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Southampton Solent University Faculty of Creative Industries and Arts BA Honours Magazine Journalism and Feature Writing 2011/2012

Ashleigh Skinner

Advanced Visual Merchandising Visual Merchandising Planning and Development Portfolio

A British Fairytale


The Role of the Visual Merchandiser 1 4 The Role of the Visual Merchandiser 2 5 Identity of the Brand 6 Identity of the Brand 7 Trend Campaigns of the Brand 1 8 Trend Campaigns of the Brand 2 9 Identifying the Zeitgeist 11 Mood Board - Snow White 12 Mood Board - British 13 Analysing Visual Merchandising - West Quay 1 14 Analysing Visual Merchandising - West Quay 2 15 Analysing Visual Merchandising - West Quay 3 16 Analysing Visual Merchandising - West Quay 4 17 Emerging Trends Womenswear 1 18 Emerging Trends Womenswear 2 19 Emerging Trends Menswear 1 20 Emerging Trends Menswear 2 21 Inspirational Adverts - Vera Wang 22 Inspirational Adverts - British Branding 23 Analysing Visual Merchandising - Westfields 1 24

Analysing Visual Merchandising - Westfields 2 25 Cultural Influences 27 Collection of Trends Womenswear 1 28 Collection of Trends Womenswear 2 29 Collection of Trends Menswear 1 30 Collection of Trends Menswear 2 31 Visualising Ideas 33 Initial Ideas 34 Initial Ideas - Pen to Paper 35 Developing Ideas 1 36 Developing Ideas 2 37 In Store Integration 1 38 In Store Integration 2 39 Final Ideas 1 40 Final Ideas 2 41 Bibliography 43


The Role of the Visual Merchandiser What is Visual Merchandising?

What does a Visual Merchandiser do?

Visual merchandising is essentially window dressing, although the theme will be integrated throughout the whole store, beyond the window alone. It interacts with the brand, the brands values and the target market of the brand.

The main aim of the visual merchandiser is to maximise sales by using visual persuasion. This can be achieved using a wide range of tools from persuading the customer to come inside, to keeping them there.

Visual merchandising will also link to promotional events taking place in stores; this can range from sales to guest appearances, the advertising for the event will be merged with the visuals on display.

A visual merchandiser will create both the window displays, as well as interior displays. The role of the visual merchandiser is mainly dependent on level, but every aspect of the retail environment can be created or altered by the VM.

The purpose of the visual display has evolved from the general use of mannequins and clothes. Visual merchandising has become an art form, aided by the use of updated technology, window displays now have the ability to be interactive. Although, the use of the human form, through the mannequin is still just as important in fashion retail. As the mannequin interacts with the customer on an unconscious level, giving a realistic visual suggestion of how the clothes will look when worn.

Essentially VM is styling, a fashion story, an art form. It’s used to entice consumer to brand. We are selling lifestyles, not clothes.

Essentially they are responsible for the entire look of the store, they will use anything from current trends, promotions, and brand statements to create themes and integrate them throughout the entire store. Themes will interact with the brand values, target market and the promotions available at any given time. Every aspect is considered and tailored to attract and entice consumers.

Accessories can be displayed at all different angles to entice the customer, and all angles of view must be considered when placing objects. The window display is an indirect visual suggestion to the consumer. Enticing them inside.

The job is very hands on and many merchandisers will create sets, build stages, endorse lighting effects and ensure cleanliness. The brands identity will be further developed and enriched by the look of the store.

Many opportunities to further entice the customer around the store will be considered by the merchandiser. Using tools such as touch or smell can prompt the consumer to interact with products or displays.

The impact of the visual needs to be fast, as many customers will only take a few seconds subconsciously to decide whether they want to go into a store, and if they would like to stay there.

Therefore every visual angle must be considered, close ups, from across the street, left to right. There must be something interesting and enticing at any direction a consumer may walk. The visual merchandiser will consider how the theme will be integrated throughout the store; the point of sale, graphics and signage used within the store will interact with the brand. Considering already used font/text/language and ultimately the visual has to persuade the customer to buy.


Reacting to the Zeitgeist

Basic Merchandising Principles

Displays interact with the zeitgeist of the time, emerging trends, changes to lifestyle and events affecting the current world.

Due to our ability to know when certain events are going to happen, we can plan for future occasions. This is why many fashion trends are predicted years in advance, as fashion forecasters anticipate how a certain event or climate will change the way we live. Affecting our lifestyle choices and our fashion preferences.

The visual merchandiser will merge both asymmetrical and symmetrical grouping to create visual impact. Symmetry, balance and colour all play a very big, yet separate part in merchandising. The use of space helps the customer to focus on a particular item, or a small number of products. However, upper market companies, such as more affluent or designer brands, use space as a marketing strategy. Expensive or designer brands also use more dimly lit lighting. The key elements of a strong display, contemplate height, width and depth. Using a focal point helps to balance the eye and is known as a central line. Colour is a vital part and almost unavoidable. It can attract the attention of the consumer, hold the attention, convey information and express mood.

Signange and Graphics The signage and graphics throughout a store must conform to the image of the brand and use the same typeface as well as the same language represented by the product. Everything must be clear and very easy to read.

This is why visual displays can be planned greatly in advance, ready to emerge in coordination with events and trends. Sometimes weather conditions can alter when events in store will take place, for example constant rain will boost the sale of umbrellas. A longer hot summer will extend a planned summer sale as summer clothes will still be selling during hot climates.

Roles Within a Team

The visual of a store can be researched and planned up to a year in advance. Window displays, the interior, general layout and themes will be changed every 6-8 weeks. This is to keep up with industry needs as well as ever-changing trends.

