I Do Windows

Group Projects – Fashion Designer Week

Posted in Class Group Projects, Discuss This Display by Arcadia on May 31, 2011

I’m finally able to get the photos up from Fashion Designer week for group projects.  Each group was allowed to choose any fashion designer they wished as inspiration for their display.  Here’s how they did:

Group 1 – Burberry (window)

(I apologize for the flash, I’m not really the best photog!)  This window was a class favorite

Group 2 – Colleen Atwood (table)

This group chose Colleen Atwood as their designer of choice. If you don’t know, she is a costume designer, most notably for the Alice in Wonderland movie, as well as others, in which the students noted with place cards on the table.

Group 3 – Chanel (shelving)

This was executed so well – the photo doesn’t do it justice!

Group 4 – Chanel (wall)

Another homage to the Grand Dame, that was well done!

Group 5  – Betsey Johnson (cube)

A Betsey Johnson look for the girl-on-the-go!

My favorite for this week was the wall display – considering they made all the props themselves, they did a superb job!


How do you think my students did?

Visual merchandising student’s “Movie” theme displays

Posted in Class Group Projects by Arcadia on May 4, 2011

As the group projects, continue here are the photos from the students displays with Movie as the theme.  As usual the students were allowed to choose their own “movie” as inspiration and their own product to promote.

Group 1 – Table Display

The movie they chose was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Group 2 – Shelving Display

They chose Sixteen Candles

Group 3 – Wall Display

I think we can all guess what movie they chose!

Group 4 – Cubes

No surprise here either on what they used for inspiration!

Group 5 – Window Display

Alice in Wonderland!

So what do you think?  How did they do this week?

Store Study: BeBe

Posted in Store Study Assignment by Arcadia on April 18, 2011

This week’s store study assignment is by Lisa G.  I’ve featured Lisa’s reviews before, and I do like to post other student’s work, but Lisa does a really great job of analyzing a store from a visual merchandiser’s point of view.

BeBe, San Francisco Westfield Mall

What does the store design tell you about the retailer?

Overall this store’s design doesn’t really tell me that the designer or visual merchandiser cares about the product they are selling. Nothing to me is really appealing about this store. This Bebe store and many others makes me think that very little time goes into creating an experience that one should feel when they walk into a store.

Describe the store’s target customer?

I think the store’s target customer is one that likes to dress a little bit more on the sexier side. As for age range Bebe probably caters to late teens to early to mid 20s.  A lot of the clothing is on the tighter side so I would say their target woman is one who also likes to show off their curves.

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

No, everything about this store is a mess. A lot of the merchandise is displayed on racks. They don’t really have any clothing on shelves or in cases. Their jewelry is hung on a jewelry rolling piece pretty much in the center of the store. They do a lot of color blocking in this store. All the whites are together, peaches, black, etc.

Is it stocked pile or more minimalist?

I would say it is somewhere in the middle. It is definitely not minimalistic but also not stock piled. I would say they have a few sizes of each different piece

Do the fixtures suit the store environment?

They have a table in the store that has a mannequin placed on the top of it and then benches going around the table. On the benches they have jeans draped over the side. This display is not done well at all because the display looks like it was thrown together and the jeans are also touching the floor.

Does the lighting highlight the merchandise?

Yes, they have a lot of lighting in this store but it is almost too bright. I think they need to dim the lighting a little bit because it actually hurts my eyes. I think it probably seems a bit brighter because in the corridor of the Westfield mall it is not that bright and then you walk into this store and the brightness is almost an over kill.

How is color used in the store?

Whenever I think of Bebe I think of colorful tight clothing and as I mentioned above they do a lot of color blocking in the store. Color is definitely shown in their merchandise. Besides using color for their clothing there really isn’t any other color in the store and the walls are very simple, white and plain.

Are the windows pleasing and drawing you into the store?

