I Do Windows

The Field Trip

Posted in Discuss This Display, Learn from the Pros, Mall Field Trip Assignment by Arcadia on March 9, 2012

As a class we recently went on a field trip to the Westfield Mall located right next door to our campus.  Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom are the anchor stores and various retail brands are throughout the mall.  The students were given a set of questions to answer, based on their findings at the mall.  It was kind of a scavenger hunt!  I thought this would be a fun way to get out of the classroom for a day and see actual visual techniques “in action”.  Below are some of their findings:

1. Choose one window you believe to be the most effective.  Explain why.

The Louis Vuitton display outside of the mall entrance of Bloomingdale’s. Its simply eye-catching, and aptly illustrates that an LV bag is the cherry on top of life’s sweetest dessert. -Cindy L.

2.  Choose one window you believe to be the least effective.  Explain why.

This window is not effective because the colors in the background are too distracting, and they overshadow the product. The space in the window is not well used; they could have filled it with merchandise in a more pleasing way. The layout chosen to display the books is boring and expected. -Cynthia T.

The window that I found to be least effective was the MANGO window. Coming up from the escalator, the first thing that I noticed was the corner window cut straight through the mannequins body and face.  The colors were very drab and come to think of it, there wasn’t any color at all.  However, walking across the front of the store, you can clearly see the colors in the store are a lot brighter than from front, plain view. Colors like peach, tangerine, and hot pinks pop through the horrible displays blocking the windows. – Brandi M.

3. Name a store that featured Color Blocking – Horizontal Merchandising – Product Merchandising

J.Crew featured all three – Brandi M.

 

4.  Name a store that features a “trend area”.

Bloomingdale’s makes use of trend areas to advertise what is new in the store.  Like an editorial in a magazine, trend areas showcase the season’s must haves. -Cynthia T.

5. Name a store that uses printed graphics.

I found this one myself.  It’s Bath and Body.  Printed graphics are a cheap and easy way to decorate your windows.

Students also were asked to name a store that creates ambience with music or scent.  Hands down the clear winners were Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister.  If you live in the US, all you have to do is just walk by one of these stores, you don’t even have to go in,  and you can smell that strong perfume wafting out!  I hear from my students who have worked there that customers complain all the time, but for some odd reason they won’t change their rule on spraying the store every 30 minutes!

These are some of the techniques I have been lecturing about in class:

  • Color Blocking
  • Horizontal/Vertical/Product Merchandising
  •  Trend Areas
  • POP (point-of-purchase)
  • Store Ambience

Feel free to ask questions if you need more assistance…..see you in class!

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.)

Juicy Couture’s bad window displays

Posted in Mall Field Trip Assignment, Retail News by Arcadia on March 10, 2011

Recently the class took a “field trip” to the Westfield Mall – San Francisco Centre, which is located right behind the campus.  They had a number of questions to answers regarding retailers and their displays.  As I’m sitting here correcting this assignment, I’m noticing a trend I’ve seen before.  This trend is so incessant with my students every semester, that I actually  feel compelled to write about it, in hopes that the retailer will get a clue and do something!

Juicy Couture has bad, dirty windows! When I say windows, of course I mean their displays.

Whenever I pose the question to my students to go out and find the retailer with the least inspiring, or least effective windows, no doubt, I will get a handful of responses that all mention Juicy Couture!!!

Some of the responses I get are:  “ill-planned”, “no wow factor”, “they looked dirty”, “not eye-catching”, “they need to put some thought into their displays”.  These are typically the usual responses I get for fast-fashion retailer, Forever 21, not what I would expect from the high-end, Juicy Couture brand.

As much as it pains me to admit this, I have to agree with my students.  Whenever I walk by the Juicy windows here at the SF Centre I do think, “Gosh they look dirty”.  Since they are storefront windows on the street and not “in the mall”, I don’t know if this is the responsibility of the retailer or the mall management.

I will also give Juicy the benefit of the doubt and assume maybe these ugly windows are just a San Francisco problem and not an issue with their other stores.  Let’s hope!

I know Juicy is capable of some really over-stylized, über glamorous windows.  It’s what the company was founded on; so don’t get me wrong, I still adore the brand, but Juicy has lost a little of its cache since Pamela and Gela sold it to Liz Claiborne.  I do see on their website they are looking for a Visual Manager (look under Store Design), perhaps this explains everything!  Hey Juicy give me a call if you need help, I can’t work full-time as I already run my own firm, but I would love to help you make those windows more fun – which is what Juicy is supposed to be about!

The Westfield Mall field trip

Posted in Fashion 49, Mall Field Trip Assignment by Arcadia on February 24, 2011

This Saturday class will be “held” in the mall right next door to us, I can’t think of a better way to actually see what you learn in class!

You have 10 questions to answer.  This typed assignment is due next week in class, NO EXCEPTIONS! I will not be accepting late submissions.  There will be no Store Study Assignment due this week.  If you are absent from class you must find a way to complete the assignment on your own.

Westfield Mall Field Trip:

  1. Choose one window that you believe to be the most effective.  Explain in detail why?
  2. Choose one windows that you believe to be the least effective.  Explain in detail why?
  3. Name one store that had wall fixtures and give a description.
  4. Name a store that featured each of these merchandising techniques (give a description): Color Blocking, Horizontal Merchandising, Product Merchandising
  5. Name a store that uses vendor fixtures, please describe.
  6. Name a store that uses POP displays, please describe.
  7. Name a store that features a “trend area”, please describe.
  8. Name a store that uses printed graphics, please describe.
  9. Name a store that creates ambience with music or scent.
  10. Choose one store that YOU feel embodies all the principles of visual merchandising (e.g. store design, ambience, good layout, exciting displays, good lighting, clear signage, appropriate fixtures, neat and clean).

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