Visual merchandisers are able to plan for future events, anticipate upcoming zeitgeists and design a window ready for a change in culture. However, they are also ready to re-design windows in preparation of a longer summer, or indeed winter.

Display designers are responsible for the whole process of the visual, from designing to decorating. The role is very active and is a practical job. The roles within a team include researching, sketching designs, developing floor plans, sourcing materials, maximising the space of the store, improving the layout to fit with the visual needs, dressing mannequins, making use of creative lighting and making use of colour.

The Role of the Visual Merchandiser 4

Identity of the Brand

River Island

Brand Decription

Historical Look

Love fashion. Love River Island.

The history of River Island spans 55 years. The business started in 1948 as a small lock-up shop in East London selling wool and ladies clothing. As the business increased shops were added under the name of “Lewis Separates” and the focus became ladies clothing.

With over 60 years of fashion retailing experience, River Island is one of the most successful companies on the British High Street. River Island has over 260 stores across the UK and Ireland and a hugely popular online shop at We also have stores internationally throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe. River Island is known for its stylish and affordable fashion and the unique touches we bring to our collections, which make us standout from the rest of the High Street. Our customers love us for our great going-out looks, amazing denim and fabulous shoes and bags, as well as being the perfect place to pick up everything you could need to get a complete head-to-toe look. At River Island we try really hard to bring new and original fashion to the high street, with design at the heart of absolutely everything we do. Everything is designed in-house and with one of the largest design teams on the High Street this means we can have fabulous new fashion arriving in-store and online every single week.

By 1968 there were some 70 stores in the UK and “Lewis Separates” introduced into a few of its stores a brand new concept and name. Innovative in design and format these stores used strong colours, bold fashion imagery and pop music to create “Chelsea Girl,” the first UK chain of fashion boutiques. With continuing expansion, menswear was introduced in 1983 under the “Concept Man” brand and from 1988 further evolution took the form of the development ofa new brand concept of a themed store offering fashion for men and women. The new brand was called “River Island” and today the product range includes men’s and women’s clothing and footwear, accessories and cosmetics. A dedicated in-house design and sourcing team creates fashionable, stylish and quality clothing representing value for money, targeted at the fashion conscious 18-35 year old market.

Target Market As mentioned by, River Island’s target market are the “fashion conscious 18-35yr old market”. They have something for everyone, supplying clothes, shoes and accessories for men and women. Some stores are now endorsing children’s clothes, further attracting those who are parents within the targeted market, the “yummy mummies” and “cool dads” whose children’s style reciprocates their own. Consumers of the River Island brand appreciate affordable fashion, high-end high street goods for a reasonable price. They expect the store to be at the forefront of providing emerging trends. The customer knows River Island can be a one stop shop for all the products they need, which may suggest that consumers are short of time, the online RI store offers an alternative for those who are time stricken. Buyers of River Island are searching for fun, retro and carefree style, representing British Pop culture, with interesting prints and on trend designs. They are working men and women, who keep up to date with fashion trends, outside of work as well as at work. At the weekends they like to relax and know how to have a good time, RI going out dresses and jeans label reflect this.


Advertising and Promotional Techniques

River Island collaborates with other well-known brands that attract the same consumers, these collaborations continue within store as well as endorsing outside advertising to attract the target market into the store.

The brand often collaborates with magazines, teaming up with the publications for promotional nights that generally take place at the Oxford Street store. Including renowned fashion magazines Elle and Vogue. These special nights give consumers the chance to bag themselves free gift bags, that include goodies from the RI brand as well as the magazine collaborated with.

Pacha Ibiza Collaboration

Recent collaboration with the world-renowned Pacha club in Ibiza for River Islands SS12 collection, further attracts and defines the audience of the brand. They are thrill seekers, eager to have a good time and enjoy holidaying abroad in clubbing destinations. Realigning the brand with a fun-loving audience who live for fashion, wherever they are in the world.

Identity of the Brand 7

Trend Campaigns of the River Island Brand

I have been researching the past and current trend campaigns of my chosen brand, making use of their blog style website

Through this research I can see what style they use to present current trends to their target market, generating an idea of what visual merchandising tools I will have to employ to correspond with current brand needs. River Island often collaborate with like-minded businesses, as addressed in my previous identity of the brand pages and this can further be seen within the Julian Smith collaboration. They are advertising themselves as aligned with designers and innovative. Describing the brand as somewhat high end, yet affordable. The other campaigns advertise up-to-date trends, a sailor theme and sports trend are presented with a glamorous angle. Again further suggesting they are appealing to consumers who like higher end products, glossy, luxurious, yet affordable.


In the trend campaign above, you can see that the feature has used street style as inspiration, targeting the market of the brand by showing the normalcy of the people wearing it. The shots are candid which make the campaign seem a slice of real life. The brand is constantly collaborating with high-end fashion magazine Elle, again further aligning it with luxurious branding. Elle generally features a mix of expensive and affordable items between its covers, connoting that River Island is in fact a more luxurious, high end, high quality brand. By using the street style above and the motion shots used in the Elle feature, the brand is suggesting that it is fun, something I’ve already addressed as a brand value. They are a brand for the masses and want to be seen as fun and ordinary with a glamorous edge.

Trend Campaigns of the River Island Brand 9

Identifying the Zeitgeist Fashion is a reflection of the times in which it is created and worn, it responds to what is modern, to the spirit of the times or the Zeitgeist As discussed on the previous page the role of the visual merchandiser, window displays interact with current changes, such as trends, events and lifestyles. Because of this, merchandisers are able to work in unison with trend forecasters, to pre-plan the displays of windows up to a year in advance. Focusing on this I would like to anticipate what is happening in the year of 2012 to plan my own window display for the brand River Island. Using Nystrom’s framework for observing the zeitgeist of the time, I will identify dominating events, ideals, etc. that are currently happening or about to happen in 2012. From here I can experiment with some of those dominating events to address my theme for my window display.

