Wednesday 6 November 2013

What is Visual Merchandising?

Visual merchandising puts the Art and Design back into retail; it also plays an important creative and commercial role in many fields including fashion, interiors, film, television, events and exhibitions.  As we know Visual merchandising adds enormous value to the business of retail and is often under estimated and over looked by many retailers yet is a vital part of the business itself.    Of course, Visual Merchandising by its very nature is dynamic, idiosyncratic, ephemeral, while de rigueur, promoting innovation, inspiration and creating aspiration. It can also be inordinate, and if used incorrectly is pointless and worse still, damaging to the brand. In our contemporary society it is important nonetheless that any brand consider all of the above (in conjunction of course with sustainability) in Visual Merchandising which may on occasion (if we are lucky enough not to work for a mind numbing global retailer where we have to install a one size fits all installation) be a little thought provoking, poke a bit of fun, amuse, entertain and challenge at least a little; is there any point in doing what we do otherwise and how much more ordinary do we really want our high streets to be?  Are we always going to worry or should we worry, in case we offend someone who has the time and luxury of being offended in the first instance?

We were rather bemused to find ourselves quoted in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, link below

The article of course picks up on a few comments we made regarding the current (or possibly not any more) installation at Anya Hindmarch here in London (image above).  Why bemused we hear you ask? Well, this installation has clearly rattled the cages of an organisation, but we question, why at such a late stage?  Taxidermied animals (and skeletons, skulls and so on) have been used in store windows for well over a century as well as (God forbid) live ones. The use of live animals is thankfully rare with the exception of countries such as China although it does still on occasion happen here in the West; we have a photographic example below which we previously challenged.

G-star, London

Alexis Bittar, New York

Cire Trvdon, Paris

Mathew Williamson, London
Naturally, we are not in a position, nor would we wish to be, to defend the Anya Hindmarch brand; they clearly have their own salaried staff to do this.  However, we do believe that perhaps this raises the question of what is Art and what isn't?  What is Design and what isn't? (Indeed therefore, What is Visual Merchandising?  Please let us know as we are clearly all getting it wrong?). The article of course picks up the Hindmarch brand for their use of certain animal skins for their products; that's one issue. However, in the process both parties have also possibly determined our own Visual Merchandising agenda, in as much as the scheme may now change simply because an organisation have decided for us all that they don't agree with it; this is where we take issue. Please hold your nerve guys at the Anya Hindmarch brand and keep the scheme, we shouldn't be bullied by these organisations.  This is a great example of innovation, sustainability, dynamism and makes a rather dull high street look just that little more hopeful.

In the meantime, let’s just clarify……Art, not Art or cruelty?

Art, not Art or cruetly?

Art or just cruel use of live animals in a global brand in a sunny window.  Not so cute either, eh?  But where were you then?

Victorinox, London

Victorinox, London

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