Visual Fashion Merchandising: How Much is that Gucci in the Window?

by Kristin Marino
Fashion School Review Columnist

July 24, 2006

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Designer Stella McCartney recently stopped both shoppers and passerbys in their tracks when she featured a nearly naked Pamela Anderson in the window of her London boutique in late June. Stella and Pam's message? "I'd rather go naked than wear fur." McCartney was speaking out against the use of fur in fashion design. She knew that the best way to attract shoppers' attention is through a compelling and provocative display.
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Fashion merchandising professionals also know that the visual aesthetic of a retail space can mean the difference between a sold out season and racks of clothes marked 50% off. The fashions might speak for themselves, but the best way to get people in the door and spending money is to make the space visually appealing.

Fashion merchandising professionals with a degree to back up their expertise are instrumental in the success or failure of a fashion brand. Fashion merchandisers set the tone for the retail space of fashion designers. They might help the interior designer choose the fixtures, lighting, and colors that will showcase merchandise the best. Other fashion merchandising tasks include:
  • Forecasting new trends in music, fashion, and pop culture
  • Understanding colors, and how they can be used to manipulate mood
  • Working closely with fashion designers and marketing professional
  • Understand sales reports and statistics

The fashion merchandising professional is able to take the designer's vision, the marketing department's sales goals, and with the consumer's needs and desires, and incorporate them all into a distinctive retail space. While Stella McCartney's recent display got people talking, the real goal of the visual merchandising professional is to get people in the store, wanting to buy things in the store, and coming back for more. Retailers look for merchandising professionals with a fashion degree to help them reach their goals.


About the Author
Kristin Marino is obsessed with haute couture, even though she lives in Reno, Nevada, where you can't even get Gucci or Louis Vuitton, let alone Jimmy Choo. She has a Bachelor of Art in English Composition from the University of Nevada.

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