Dominating Attitudes Olympic glory has us all feeling proud to be British, as the economy is set to be boosted by the impending sporting event we’re all feeling very unified. This has given rise to heritage as well as the upcoming queens jubilee, which is also making us more aware of royalty for the second year running, after the royal wedding last year. Keeping fit, exercise, eating healthily, due to the Olympics. Nostalgia, fairytale, with the release of two Snow White films this year, it seems we are reliving childhood memories through familiar icons.

Dominating Events

London is due to hold the Olympics this summer in 2012 A hose pipe ban is enforced, yet Britain has continuous rain dubbed as April showers. The Queens diamond jubilee in June Two Snow White films to be released in April & June

Dominating Technology No news of emerging technology other than updated products, such as the Iphone or blackberry. Social media sites such as twitter have been taken by storm and are used as a promotional tool for fashion companies. Including the use of integrating twitter into stores via tweet mirrors. Seen in the River Island store in Westfield Stratford. Fashion apps have emerged, further endorsing sales where users can use a one click buying service from phones.

Dominating Ideals Dominating ideals relates back to dominating attitudes, with the rise of changing attitudes towards Royals and Britain there is a new ideal to be proud of your heritage. We are happy to be a part of something so magical – Olympics. As we have a new princess, due to Kate and Wills marrying last year, the euphoria still hasn’t ended and we are still awaiting our own fairytale, royal ending. We are in a happy place currently, and are experimenting with this through the idea of escapism (childhood, nostalgia, fairytale).

Dominating Social Groups As the Olympics approach, Olympian British stars are being used to endorse products. Such as the stars of sport - Tom Daley. He also released a parody of a song, along with the diving British Olympic team, which boosted his popularity. Reality TV stars are still proving to be popular within the media, with the rise of the average celebrity, ie. those who become celebrities for being real or average or said normal. This has risen with the production of TV shows such as Made in Chelsea, The Only Way is Essex and Geordie Shore. It appears we are living in a world where anyone can be famous for 15minutes. With the rise of these shows, we are seeing the rise of people aspiring to be like them, be it with fashion or their own show.

Identified ! After addressing dominating ideals, events, attitudes etc. within our society I have come to the decision that I too would like to experiment with the feeling of being British within my Visual Merchandising task. As well as experimenting with feeling British, I would like to consider the impact of two Snow White films this year, the royal wedding (last year), a new princess, royal jubilee and the feeling of nostalgia. I will experiment with these themes via mood boards.


Mirror Mirror After investigating emerging trends and the zeitgeists of 2012, Snow White has been identified as a common theme for the year, with the release of two films following the fairytale story.

On the Wall

A Fairytale alone also seems to be a common theme, after the royal wedding the year before; we are all awaiting our own prince charming on a white horse. We are experiencing a national nostalgia of years gone by, relieving the dreams of our childhoods. Becoming a princess and living our own fairytale. The two Snow White films due to be released this year are at opposite ends as one is more of a children’s moral tale, where as the other is dark and gothic. I don’t want to experiment with dark or gothic themes within my display because, as addressed in the previous page identifying the zeitgeist I believe we have reached an ideal where we are all happy, I don’t think it would be fitting with the current zeitgeists. The mood board will address the need or want for childhood innocence within society, a fairytale ending and the image of being a princess.


When British and fashion is combined in the same sentence it immediately conjures up feelings of being very British. Prim and proper fashions have emerged since Prince William married. We have a very iconic style that has been recreated by many brands, such as Burberry and Barbour, very British wholesome brands. Our style epitomises the preppy, casually cool chic. It also seems to envision the very simple idyllic look of the Barbour mac or the Burberry trench, Britain has an iconic style, that fashion designers worldwide attempt to replicate and fail horribly. The British really do, do it best. Looking to recent events set to take place in London and the UK this year, it appears there has never been a better time to be British. As we hold the Olympic torch this year and celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee reign, London is more iconic than ever. The economy will boom this year as tourism rises and the Olympic brings back wealth to Britain. Big brands interact with being British as well as elements in our culture, the arrival of the reality show Made in Chelsea, has reminded us what it is to be very British. Or maybe just very British and stupidly rich. The scales are evened with the production of The Only Way is Essex, a more down to earth and slightly stupid representation of being British. This mood board will explore what it means to be British in our modern culture and how the euphoric feeling of unity can inspire us all.

We are Proud to be British 13

Analysing Visual Merchandising River


West Quay Store 8/2/2012

These pictures are from the River Island window display in West Quay, Southampton, they have integrated the use of signage within the front window display. Using key words to further justify and communicate with the consumer about current trends. The visual merchandiser has also made use of different angles, using mannequins, shoes and accessories in alternating places so the products can be seen by customers walking in any direction through West Quay.

The almost separate displays in both the women’s and men’s section, mainly the women’s seem to display two different trends appropriate for different seasons. One end of the display employs the use of brighter products, to suggest a spring theme. Whilst the opposing end still represents colder months with the use of jackets, blazers and shirts. The same can be seen in the men’s where the mannequins closer to the door are all dressed in jackets and hoodies. They have made use of a higher view point, by putting a mannequi on the stairs.


The placing of the bags on the right hand sign of the shop window attracts the attention of consumers walking past in the direction of the bags. As the visual merchandiser has a short amount of time to capture the customer’s attention, this is good product placement as the viewer can still be enticed by products, whatever direction they walk.