These window displays are awful and do not draw me into their store. Now that I’ve reviewed a few stores I realize just how unappealing the Bebe stores are to the public. Based upon their window display one knows they are having a sale. Yet, in the window display I think they added way to many mannequins in the window to advertise their sale. However, I do like the use of levels in this display. In their other panel they have six mannequins and then a poster with two models on it all being shown over 3 panels. I really don’t even know where to focus on this window display. I know in class we learned it is always better to have an odd number of mannequins yet in this one there are 6 mannequins and a poster board with two additional models. To me it does not seems like the visual merchandiser spent a lot of time on creating a great window.

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

Here are my changes:

1.     Window display – Instead of having 6 mannequins and a poster of two models I would have three models gathered together and pointing to a sign that said Sale. The models would be dressed in typical Bebe attire since their goal is to sell their merchandise.

2.     The store itself is so dirty. The bare white walls are not appealing. To add some more color to the store I would paint the wall behind the cash wrap a bright color at least to add some differentiation. I would also hang a very large painting or mirror behind the cash wrap.

3.     Shelving. They should include some shelving in this store and fold some of the clothing instead of having it all on racks or table displays.

4.     In class we learned to put your most expensive and new items up front and then your sale items near the back. Walking into this Bebe store I could not tell what was new or their gold merchandise. I would change the layout of this store and maybe have the cash wrap in a different area. Off to the side instead of right in the middle.

Thanks Lisa for another great assignment!

Visual Merchandising contest with students and ALU!

Posted in Discuss This Display, Inspiration, Nonpareil Windows by Arcadia on March 16, 2011

A selection of students from JAK Akademie for Fashion Design in Hamburg, are in a visual merchandising contest.  Students were asked to create 10 different window displays based on a theme they are given for that day.  They are working with merchandising fixtures provided by ALU.

ALU is an international company which manufactures retail fixtures like the Autopole, the Oyster, and the Ribbon (such creative names); plus a whole lot more!


What’s an Autopole? I remember back in 1992, when I was doing visuals for Macy’s, my boss came to me and said we are now going to be using these poles throughout the store for merchandise, as well as signage.  Autopoles are based on what photographers use.  An Autopole is an extremely lightweight vertical expansion system.  It only takes one person to assemble it!  It can offer you a 360° display range thanks to the “super clamps” or “Autopole Adapters” you can use.  I really loved how easy and accessible the Autopole made everything!

[Caution: I do not recommend the Autopole for pole dancing!]





The themes the students were given were:

  • Service
  • Denim Apparel
  • Cosmetics
  • Apparel
  • Electronics

Here are a few photos of the student’s window displays:

Give and Take

Shaped Stiff Jeans


Against Gravity

Cable Tangled, Cable Plants

How do you think they did?  You can click here to see the students actually working on their displays.

You can go online and vote for your favorite.  You have until March 31st:   http://www.facebook.com/ALUItaly

The winner will be awarded an internship with ALU.  I personally like Cable Tangled, Cable Plants.

Good luck to all!

Thank you Giulia C. for sending this in and for the images.

Repetto’s Interactive Window Display

Posted in Nonpareil Windows by Arcadia on March 3, 2011

While “window shopping” through some of my favorite blogs, I came across this on Haute*Design: Window Displays are going interactive!

Open it and take a look – it’s simply stunning!

Discuss This Display: The Glamourai does windows

Posted in Discuss This Display by Arcadia on March 2, 2011

While perusing some of my favorite blogs, looking for inspiration, I came across this recent post from the Glamourai. That lucky lady got the chance to “do windows” for Dolce and Gabbana in Milano!

What do think? Discuss this display.

I realize she just styled mannequins and didn’t really provide any props or scenery, but her sartorial choices are good, and I’m happy to see she used an odd number of mannequins for optical balance – she even styled herself to fit in quite nicely with the mannequins!

(all images via: The Glamourai)

Style Bubble Styles Windows For COS

Posted in Discuss This Display by Arcadia on October 31, 2010

One of my favorite fashion bloggers was asked to style the windows of COS. For those of you not in the UK, COS is part of the H&M empire.  How do you think she did?

The windows look very much like her!  If you’re familiar with her eclectic style of dressing you can definitely Susie in the outfits of the mannequins.

