I Do Windows

[FASH 54A] Book Review: Style Yourself

Posted in Book Reviews, Fashion 54A by Arcadia on September 6, 2012

Two weeks ago in class I lectured on fashion research and documenting your ideas with mood boards.  The main point of the lecture was getting you to recognize how important it is for you to be able to speak with a fashion vocabulary. Being a stylist comes with a lot of assumptions, the big one being, you know your stuff about fashion!!!  Most of us do, as we have been obsessing over fashion magazines since we first learned to read, for me it was getting my dad to get me a subscription to the magazine Young Miss (YM) when I was only nine years old!

I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to learn the names and meanings of the parts of a garment.  If your boss tells you to pull blouses with portrait necklines or look for shirts with french cuffs, do you know what she’s talking about?  If not, you need to learn.  Which is why I’m recommending the book Style Yourself.

This book is really not that new, it was published over a year ago, and I thought it was a how-to book for teenage girls on dressing.  The models and stories are all on fashion bloggers.  I didn’t pay this book any attention when it was first released.  A few weeks ago it ended up in my mailbox as a gift.  I finally sat down this weekend and read it.  I use the word “read” loosely, as their isn’t much reading because there are so many pictures.  Having lots of pictures isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually a plus for a book like this, especially since we fashion folk are very visual.

This book pleasantly surprised me.  It is, as I first thought, a how-to for the digital generation, BUT the break down of various parts of a garment make this book a great reference for those who don’t have a merchandising or fashion design background.  There are loads of pictures showing you the name and illustration of everything from tops to bottoms, to accessories.  The bloggers in the book provide inspiration for how they style these various items.

When I finally put this book down I knew I had to recommend it to my students in class who wish to be stylists or work in fashion, but have told me they don’t know much about it.  This is a good jump-start, as I’m sure you’ll realize you know more than you think once you start reading it.




(all images via Rachel Phipps)

Visual Merchandising by Tony Morgan (2nd Edition)

Posted in Book Reviews by Arcadia on April 12, 2012

The textbook I use for this class is Visual Merchandising – Window and in-store displays for retail by Tony Morgan.  I really like this book as it doesn’t read like the traditional textbook with too much technical jargon.  It’s very informative and would make a great addition to the display person’s library whether they are a student or not.

I am happy to report the book has been updated and the second edition is out.  Thank you very much to Laurence King Publishing for sending me a copy (one of the few perks of being a professor!).

This book will now become required reading in my class, before it was only on the suggested reading list, but I reference it so much and my students are in line to borrow my class copy, I’ve decided to make it mandatory.  The cost is $40 (if you’re wondering) or about $26.00 on Amazon.

Tony teaches visual merchandising at the London College of Fashion and is the head of the visual merchandising department at the Fashion Retail Academy in London.  Wow – a whole school devoted just to fashion retail!! I think that’s fantastic and wished one existed on this side of the Atlantic.  Most of our fashion schools are devoted to design with a few classes in merchandising and marketing.

Happy Reading!

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

Book Review: Silent Selling

Posted in Book Reviews by Arcadia on February 24, 2011

This past semester I’ve been supplementing my lesson plans with information from the textbook Silent Selling: Best Practices and Effective Strategies in Visual Merchandising, by Judith Bell and Kate Ternus.  I do not make textbooks a requirement for the class because students have to spend money on their group projects, but I would like to highly recommend this book.

There is a lot of information in these 15 chapters:

  1. Creative Thinking:  “Getting out of the Box”
  2. What is Visual Merchandising?
  3. Core Design Strategies
  4. Layout and Fixtures for Fashion Apparel
  5. Fashion Apparel Wall Setups
  6. Fashion Apparel and Accessory Coordination
  7. Home Fashion Presentation
  8. Signing
  9. Lighting
  10. Grocery and Food Service Stores
  11. Nontraditional Retailing
  12. The Magic of the Display Window
  13. Mannequins and Mannequins Alternatives
  14. Building a Visual Merchandising Department
  15. Visual Merchandising Careers

This book teaches you everything about our industry as a whole, while others tend to focus only on “doing windows”.  If you are some interested in studying up on merchandising a store and not just making pretty displays, then as a teacher I recommend you get this textbook; and for the teachers I recommend you incorporate some of their lesson plans into your own curriculum.

Take your time going through it, as you can get overwhelmed with the amount of information they’ve put into it.  Happy reading!


Window Display – New Visual Merchandising

Posted in Book Reviews, Inspiration, Nonpareil Windows, Window Lessons by Arcadia on October 31, 2010

Well class, it looks like there will be a new “required reading” book.  Tony Morgan has published a fantastic new book all on Window Display!  But don’t fret yet – this book is a big picture book, it belongs on your coffee table with all the other fashion books.

The photos are beyond inspiring and cleverly broken up into genres:

  • Theatre
  • Seasonal
  • Quirky
  • Trends

Every trimmer should have this book on their work shelf for reference.  This book doesn’t go into deep detail on the “how-to”

, for that you should read Tony’s other book, which I use as the textbook for this class – Visual Merchandising – Window and In Store Display for Retail.

This book is a great reminder of why I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my work so much.  Thanks Tony!

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How To Prepare For A Career In Fashion

Posted in Book Reviews by Arcadia on October 11, 2010

For those of you studying fashion in the UK there is a new book out to give you some advice on what it takes in the various positions from Buyer, Designer, Journalist, Stylist, and of course our favorite job Visual Merchandiser!

Each chapter includes job profiles, information on education and work experience, interviews, practical tips, and Q&A sections with top industry insiders from companies such as Top Shop, ASOS, River Island, Liberty, and Lulu Guinness, all giving their expert advice on how readers can begin to prepare for their chosen career.

“Fashion is seen as an exciting career choice, but the majority of students have no idea of how to
break into the industry, what their options are beyond fashion designer, or what they need to study to
prepare for these jobs. We were inundated with requests for information at Clothes Show last year –
from both students and parents – so I decided to write the book. The aim is to create an easy to
understand, highly visual and accessible publication, presented in an informal ‘magazine’ style that
will appeal to younger readers”, says fashion careers specialist and author Stephanie Finnan.

More information on Stephanie and her book can be found here.


Book Review: 100 Displays Under $100

Posted in Book Reviews by Arcadia on April 18, 2010

Just looking at the title I wonder, “can it really be done?”  But if you peruse the credentials of author Linda Cahan – a former Visual Merchandising Manager for many department stores, and Instructor of VM at the elite Parsons School of Design –  you know the answer is Yes!

If you are a student or store owner you need to have this book in your library.  So often we think the larger the budget the better the display.  This is not always the case.  Money can’t buy creativity and inspiration!  The book may be purchased through her in PDF format or print.

Visual Merchandising by Tony Morgan

Posted in Book Reviews, Fashion 49 by Arcadia on February 5, 2010

Class as you are well aware, I am using Tony Morgan’s book Visual Merchandising, Window and in-store display for retail, as the guide from for my lesson plans.  I do not require you to buy it, but I highly recommend this book for its thorough explanation of visual terms and standard practices.  It’s also the best way to catch up in class if you are ever absent.

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