The models are placed at two opposing angles so any consumers walking past can directly view them and this adds more realism to the human form of the mannequin. After all we don’t all stand around in line as people. The height of the shoes is again used to offer more height and product placement to the window. It also suggests how shoes may be placed within a wardrobe, speaking to the consumer on a subconscious level, saying, “These shoes will fit into your life, and your wardrobe”.

The shoe stand has extra height than most contemporary stands; it draws attention to the top of the background, directing the viewers attention to the statement words on the wall. The height of the stand, also allows for extra products to be placed in the window. The use of the penguin form, seems totally random, but when you consider that River Island is now endorsing children’s clothes, it is at the direct height of young children walking past and may pose as an interest to them. By placing sunglasses on the penguin, it not only further advertises products, but also links to the fun personality of the brand. The sale sign used in the window links to further promotions in store, enticing consumers inside.

Spotlights are used to light from above, drawing attention to the mannequins and the clothes they are wearing. Every angle is considered and lit in accordance, although, all from above.

We are Selling Lifestyles Fashion brands suggest lifestyle choices through their garments, and this sale of lifestyles continues throughout the store directed by the visual merchandiser. Already acknowledged in the Identity of the Brand, River Island is targeting the stylish 18-35 yr old market.

As there is no background behind the men’s fashion window, it draws attention inside the shop, inviting consumers in to take a look around. The placing of a male mannequin on the stairs already subconciously suggests menswear is upstairs, leading consumers around the store from outside. As well as directing the eye to the “Mens” signage from outside.

Their consumers are working-class, very British and fashion conscious. They expect the brand to keep up with trends and offer something different from other stores. The brand represents British pop culture, with bright prints, glamorous designs and edginess. This can be seen throughout the décor, such as the brick wall which is very urban and street. The penguin represents an element of fun, already a common theme recognised as being projected by the River Island brand.


Analysing Visual Island Merchandising

West Quay Store 8/2/2012


Analysing Visual Merchandising River


West Quay Store 8/2/2012

As discussed in Trend Campaigns, the brand promotes itself as luxurious by aligning itself with other more glamorous products. Mannequins have been placed on an island, directly in the view of consumers peering in from the outside through the doors. It draws attention to certain trends. Represented here is the monochrome trend with a splash of brights. The large “Elle Loves� clothes tag adds an intresting view point, directing the consumer to what it says. Different heights and angles keep the consumers eye on the models.

River Island often collaborates with Elle Magazine, a high end fashion magazine. By using this product collaboration in store, it is confirming to consumers that River Island is a high end, high street brand. The large tag is also attached to a blazer, a contemporary style work jacket, it speaks to the inner working woman within the consumer who remains fashion conscious inside and outside of work.

Tables placed around the store, offer a focal point for consumers and promote new trends. The trend concentrated on here directly links to the brand. The trousers are printed, as is the cardigan, a regular uniform deisgn from the in-house River Island team. It represents British pop culture, edgy yet casual. The t-shirts strategically placed around the table, hint at the casual theme of the brand. The cardigan is used as a focal point on the table, by it’s higher strategically placed status.

The signage seen here is directing consumers around the store, whilst also complying with brand values. The signage resembles signs you would see in glitzy London or city clubs. This further aligns the brand with its urban styled, British marketing. The lighting used to light up the letters, draws attention to the sign but also sugests glamour, another value of the brand. The two signs can be seen by consumers from every angle within the store, allowing them to easily be directed around the store, without confusion.


Accessories are a big selling point for the River Island brand, as they offer some of the best bags, shoes and jewellery on the high street. All points of view are considered downstairs in the West Quay store. As all shoes are arranged at all different heights for maximum impact. The wooded stand that the shoes are on has a rubbed beachy effect, directly suggesting that the shoes are for the summer season as confirmed by the “New Season” sign. The phrase directly stencilled onto the wall further interacts with the consumer, praising the inner femininity within their female customers. Emphasising the sale by encouraging women to buy shoes they can “conquer the world in.”

Analysing Visual Island Merchandising The jewellery fills an entire wall, enticing women to scan the whole wall in search of a product, it is lit from above much like more expensive brands, further aligning River Island with a more high end luxurious product.


West Quay Store 8/2/2012


Emerging Trends

Summer 2012

Sourcing Trends for the British Fairytale

I have researched emerging trends for the summer of 2012 that will work well with my British Fairytale theme. I have been hoping to find soft romantic fabrics with the possibility of emerging them with harsher British-esque military. I already have a fairly solid image of how I would like my proposed window to look, although I am looking to current trends for fashionable influence


This summer be queen of everything! Pile on the feathers, lash on the jewels - no one can topple this girl’s perfectly placed crown. Rich sparkles and layers of tulle in I-want-it-now shades contrast with ladylike accessories for a look that’s pure drama.

River Island’s Heavy Metal Topshop’s Pageant Princess I like the look of theheavy metal, rock hard jewellery, I think it will take the cutesy edge off the proposed fairytale theme and add more British rockstar glamour to the look.

Topshop’s online site has honed the trend ‘Pageant Princess’ a mix of ladylike glamour, glitz and jewels. The look uses pastel colours, pretty dresses and glitter. Much like the way I envisioned my own window to pan out. Although the trend addressed on the topshop website, is a little sickly sweet for my proposed idea. Too many polka dots and candy colours, with not much edge.

River Island’s Lace

The beautiful lace pieces are in cutesy pastels, many with sweet peter pan colours, I think the lace trend would ideally fit within my theme. The lace isn’t too showy so won’t take the attention away from the British Fairytale.


