Towards the end of your student career there are always classes that tend to give you real life experience. This experience helps students better understand what to expect in the future and to help us succeed when we are no longer students. One such class is Visual Merchandising, a class for Fashion Apparel Merchandising majors in the College of Human Sciences.
Lindsay Boone, a student involved in visual merchandising, talks about the benefits of working with outside clients as a student-in-training.
“In our class we have done several window displays and there are always different challenges and rewards,” said Boone. “Working with outside clients provides real life experience and hands on application as to what it would be like to have a real life client working as a merchandiser.” Their big clients, in this case Fringe, tend to take up most of the semester’s time, which is why these classes are so important. Fringe is located in Opelika, Alabama.
“We started in the spring semester so our display needed to have a spring time or early summer theme to it,” said Boone. If I had been in the fall class we would have created a fall or winter theme; it always depends on the season.”
The process for creating display windows starts with groups meeting their client, in this case Stacie Money, the owner of Fringe. “We never want to create something that our client is going to hate, so we meet with them and get their opinions and thoughts about what they expect us to create.” Following the meeting with the client, duties are assigned to groups and they begin to brainstorm as to what their window display will ultimately look like to gain the approval of not only the teacher but also the client.
“My group chose "Summer Picnic” as our theme and Stacie [Money] provided our groups with feedback as to what direction she wanted us to take. Then we toured her store inventory and looked in her backroom knowing that, as students, we were liable and responsible for all products we used,” said Boone. “Once we have that done we start working on a sketches of what the display will hopefully look like in real life. Then the sketches are discussed in class, with the students and teacher providing feedback and suggestions to better your overall idea.”
After adjusting the sketch, groups then put together a Photoshop image of what the display will look once it is completed and then the real work begins. Groups begin purchasing or making all of the props that they want to be in the display. With their “installation day,” groups set everything up at the store while looking around to pick the individual pieces of Fringe’s merchandise that groups will put in their display. “With approval from the store owner and our teacher, the final installation took about 3 total hours and we were finished. The best part of the class was finally finishing each display and getting the stamp of approval from Stacie [Money] feeling that sense of accomplishment that your hard work paid off.”
[All Photos used with permission by Lindsay Boone]
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