(all images via Style Bubble)

Blog Love: The Window Display Blog

Posted in Inspiration, Window Lessons by Arcadia on August 30, 2010

Being able to see what other window designer’s are doing is very important in our line of work.  Not for the sole purpose of being snarky and critical (although that does happen), but to see what techniques work, and what ideas have the most visual impact, not to mention if you truly love this line of work you can appreciate the efforts of the other talented designers out there.

Kaisa is a visual merchandiser in London, who does a great job of showcasing displays from her city.  I enjoy reading her blog as she always posts lots of photos.  This is so fantastic for those of us who can’t get to the fashion capital of London.  I highly recommend you check out The Window Display Blog.

A photo by Kaisa taken from her blog post Camouflage in Prada.

(image via: The Window Display Blog)


Posted in Store Study Assignment by Arcadia on May 17, 2010

Another student’s Store Study Assignment:

By Divya V.

What does the store design tell you about the retailer?

Very high-end gift store.  One of the first retail stores in San Francisco.  Originally a frame shop converted into a premium gift store.  Huge tourist attraction now – shops history brings a lot of people here.  Reminded me of Liberty of London store (a huge store on Central London’s Oxford St., very popular among the rich and famous, and the tourist alike).

Describe the store’s target customer?

High-end Bay Area residents.  Tourists from all over the world.

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

Yes, displayed beautifully all around the store.  It’s like walking in an overcrowded posh mansion of some rich fella.

Is it stock piled or more minimalist?

Neither and both.  Mostly the merchandise is displayed in a beautiful manner.  Most areas are crowded – more than visual merchandising, interior decorating techniques have been used.

Do the fixtures suit the store environment?

Yes.  Both linear and non linear.  A lot of shelves, tables, and cabinets are used throughout the store.

Is the ambience fitting for the store’s image?

Yes.  High-end store so it is purposely meant to look that way.  Even the sales persons wear suits and neckties!

Does the light highlight the merchandise?

Yes, the store is pretty well-lit and in many places mood lighting is used.

How is color used in the store?

Most places are white

Are the windows pleasing and drawing you into the store?

Windows alone may be not.  The mast lag above the store is pretty eye-catching though.  From outside the store looks like any other big store.  Easy to find on the street yet if I weren’t looking for it I would have walked past it.

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

Perhaps make the windows more attractive and bring some element of the history of the sore in the display itself.

Window Display Set-Up

Posted in Fashion 49, Window Lessons by Arcadia on March 1, 2010

Windows displays are a lot of fun, but they require a lot of planning!  A good display area will have a number of items to allow you install a variety of different concepts.  Here we will discuss some of the practical necessities you will need for installations:

  • Solid Walls
  • Floor panel if you wish to change the floor coverings
  • Ceiling grid for hanging items
  • Secure Door
  • Lighting Tracks
  • Electric Sockets (very important!)
  • Window Shades to pull down when working your magic!
  • Speakers so you can hear announcements going on in the store
  • Fire Sprinklers (obviously)

First make sure you have solid walls to form the backdrop together with the side walls. It should be a smooth, even surface that can be painted or covered with fabric.  Make sure the walls are strong enough to handle screws or nails:

If you wish to change out your floor coverings then having floor panels is a great idea.  They are typically made from MDF (medium density fiberboard), which is a very light weight wood material.  It can hold a  staple or nail which will allow you to change the floor by changing the fabric or painting it:

A sturdy metal ceiling grid painted the same color as the existing ceiling will allow you to hang banners, props, sometimes even mannequins (if it’s strong enough) from it.  Don’t install it too low where it is in the eye of the window, you want it high enough above where it can still do its job but be out of sight.

Good windows are made great with good lighting.  Lighting tracks are a must.  Plan before hand how you will light your window, it should never be an after thought:

(notice the ceiling grid on top as well)

Speaking of lighting, the location and number of electric sockets is super important.  You want them hidden on either side of the the window next to the glass, install a couple up in the ceiling as well.  Nothing is worse than having an ugly orange extension cord hanging from your display!  Are you the one responsible for installing electric sockets? No! This should be done by a qualified electrician:

By making sure you have at least these items in your window display area; you are free to just design and create, and that’s where the real fun begins!

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