River Island’s The Modern Mermaid River Island’s take on the ‘Modern Mermaid’ uses the reflection of sequins, it’s high end glamour in aquatic colours, idyllic for my proposed theme. The beauty of the pieces speak fit for a princess, and bring to life the fairytale theme.

Telegraph’s Summer Trend Report The Telegraph’s fashion section has identified key trends for Spring/Summer 2012 in their report. After looking to the catwalk for inspiration the Telegraph have assembled emerging trends for the summer season. The one’s that most appeal to my theme can be seen above and to the left. They have also identified a mermaid style theme, ascribed as “Underwater Love” much like the collection designed by River Island, also seen on this page.

Summer 2012


The above collections named “Shine On” and “Pastel Princesses”, already show a resemblance to my theme from there chosen names. Pastels are going to be a big hit this season and will ideally fit my visual theme of British Princess. Where as the Shine On theme will be a good choice to resemble the luxurious quality of the branding, as well as my own royal theme.

Emerging Trends 19

Emerging Trends I have looked to River Island for emerging summer trends within menswear. I’m hoping to find laidback casuals with a smarter edge, suitable for tea with the queen to pose a good basis for my British fairytale theme.

Summer 2012 Menswear

I would also like menswear to correspond to the same colour palette of the womenswear, such as pastels, high shine, glamorous pieces.

River Island’s Sunday Best The Sunday Best trend is a little bit smarter and perhaps more fitting for my royal British Fairytale theme, as the brand endorses a luxurious, high end image to appeal to consumers, the Sunday Best trend would work well for a window setting. I like the laidback pastel colours and these will relate to the pastel hues of the womenswear. The look is very British, polo necks and chinos are an iconic statement of menswear and idealise casual wear that’s a little more done up. Perfect for tea with a princess.

River Island’s Shore Thing The beachy keen trend endorsed by River Island for menswear this summer corresponds with my theme and the well-known casual look of the brand, I like the relaxed jeans wear colours, the simple t-shirts with coloured pockets and the classic boat shoes. I think they will work very well with my British Fairytale theme as the look is very British, who have a laidback attitude to fashion and wear casual extremely well.


River Island’s Weekender The weekender theme addressed by River Island appears to be a mix of the Shore Thing and Sunday Best theme, again a relaxed approach to menswear. The laidback casual cool clothing is a great way to showcase my British Fairytale theme as the British are the Kings of rocking the casual look. I really like the simple cotton polo neck, light coloured chinos and blazer look, it has an element of smart alongside something simple and easy to wear. I will be using laidback garments within my own window display, teamed with dressier pieces such as the blazer. The British menswear look really is eclectically cool. I love the boat shoes and feel they would make for the perfect ensemble within my window.

River Island’s Colour Pop The Colour Pop trend used by River Island is the ideal way to add more colour into my window, I will be using the edgy coloured macs and hoodies to link with the womenswear window. The style is the vision of London cool and River Island express the laidback attitude of menswear very well. The bright palette allows for men to be seen this summer and have there own stylish stamp within the summer season.


Summer 2012

Emerging Trends 21

Inspirational Adverts

Vera Wang Princess Perfume

The advertising used to market the Vera Wang princess perfume has many qualities that I would like to recreate within my own visual merchandising window. I particularly like the use of the majestic crowns, which can be seen on the male models as well as the female. I will be using crowns within my own visual display. I would like many, if not all of the models to be wearing crowns, from King and Queen crowns to smaller Prince and Princess tiaras. Although I really like how many of the crowns here have been designed, almost woven and worn far from perfectly. I think a tilted crown addresses that we are all normal and far from perfect. By using a tilted crown within my own visual window display, I think it will respond well to the audience, as it is suggesting the brand is luxorious, royal and glamorous, whilst still remaining high street and for the middle-class working consumer.



Rimmel make up brand is an iconic British brand, with one of the most recognised advertising phrases as “Get the London Look”. They are a high street brand, much like River Island. They often use iconic British celebrities within their advertising, such as Kate Moss and new addition Georgia May Jagger. Representing a British look with English flags placed in the background or iconic British pieces, as seen to the left, with Georgia wearing a hat, more recognised as being worn by the guards who protect key locations in London such as Buckingham Palace. I really like the statement print of the English flag used in the background of the Zooey Deschanel advert. I like that the flag is made up of make up, presumably lipstick, and looks arty. I would like to use the iconic British flag somewhere within my own window piece, perhaps as a background, although I wouldn’t want it to make too much of a statement and take attention away from the theme or the trends employed. I will consider using the British flag in different colours, possibly with the use of glitter or sparkles to illiterate the British Fairytale theme, as well as the branding of River Island as being a luxurious, affordable high street brand.

British Branding

Ispirational Adverts 23

Analysing Visual Merchandising River


Westfield’s Stratford 12/02/2012 Unfortunately I visited the Stratford store around the same time I visited the West Quay, therefore they were endorsing a similar visual merchandising structure.

The River Island brand is endorsed from the very first glance of the Westfield’s Stratford store, the glamorous light bulb sign attracts the view of all walking past. It’s luxurious, stylish and utterly dazzling. It speaks the brand alignments from the very first read. The white wash brick walls from the outside are a uniform visual merchandising statement thoroughly endorsed by the River Island brand throughout stores. It encourages the brand values, of being urban, British and fresh. It fits with the ideals of the “Westfield” brand as there first shopping mall was opened full of luxurious high end affluent brands. As already recognised the River Island brand lives up to the brand value of appearing luxurious, yet affordable. This fits with the Westfield structure, although the Stratford mall is more high street than designer. However, the River Island Stratford store is very glamorous, using sparkly, glittery lights throughout the store. High end upholstered furniture and updated technology. The in store changing rooms offer a photo function, which you can then send to your twitter, ascribed as a tweet mirror.

