I Do Windows

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!

Anthropologie, a store like no other

Posted in Nonpareil Windows by Arcadia on February 19, 2010

I have given my students a Store Study assignment. They are to visit various establishments and answer questions based on the principles of visual merchandising.  This assignment is to be turned in weekly.  Anthropologie is one of those stores where many of my students have chosen to complete this assignment.  So many, that I have imposed a moratorium on that store!  Only for the sake of this assignment.

But I can understand why so many of my students are drawn to it.  It is beautiful work done well.  I am always inspired by the work of their display artists.  Everything forms a cohesive story: the store design, merchandise, even the catalogs, it’s no wonder they have such a devoted loyal following of design aficionados who love the store just for the store alone.  That is what every retailer wants.

I would encourage you to take a stroll through one of their establishments if you get a chance.  They are a classic example of what you can do with a little money and a lot imagination!

The History of Visual Merchandising – Today

Posted in Fashion 49, History of Visual Merchandising by Arcadia on February 14, 2010

We have come a long way from stock piling a table in front of the store with goods, to having live models posing in windows.  Creativity and innovation continue to push the boundaries in our field.  Here are some things you might see today at a retailer:

  • DJ spinning music or a house band
  • Café or bistro as part of the store
  • Lounge areas for perusing look books and sipping champagne
  • Plasma TVs showing latest catwalk show
  • Mannequins replaced with glossy photographs of supermodels

Improvements in technology and with major fashion houses having unlimited budgets, window dressing has grown into massive productions of display.  You will have a team of craftspeople working in their specific trade to help put it all together:  carpenters, painters, electricians, stylists, florists, maybe an artist or craftsperson with a specialized skill – “it takes a village”, as they say!  And all of these things push the boundaries for visual display.

What most people not in our industry don’t realize is it takes months, and months of planning before a window is installed.  Christmas windows are being planned a year in advance  – I’m not exaggerating! Stores have to know ahead of time when they will be having “Sales” so the proper signage/banners/displays can be in place.  Although this job is a lot about creativity it also takes a lot of organization and planning as well.  It’s great to be a talented decorator, but you will also need to be focused and have good time management skills; because today there is nothing you can’t do in our line of work.  You can go as far as your imagination will take you!

(Store: Holt Renfrew)

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