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Join our Visual Merchandising bloggers as they reveal the ins and outs of a Visual Merchandising education at LIM College.

Visual Merchandising Blog

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Looking Forward to My Final Visual Merchandising Internship

 
by Erin Meade (Class of 2014)

During your senior year at LIM College you do a final internship for the entire Spring semester. This semester has flown by and I can’t believe it’s already time to do my own Senior Co-op internship at Alexander Wang.

Although it was a struggle to find one, I am very happy with the internship I chose. I interviewed at many places, including: Chanel, Dior, and John Varvatos. I was very nervous to hear back, as I didn’t know who I was going to hear from first.

It is an exciting experience because you’re entering your final semester and you’re hoping for a job at the end of it all. I am well-prepared to start my Senior Co-op internship in Visual Merchandising and have gained a lot of knowledge from my professors here at LIM College over the last three and a half years.  I am ready to grow even more as a person through this internship and I’m looking forward to starting it. As for now, I can only hope to have the best experience and get as much out of it as possible.

VM 121813

Visual Merchandising Project: Graffiti Meets Luxury

 
by Erin Meade (Class of 2014)

One of my last projects in my Product Presentation class was to design a storewide promotion. The inspiration we were given was graffiti. As a group we had to design four vitrines and a mannequin presentation. They are now on display in LIM College’s 5th Ave building.

We decided to drive home the graffiti theme by implementing the design on the skirt and all the vitrines, which would house props that would tie back to the display.

Erin Meade - Grafitti Skirt

Erin Meade - Graffiti Skirt

Our store concept was high-end, therefore we had to take the graffiti and make it look elegant and neat. We decided to grid the backdrop of the mannequin by using frames that would be graffiti-ed as well. We also added one mirror on the backdrop to help give it that high-end luxury look.

Erin Meade - graffiti jewelry

We used black pumps, a gold rich necklace and vibrant lipstick throughout the vitrines. Each vitrine had it’s own purpose – to promote the fashion apparel and accessories that would be featured at this high-end store. Overall, the concept was fun to design and implement.

Erin Meade - graffiti shoes

Visual Merchandising Project: Futuristic Crude

 
by Erin Meade (Class of 2014)

For the Planning and Visual Education Partnership (PAVE) Student Gallery Project, LIM College selected nine students to participate and design their own punk mannequin using essentials such as safety pins, razors, studs and spikes. The color palette featured only black and white and the design was required to have an “artfully destroyed” look to it, even though it was focused around a punk theme.

I came up with a design that featured black and white pants that were made mostly out of safety pins. I also added white pleather panels to the top of the slacks to keep them together.

Erin Meade - Mannequin pants

For the top, I decided to go with a structured blazed that had a collar that sticks up into points and the bottom replicated a peplum concept. The blazer was done in translucent plastic material and the color was done using black pleather. I then added more safety pins to the blazer.

Erin Meade - Mannequin hair

Everything worked well together in the overall piece…. I call my mannequin Futuristic Crude

Erin Meade - Mannequin

Working on Macy’s Holiday Windows

 
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.

LIM College - Macy's window

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.

LIM College - Macy's window

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.

LIM College - Macy's WindowPhoto 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!

LIM College - Macy's WindowPhoto by Eric Feigenbaum

Here is Prof. Olszewski with LIM’s Associate Chair of Visual Merchandising, Marjorie Lee Woo.

Prof. Olszewski and Marjorie Lee Woo.Photo by Eric Feigenbaum

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

 

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.

Gaultier

Iron Merchant Visual Merchandising Challenge

 
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.

Iron Merchant visual merchandising competition

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.

Iron Merchant visual merchandising competition

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!

Iron Merchant visual merchandising competition - purple team

Visual Branding Through Window 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.

LIM College - Erin Meade

Creating a Window Display for Saks Fifth Avenue

 
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.

Saks Window Challenge

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.

Saks Window Display

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)

 

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.

LIM College - International Retail Design Conference

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.

LIM College - Roundtables

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.

Visual Merchandising Internship Projects

 

Hello!

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.

Bianca Erin at Coliseum

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.

Best,
-Bianca

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