by Erin Meade (Class of 2014)
Thanks to one of LIM College’s Visual Merchandising professors, I had the chance to assist with the fabrication work of this year’s Macy’s Christmas Windows. Professor Paul Olszewski is Macy’s Visual Director and heads the team that creates the windows.
The windows are very interactive this year and the overall aesthetic is fun, with a whimsical Christmas story twist. I did everything from paint Christmas trees to help sculpt and smooth out the ice sculptures. I was able to bedazzle the reindeer’s antlers -- and even helped out with the LED lights that turn into fairies. I remember walking in on my first day and seeing each window displayed along the wall.
The windows create a marvelous experience for anyone walking by, through providing an effortless dream that becomes magical. It is a beautiful Christmas story that is told throughout all the windows. Prof. Olszewski also explained the ideas and concepts Macy’s decided to go with this season to our class.
Photo by Eric Feigenbaum
It was an honor to be able to work on the windows and be a part of something that inspires and delights so many.
Merry Christmas, LIM!
Photo by Eric Feigenbaum
Here is Prof. Olszewski with LIM’s Associate Chair of Visual Merchandising, Marjorie Lee Woo.
Photo by Eric Feigenbaum
Eric Feigenbaum, Chair of LIM College’s Visual Merchandising Department and New York Editor of VMSD magazine, attended the press preview for "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk," a new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Professor Feigenbaum shares his thoughts about the experience on VMSD’s website.
by Erin Meade (Class of 2014)
The Iron Merchant visual merchandising competition was held at Maxwell Hall during Family & Friends Weekend. During the event, four teams were given a mannequin and about an hour to design and finish a concept inspired by “punk.” The teams also needed to include a “secret ingredient,” which was handcuffs.
As the announcers introduced the challenge, concepts were already going through my head. Once they said we could start....ready set go! I explained the concept I had in mind to the rest of my team to see if we were all on the same page -- and we were.
Each team member had a part they could design freely while keeping with the punk-inspired look. My team, the purple team, designed a fur structured/messy top clipped with safety pins and a skirt made of zippers. We finished it with a Mohawk, of course, and punk accessories.
The experience was amazing -- fast paced, energetic and fun. The displays all came together and reflected a punk look. It was great to see each team’s own aesthetic.
The purple team created the winning Iron Merchant display!
by Erin Meade (Class of 2013)
At LIM College, the Product Presentation course is taught by Paul Olszewski, the Visual Director at Macy’s. As a senior, this is my last visual merchandising class (bittersweet). For this class, we were asked to create four window displays using the same product. Prof. Olszewski gave us this assignment to see if we really understand the way each store would hold true to their concept and to find out if we knew how to present the product correctly.
Visual branding is an important factor for visual merchandisers when developing window displays. Many stores carry similar products, but they all have a unique and identifiable look they use to present the product. The focus of this project was perfect for me, as I love to be creative and jump right into projects I have an eye for. It was quite easy to come up with concepts I could relate to the stores I chose.
The stores I chose to do in this line-up were Louis Vuitton, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and my own store, called Organics. My head was already spinning with ideas when he gave us the concept at the beginning of the school year. As I progressed with the concepts, they stayed true to the brand of the store. I created a concept that would flow throughout the boxes, but stay true to the brand of each window displays.
Louis Vuitton is a very traditional company that creates a sleek look. Therefore, the window I created consisted of five spoons, with a watch lying on the spoons. The second store I chose was Saks. Saks is known for creating a whimsical look; they do personalized designs that create a story. Therefore the box consisted of a whimsical large air balloon swaying in the wind, with the watch displayed on the basket. The third box of course had to be Macy’s! I tackled Macy’s by having the watch look like it is floating in midair, with a garbage-like design of gears attacking the watch. The last box had to be your own design. I decided to use the idea of a waterfall, using crystal marbles and moss that was spray- painted. I placed the watch so it was hanging delicately in the middle of the waterfall.
Below you can see the work I created to show how each store would visual brand the watch.
by Erin Meade (Class of 2013)
A few months ago, I was given the chance to participate in the Saks Fifth Avenue Student Window Challenge, sponsored by DDI. It was an amazing experience.
The competition included six students from both LIM College and FIT. There were three teams and each of us had a partner. We were given materials to create textures and structured pieces to include in the window display.
Starting at 7 am and ending around 4:30 pm, my partner and I worked diligently and consistently, given our time frame. We had created a concept before we stepped into the window and, luckily, the fabric we received was perfect for that concept. Our window included a twister-like fabric that hung beautifully. We also took advantage of the clothing hangers that were given to us by using them as a structured element.
My partner and I created a whimsical display that was represented brilliantly in the Saks window. We focused on the aesthetic of their windows and transformed our materials into a window display that was magical.
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’m thankful for. Being a visual merchandising student requires hard work and dedication, and this was a chance to show my work and be able to step back and appreciate the results.