However the grand size of the flagship River Island Stratford store offered a different compositional value to the smaller West Quay store. The mannequins in the women’s wear window were placed on a higher tear, giving different perspectives to the height of the window and drawing attention again to the worded background of the wall. The composition of the models, looks realistic, in that they aren’t all pictured in unison, or the samey type poses. They are at different angles to attract attention from different viewpoints of people walking past. The visual merchandiser has also made good use of depth, by placing the human forms in different positions, encouraging the viewer to look further into the store. The store can also be seen through the window, encouraging the viewer to venture inside and take a look around. The mannequins used by the Stratford store are a different colour to the West Quay store, perhaps to represent racial differences and celebrate equality. But also it poses a contrast between the white wash walls and the stand out dark coloured mannequins.


Identified as Proposed Store The analysis of the Flagship River Island Stratford store poses as an ideal location for my own visual merchandising window. After deciding on my “British Fairytale” theme, the connotations associated with the Stratford store depict my own theme. Therefore it will fit together and work in perfect harmony. As suggested earlier, accessories are a major part of the saleable element of River Island, this is strongly endorsed by the Stratford store with a “Boutique” dedicated to the pieces that pull an outfit together.

The signage in store the Stratford River Island is the perfect depiction of the brand, the goodbye note at the end of the store “See you again soon” is a friendly greeting. Suggesting River Island has a loyal host of consumers.

The in store design idealises the River Island branding by endorsing an up-market look, the signage is luxurious, as well as the use of language “boutique”. Two white pillars frame the sign, a royal signifier, suggesting the brand is regal and magnificent.

Written in stencil, it affiliates the brand values, a young, fashionable and urban clothes provider. Amidst a white wash brick wall, a reminder of the cool city clubs many of it’s target market attend.

The lighting is also high end and possibly royal. Chandeliers are a vision of expensive taste, and conjure feelings of being glamorous. Everything is encouraged to appear majestic, further suggesting the brand is more expensive than reality. This makes the items more sellable, as they appear to be value for money. The royal, affluent connotations when linked with the price tag give the impression that consumers are getting high-end goods for a high street price.


It is also a good marketing technique, encouraging new consumers of the brand to return because they are representing a friendly environment. A place the consumer wants to be and hang out in as well as shop.

The royal look of the accessory boutique will depict my British Fairytale theme perfectly, as I makeover in store locations as well as design the shop window to illustrate my British Fairytale theme. I also like the grandness of the store, it gives far more space for visual interpretation. As well as being in an ideal location for the Olympics. As discussed in Identifying the Zeitgeist, the Olympics will play a huge part in the proposed idea for my visual window. The central London location will be at the heart of the British euphoric feeling. As the design of the visual will coincide with the summer Olympics as well as the Queen’s Jubilee, it is also an idyllic time to recreate the visual of the store.

Analysing Visual Island Merchandising

Westfield’s Stratford 12/02/2012


Cultural Influences Fashion Branding and culture are intricately linked

Retail spaces adapt the visual language of art, cultures, different styles, eras, bars and clubs. These can be familiar to the target market, and align the brand with places or elements in culture the consumer is interested in. Branding refers to the whole experience of a retail environment, that’s why marketing is said to project lifestyles as opposed to just a theme. It is not just marketing one idea; it is an entire ideal encouraged by the brand. Customers are encouraged to linger within the space and interact with the elements designed specifically for them. The entire experience is important to create a bond between consumer and retailer. The customer becomes familiar with the brand and is enticed by the retail spaces familiarity as well as comforting atmosphere. This relationship between consumer and brand can be aided by cultural influence that the customer recognises. They see the brand as similar to their own tastes or preferences, through simple visual tools. Many expensive fashion brands use the visual recognition of art galleries, large spaces and simple one off designs to encourage an up-market feel within their retail spaces. The use of art within a store suggests exclusivity, the consumer feels as though they are receiving something through the eyes of the brand, which is just for them. It’s a marketing tool that connotes the brand as up-market and luxurious. Consumers are now design literate and actively interact with advertising tools. They determine meanings from it, depending on what they want to resolve in their lives.

River Island Brand

The River Island brand is advertised as being affordable with a highend, luxurious feel, it often affiliates itself with like-minded high-end brands such as fashion magazines. River Island is very British at heart, as well as being diverse from anything else on the high street. They have a large in-house design team who constantly work to produce, up-to-the-minute glamorous garments. There targeted markets are middle-class working individuals, who live for fashion and the weekends. They want a brand that can represent their casual look as well as provide them glamorous eveningwear.

As well as resembling the glitz and glamour of nightclubs in city locations, the signs appear to be inspired by Tracey Emin’s work, a controversial British artist. She has experimented with neon lights to present her hidden prose within the art world. The light installations often contain heartfelt messages from Tracey herself, who is better known for producing occasionally scandalous, always interesting and symbolic images of her troubled past. She has had a big impact on the art world and has brought realism to an often over-glamorised world of pictures. Tracey herself relates to the values of the brand, whilst being an artist and as already mentioned art can encourage a brand to feel exclusive and up-market, values I have already identified as being a part of the River Island brand. The realism Tracey provides within her truthful pieces also provides insight to the fashion brand, as they know where their roots are, deep in the heart of Britain.

