Monday, 4 March 2013

Professional Context Research Part #1

For my Professional Context unit at university, I have to undertake a research task into an area of the fashion industry that appeals to me. I chose visual merchandising and am going to present my findings on here as I go along:

The potential area of the fashion industry I would like to go into is visual merchandising. For this research task the main basis of what I wanted to find out is if there is substantial difference between high street and high-end visual merchandising and how they go about putting their windows together. This could include budgeting, whether it’s teams that are involved or solely one person and even the selection of garments for the windows and displays in store.

One of the first people I contacted were Adel Rootstein, who provides display mannequins to both high street and high-end fashion chains. I spoke to Kevin Arpino directly who firstly stated that they provide mannequins for Hermรจs to H&M and that the high street spend a great deal more on visual merchandising than many high end retailers. Although he did point out specifically Louis Vuitton like to spend a lot on this however. This has been shown in their Parisian window displays, such as when they had Yayoi Kusama inspired collection of bags and they had a model made of her in each window and her famous dots background and octopus legs behind her. He also stated that the windows are the opening doors to a store; a 24/7 billboard so of course is a very detrimental component to brands. After more research, I found that others beg to differ on his theory. 

My initial thought on visual merchandising, before undertaking any research, was that each store had a team of visual merchandisers that are solely responsible for the visuals in that particular store, such as their flagship. This then filters down into the smaller stores with their own teams. This thought came from working in retail myself in the chain River Island where sales assistants and managers are not allowed to touch the mannequins and displays; the visual merchandisers are in charge of this, and come in each season to update it, and place stock around the store at first.

Arpino, Kevin. Creative Direction Adel Rootstein (2012) telephone conversation. Grace Gibson. 11th February.
River Island visual merchandising team.

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