My IRDC by Gina Mercatili (Class of 2012) - Merchandising Coordinator, Barclays Center
LIM College alumna Gina Mercatili recently attended the 2013 International Retail Design Conference (IRDC), where she participated in a panel discussion on “Visual Merchandising in the Age of ‘Showrooming.'” Moderated by Eric Feigenbaum, Chair of LIM College’s Visual Merchandising Department, the panel also included Matt Reed, Vice President for Visual Merchandising at Saks Fifth Avenue, and Ignaz Gorischek, Senior Vice President of Store Development at Neiman Marcus.
The message resonating with me since that final day in the beautiful city of Vancouver is how imperative it is for retail to survive – through the power to tell a compelling story. We must provide experiences instead of just handing over receipts. Now is the time to make memories, and visual retail design has never been more globally united in this quest. I sat in rooms of dreamers and doers, not competitors. If we want to create excellent retail environments we, in turn, must be equally excellent.
Our shops tell the tales of what corporate executives envision when they close their eyes and reflect on their brand’s potential. It was said our culture is now in a “phy-gital” stage between physical and digital retail experiences. However, after three days of networking lunches, keynote speeches, shared open visions, group city outings, and, of course, the panel which I spoke on, it all made sense that the gifts technology offers retailers today are yet another tool in our toolbox and in no way pose a threat to the physical shops we stare at photographs of and admire.
Technology triggers the desire, while the store is, and will always be, the final landing spot on a consumer’s trek on the path to purchase an experience.
The caliber of industry intellect in one room was not daunting, it was purely enchanting. Simply put, just knowing something as stimulating – dare I say, life -affirming – as the International Retail Design Conference exists would soothe a young creative mind for a time… but the opportunity I had to speak alongside seasoned professionals about the expansive digital opportunity retail has to enrich the world of brick and mortar stores allowed me to fully realize how fortunate I am to have had such an exemplary education at LIM College.
The heroes of the LIM College Visual Merchandising Department have provided and will continue to provide me, and any student who has a passion to grow, with beautiful opportunities for as long as the mind keeps open and the heart stays whole. There are only so many times I can say thank you to so many extraordinary people. A greater thanks I can give is using everything I learned from this conference in my own work and continuing to strive for excellence through education and innovation.
Erin and I just arrived back at Grottini today from an amazing weekend in Rome. We had made it our mission to visit and photograph as much as we can, and we certainly did. From the Colosseum to the Fontana of Trevi, we've been continuously wowed and inspired from the beautiful historic sites and architecture of the city.
Back at Grottini we are juggling a few projects. At the moment we are working on the retail company Shoes & Co., trying to decide which materials are best for the interior of the store and fixtures. We have also designed logos for the company, as well as a light fixture and other in-store props. We are also working to design a touch screen kiosk for Carlo Pazolini, using textures and designs inspired by the store. And, lastly, we also have the task of designing Piazza Italia's in-store displays and windows, which will be revealed in late August, I believe.
It has been a great month for both learning and exploring, and we both are grateful for the opportunity.
LIM College Visual Merchandising majors Erin Mino and Bianca Bartolo are doing Summer 2013 internships at Grottini Retail Enviroments in Porto Recanati, Italy.
Another week has flown by here at Grottini. Bianca and I have had a number of projects that we are working on. Along with the sketches for Piazza Italia that Bianca showed you, we are now developing window display concepts for the Verona store, as well as in-store merchandising, wall displays, and mannequin set ups for their flagship store in Rome. We have also been working on creating logos for an Italian shoe brand, Shoes & Co., as well as sourcing materials for in-store fixtures and lighting for them.Aside from all of the office work, Bianca and I are also planning on spending the weekend in Rome, which we are both very excited about! We plan on putting our photography skills to the test which we learned last semester in Fashion Photography. So far we've used our cameras a bit, just to shoot some landscape shots around Porto Recanati. All of the hills and valleys are covered in beautiful sunflowers, so we took a trip at sunset the other day to take some shots of them.
Everything has been going very well here, and we hope that you are enjoying your summers as much as we are! Talk to you again soon!
-by Erin Mino
LIM College is located in the heart of New York City. Having the opportunity to walk on 5th Avenue every day on our way to class we are exposed to many major retail environments. And, as a Visual Merchandising student, it is extremely important to always be aware of the latest trends in store design and display.
There seems to be some trends among the new retail stores opening up on 5th Avenue, including 3 retail stores that are relatively new to the environment - H&M, Uniqlo and Joe Fresh. All located within only a few short blocks from each other, there are a lot of similarities in how their stores are displayed. All three of these stores are moderately priced, fast-fashion retail stores.
The first item that seems to be a trend in these stores are the huge glass window storefronts that allow the passing customer to see inside of the store. Instead of having enclosed window displays, this setup allows people from the outside to look directly in at the merchandise. If these stores do create a window display it is located 2 or 3 floors above the ground-level window.
The second ongoing trend that I notice at all three of these retail stores is an overabundance of repetitive mannequins. This type of setup allows for getting a ton of merchandise shown and giving the customer multiple options. Uniqlo has an estimated 350 mannequins throughout their store. H&M is planning to open its largest retail store that will be located on Fifth Avenue and will house an overabundance of mannequins on display. Joe Fresh, for a limited time only, is housing an exhibit of 19 legendary Ralph Pucci mannequin designs.