These brand values are advertised through collaborations with similar brands such as Elle Magazine, and Pacha Ibiza, a high-end, well sought after nightclub in Ibiza. They have an element of fun within their marketing, are carefree, retro and incredibly urban. They reflect the zeitgeist of the times and the needs of their audience. This can be seen throughout their designed retail spaces, the urban element of the brand is reflected in the rustic bricked wall of all of their stores. They stick to a straight floor plan, making use of the walls to draw attention to the urban feel, by using fixtures and fittings to present the clothes. The straight floor plan minimises the presence of staff, so the consumer feels as though they are free to roam the shop, everything is easy to find and similar pieces are located together for an easy, carefree shopping experience. Such as casual wear, eveningwear, work wear, accessories, bikinis etc. The graphics and signage used throughout the store to direct the consumer to certain areas, or make things easier to find resemble fonts and arrangements used by nightclubs. The women’s accessories section is lit up from behind to draw attention to the sign and location.


Collection of Trends Womenswear

After identifying emerging fashion trends that will correspond with my British Fairytale theme, I have looked to high street brands to create a collection of the types of fashion garments and key pieces I would like to use within my window display.

Summer 2012


These images were taken directly from the Pageant Princess trend identified by Topshop, I think these types of pieces will work well with my proposed idea British Fairytale. I like the flirty, feminine style of the button up peter pan collared dresses, as well as the colourful full 50’s style skirts of the dresses on the left. The yellow dress is the look I am going for, embellishment, bright and feminine. The jacquard skirt in the left hand corner also works well with my theme, as it has a royal quality.


I chose these statement pieces from the River Island website, they relate to my chosen theme of British Fairytale as well as the trends identified previously by River Island (Lace, The Modern Mermaid). I have chosen high shine glamour pieces to represent my royal theme, everything is either jewelled, sequinned or contains brocade sections. The lacey pastel coloured pieces also work well with my fairytale theme.

River Island

Summer 2012

Collection of Trends



Collection of Trends Menswear

After identifying emerging fashion trends that will correspond with my British Fairytale theme in menswear, I have looked to high street brands to create a collection of the types of fashion garments and key pieces I would like to use within my window display.

Summer 2012River Island

After considering emerging menswear trends identified by River Island, I have compiled a collection of pieces that I would like to use within my window display. I have chosen candy coloured items to correspond with the pastel coloured womenswear trend/window, as well as key pieces for summer. I really like the compilation of the polo necks and chinos, and these will take a strong place within my menswear window. I may use colour blocking to really emphasise the pastel trend, as seen here with the orange coloured chinos and paler peach coloured polo.


This is a smarter compilation of pieces from the River Island menswear collection. I plan to use simple t-shirts, teamed with skinny jeans, chinos or smart trousers, combined with dramatically smarter blazer jackets. Although the colour palette will still resemble washed out simple pastels. Grey will be a big statement colour within my menswear window, as it takes centre stage against the wash of colourful pastels.

River Island

Summer 2012 Menswear

Collection of Trends 31

Visualising Ideas Mannequins


Colour Palette


Identified by my visit to two different River Island stores in major cities, the brand thoroughly endorses the use of mannequins within their visual displays and these are integrated throughout the store. Therefore to follow the visual merchandising tools already used by the brand, I will also be employing the use of the human form. They are the ideal way to present clothes, as they interact with the consumer on a sub-conscious level, by confirming how the clothes would look in a real life circumstance.

I’ve already stated that I will be using crowns on the mannequins, these will be slightly tilted to represent the average joe withan eye for the extraordinary. Adhering to brand values in that they provide luxurious fashion pieces at affordable prices for the working-class consumer.

As already addressed on previous trend pages, I will be using pastel colours to adhere to current and emerging trends both in menswear and womenswear for summer 2012. This will be the main palette shown on the fashion pieces used within the window and interior displays.

As well as the crowns, I intend to use expensive, glamorous and vintage appearing furniture, this will resemble my royal, fairytale theme and address the vintage connotations within the brand. I’d like to use a throne within the window display that would be upholstered in fun, pastel coloured fabrics.

I will also be using coloured props, such as apples and upholstered furniture. These are to represent both the fairytale and royal element of my theme.

I plan on creating a background that resembles iconic Britain, however this is something I still need to experiment with later on in the portfolio. At present, I would like to use the English flag to represent the British element of my theme and alter the colours of the flag somewhat, as seen on previous pages when I looked to the make up brand Rimmel for inspiration.

To relate to the British Fairytale theme, I have come to the decision after thorough research, to use crowns on all or some of the mannequins within the window display and integrated throughout the store. I think it is the most ideal way of addressing my theme and visually impacting the audience what the theme resembles. The crowns will each be different and represent a different status of royalty, Queen, King, Prince, and Princess. This will also be present in the hierarchy of mannequins, focusing on height and depth; the focal point will adorn the largest crown of them all. I will later be addressing these ideas through drawing designs, from there I hope it will become clear what way will be best to present the idea as well as the trends previously discussed.

As well as the vintage, royal references, I would like to use apples to symbolise my original thoughts when addressing the zeitgeist of 2012. These will represent the fairytale theme, whilst hinting at a Snow White undertone. I would like the apples to appear glamorous, so they will either be dipped in glitter or jewelled, much like one of the pictures featuring on my Snow White/Fairytale mood board. These may only be an occasional reference within the window, but will be fully fledged around the interior design.

The background will also adhere to the colour palette, either as a greyscale or a more colourful British flag.


However I am also considering using a photo montage piece to be projected on to my background, although this may pose technical difficulty as well as copyright issues The montage will contain images of royalty, such as the Queen’s Jubilee to celebrate 60 years on the throne. These will be both past and present, relating to the vintage connotations associated with the River Island brand.

River Island lights the front window displays from above, casting light over the entire window and all it contains. This enables consumers to see everything the window has to display as well as igniting the fashion garments. I will also be sticking to the same lighting as used by River Island, conforming to brand values as well as lighting the entire window, so everything can be seen.


