I Do Windows

What is visual merchandising?

Posted in Q and A by Arcadia on February 13, 2012

Has anyone ever asked you what you do as a visual merchandiser and you’ve tried to explain it’s a job in fashion, yet not exactly!  I found the cartoon below to be reminiscent of many a conversations I have had :)!

A DIY for Valentine’s Day

Posted in Fashion Styling by Arcadia on February 13, 2012

Tomorrow is the day we celebrate love, and I love DIY projects!  The project below has nothing to do with visual merchandising, but it’s so cute and on trend, that I wanted to share it with you, and in memory of one of my favorite singers who just passed away – Whitney Houston.

“The greatest love of all is easy to achieve. Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all”. Whitney said it best… but so did Oscar! Mr. de la Renta’s go-to quotes were etched into resin bangles that boasted his words and beliefs.

This Valentine’s Day, DIY your heart out, literally. It’s time to stop wearing your heart on your sleeve and start sporting it ‘round your wrist… with a touch of repetition. Mark my words, by marking yours with a graffiti style love note accessory. P.S. – Remember more is more, so scribble ‘em, stack ‘em and love ‘em lots!

To create: Apply two smooth coats of spray paint to wooden bangles. Be sure to wait until paint is completely dry before picking up. Use Sharpie Paint pens to scribble your love notes and quotes all around the bracelet. For an extra detail, inscribe the inside as well. Get creative with your color combinations and messages. Create a bevy of bangles for yourself and friends. What better way to say “I will always love you”, than with a wristed development that’s to DIY for!

(all images and instructions via: PS I made this)

Your Inspiration File

Posted in Fashion 49, Inspiration by Arcadia on February 13, 2012

This week the students had an inspiration assignment.  The purpose of the assignment was to mark the beginnings of an inspiration file.  Some of us catalog items in actual files as Kaitlin K, showed me in class; or in notebooks they’ve been collecting since their teens, as Anthropologie intern Brianna L, showed me – and many of us just pull tearsheets from magazines and pin-up on an inspiration board!

Whatever your method, keeping an inspiration file is tantamount to being a good display artist.  Below is a brief write-up from Shelby S., a veteran window dresser, on what inspires her:

I like the way the frames are displayed here—I’ve seen this technique before & I love the randomness and uniqueness that is involved—never boring.  For our class wall display project, music is the theme, so maybe a different picture could be featured in each frame…?

I love the 3D effect that origami has – so simple yet chic at the same time, an art that isn’t really appreciated or used enough over here in the states.  This could be used as a quick and easy way to bring life and shape to a display.

I thought this was a really cool display & we also just so happen to have holiday as our theme for when we use the table for our class project.  I like how consistent and representative the theme of Halloween was used here—it’s scary yet inviting at the same time and immediately draws you in.

I’ve done a window display using books before, where we folded/rolled the pages to make these cool shapes out of the books—and I like how they used the same effect with magazines—I have a ton of magazines that could use a purpose rather than just collecting dust in piles around the house… but I also love their sense of balance with it, and how they completely created this whole world with these magazines—and its GREEN!

I was inspired by these images simply based on the fact that for our GREEN theme-class project, we are required to use the shelving unit – and it only makes sense to use some sort of product that actually belongs on a shelf that also requires some sort of green set up to represent what it stands for.

Thanks Shelby S. for this write-up!


Where do you look for inspiration, please share your ideas!


An Easy Inspiration Wall

Posted in Inspiration, Props by Arcadia on February 2, 2012

Last week I gave out an “inspiration file” assignment.  Students are tasked with creating a scrapbook or collage of tearsheets that they find inspirational and could be turned into a display.

Creating collages is one of my most favorite things to do and I swear I could waste countless hours making them!  When I was younger I used to wall paper my bedroom with fashion tearsheets.  My father hated it because the thumbtacks left holes in the walls, and the tape pulled the paint off!  Now that I’m older with a house to care for myself – I see what he means.

This is why I like the idea below.  You can change out your photos as often as you like without ruining your walls:

(image and idea found at a pair & a spare)

Store Study: Industry Denim

Posted in Store Study Assignment by Arcadia on February 2, 2012

A store analysis by Cynthia T.


What does the store design tell you about the retailer?

This is a large store, with two floors.  The design is casual and contemporary and the primary material is wood.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in the store was that they carry a lot of Denim, so my impression about the retailer was: selling casual clothing.

Describe the store’s target customer.

Because the clothes are definitely casual and rather expensive; I think the target customers are men and women in the following age group: late 20’s to early 40’s.

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

Yes, the merchandise is displayed in a very accessible manner –  either hanging from racks or folded over tables – within an easy height (nothing is hanging way up high in the ceiling).

Is it stocked-piled or minimalist?

Everything is piled, and every space is filled with something, so it looks highly stocked.

Do the fixtures suit the store’s environment?

They do fit.  The large windows and high ceilings give the store a loft-apartment feeling, and the type of furniture they chose to fill out the space makes it look cozy and casual.

Is the ambiance fitting for the store’s image?

Yes, the ambiance fits the store’s image.  The music, the lights, and the vintage decorations are in sync with the casual, funky San Francisco style.

Does the lighting highlight the merchandise?

Yes, the lighting highlights the merchandise.  All areas are highly lit and no merchandise is left in the dark.

How is color used in the store?

The main color is oak wood, and the decoration is rather rustic looking with a warm palette. The warm tones make the store look neat and inviting.

Are the windows pleasing and drawing you into the store?

The windows look rather messy and condensed with merchandise.  I didn’t find them pleasing but they made me curious about what they carry in the store.

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

I would put fun signs throughout the store to help customers identify what is men’s and what is women’s.


Thanks Cindy for a great assignment and photos!



Group Projects for Spring 2012

Posted in Class Group Projects by Arcadia on February 2, 2012

[Hello Class – I have updated the syllabus on this site for those students who are in my class.  You were given a hand-out at school but if for any reason you lose it, you can find all of the same information on this site.  Click on Class Syllabus under The Categories.]




Group Projects will be assigned this coming Saturday.  We have six groups.

The themes are:

  • Pop Culture
  • Fashion Designer
  • Movie
  • Environment
  • Holiday
  • Music or Sports (we need to decide)


The schedule is as follows:

March 31 – #1 wall, #2 big cubes, #3 window, #4 table, #5 shelving, #6 other cubes   (Environment)

April 7 – #1 other cubes, #2 wall, #3 big cubes, #4 window, #5 table, #6 shelving        (Holiday)

April 14 – #1 shelving, #2 other cubes, #3 wall, #4 big cubes, #5 window, #6 table       (Movie)

April 21 – #1 table, #2 shelving, #3 other cubes, #4 wall, #5 big cubes, #6 window      (Fashion Designer)

April 28 – #1 window, #2 table, #3 shelving, #4 other cubes, #5 wall, #6 big cubes      (Sports/Music)

May 5 – #1 big cubes, #2 window, #3 table, #4 shelving, #5 other cubes, #6 wall         (Pop Culture)

The number corresponds with what group you are in and what surface you will be presenting for that day.


See you Saturday!

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