but be warned – it can be addicting!

Color Blocking

Posted in Color by Arcadia on June 5, 2011

Looking through Kelly’s blog got me thinking a lot about color.  One of the quickest ways to draw a customer’s eye to your work or into the store is through the use of color.  It’s a known fact that we as humans are attracted to color!  This is a skill I tell my students to take seriously.  Most art schools devote entire classes to just color alone, because the subject is too vast to cover in a day’s lesson plan, but yet the only way to really acquire the skill of being able to coordinate colors is by doing it.  In my opinion this is a skill you never master, you are continually learning and exploring the various uses of playing with colors.

There are a few standards we follow in merchandising, such as we hang clothes from light to dark, we put complimentary colors together, or we’ll stick with one color for a monochromatic look, but for the most part color rules are being broken when designing a display.  I can not encourage you enough to study up on this topic, not only in books, but by observing the world around you!

(image via: latest fashion trends)

(image via: We ♥ it)

(image via: Mixed Plate)

(image via: National Geographic)

(I’ve had this image in my computer for some time, I forgot where I found it)


Blog Love: Kelly Wearstler’s My Vibe My Life

Posted in Inspiration, Just Genius by Arcadia on June 5, 2011

I haven’t done a Blog Love post in a long while.  Here’s one I hope you will find time to visit and peruse:  Kelly Wearstler’s – My Vibe My Life.  It’s no secret to anyone who knows me how obsessed I am with Kelly’s work (she is an amazing interior designer).  I own all of her books which I reference often and I think she is a true maverick in the world of design.  My heart almost stopped when I found out she was coming out with her own Ready-to-wear clothing line!!

Truth be told I could never “live” in a Kelly designed room, it really  is TOO much going on (the complete opposite of what I’m always telling my students), but you just gotta appreciate her love of bold color, graphics, and statement pieces.  You are inspired everywhere you look!

(Hillcrest Estate)

(Doheny Estate)

All photos via KellyWearstler, Inc. and MyVibeMyLife

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