Initial Ideas

enticing a consumer inside and encouraging them to stay there/come back. By putting the projection in the changing rooms it will entertain waiting consumers such as boyfriends or men who stereotypically get bored of the retail environment. However, I have experimented with altering the colours of the British flag and merging the colours of the new flag to fit with my proposed trend ideas of pastel colours, and dramatic jewelled pieces. I have mocked up a pastel coloured version of the British flag making the undertone of the flag a little messy, to fit with the casual side associated with the brand. I am very pleased with how it has turned out and think it will make the ideal impact on my theme as well as audience.


As previously discussed in visualising ideas, I would like to use expensive, vintage and luxurious furniture to fit with my British Fairytale theme, and to connote to the audience the identity of the brand. I have identified that the brand likes to be aligned with like-minded expensive brands, such as its constant collaborations with high-end fashion magazine Elle. I used the search engine google to generate some ideas of what types of furniture I could use, I was mainly looking for grand chairs that would be symbolic of the royalty theme. Although I already had a pre-set idea of how I would like the chairs to look, plush and quilted. I also wanted a wide range of chairs, from square to arched backs as well as circular. From the search I then drew up my own ideas.


I would also like to consider adding glitter or shiny materials to the flag, to also fit with the proposed trend ideas of dramatic, royal pieces. The flag needs to make a big impact on my audience, however it must not take the attention away from River Island’s garments.

After further consideration, I have decided against using the projection of a photo montage, as I feel it will take the attention away from the garments. As this is the most important aspect of the window, and ultimately what River Island is selling, I don’t think it will be suitable or encourage sales as well as a static background. Despite that this will generate initial attention to the window and relate to the theme, I don’t think it will encourage as many of the target market of River Island to venture inside the store. Although I do like the idea of merging different technologies with my theme, which has been seen a lot in new visual merchandising tools. The advancement of technology has begun to emerge with the visualising element of the merchandiser, and can be a great device to enhance the experience. For this reason, I would still like to consider using a video element within the store, possibly within the changing rooms. I feel it will fit with the ideal of


Drawing One This is my first drawing of my ideas for my proposed theme British Fairytale, I considered the already existing window space within the River Island Westfield’s Stratford store. The window provides much space and uses a background with a boxed ledge to the bottom as well as the inside wall to showcase accessories. The mannequins are set at all different angles so that passers by can see the River Island brand from any direction. I have followed the same ideal of layout projected by the brand when I visited in February, using the background with the boxed ledge to position

mannequins at different heights and angles, directing attention from consumers. I’ve also endorsed the theme of my brand, by using a union jack background, and an upholstered chair on the set. All of my mannequins are wearing crowns and I have drawn a design on the highest crown to represent the brand, by using it’s initials “RI”. I have also introduced the Snow White theme, by placing an apple in one of my mannequins hands. The prop isn’t too obvious, so doesn’t direct the attention away from my main theme but is also a

nice sub-conscious hint at the underlying Snow White element. I think my theme has been well addressed, and will be well received by the targeted River Island market. I feel it fits ideally with all of the brand values, representing fun, Britain, retro cool and vintage styled nostalgia.


Whilst drawing this image, and after dropping the idea of the projected photo montage as a background. I have thought about using the idea of the furniture as more solid, continuous and statement piece within my visual

Initial Ideas -

display. I have thought about using the chairs as pop art print, as well as in a 3D format, screwed into the back of my background. However, I don’t want the display to appear too 2D therefore, I plan on going forward with the idea of a 3D piece. I would like to use numerous chairs to completely fill the background, screwed into the stand up wall piece. With mannequins perched in different poses on the chairs, this will add many opportunities for the clothes to be showcased, as well as great height to my display. The visual effect should interest passers by and encourage them to stop, stare and go inside the store. There will many visual elements to the piece to impact the audience, even in those short few seconds of walking past. The Westfield Stratford display already uses a tall background with a box at the bottom of it that mannequins are laid on. This proposes a good basis for my own display and fixtures. I originally considered the background as a flat design with the chairs screwed in, although this will pose difficulty. As the chairs will be quite heavy, the probability of the flat background staying upright is hugely unlikely. Therefore I will be sticking to the already used choice of background within the River Island Stratford store, which poses a boxed ledge at the bottom of the display, which will support my background. This could work well with my idea of crowns and hierarchy as the mannequins will individually be placed at different heights. I had considered designing the set in a fixed consecutive style, with the chairs in straight lines and rows, possibly fitting between 6 and 9 on the background. However, I think the height and space of the proposed space will not accommodate such a large number on a small background. I also considered the consecutive style in terms of the brand and decided against it, due to it being too rigid and constrained. The brand represents a fun and carefree lifestyle, which would be represented within a strict environment.

Pen to Paper 35

Developing Ideas The Development

This is my second attempt at drawing my developed ideas for my proposed British Fairytale idea for River Island. I have attached the chairs to my background, with my mannequins posed on the furniture. I have drawn the mannequins at different angles to attract the attention of consumers walking in any direction. I really like how the higher chairs impact the overall display and the eye is drawn to the higher mannequin on the right, as discussed in my initial ideas of drawing attention to the hierarchy of mannequins. The model is also wearing the most luxurious or Queen crown, combined with the “RI” initials to represent the brand. This hierarchy can be followed around and down to the other mannequins within the piece. I have also used the far right wall as a place to display accessories, identified as a visual merchandising tool o the brand within my portfolio. I’m happy with how this layout has turned out, and will be using this as a basis to create my next and final visual window display. In the next drawing, I will anticipate the layout of mannequins and focus on the eye of the consumer, and where I plan on leading the eye.

Drawing Two

I will also add hints of colour that I plan to use within my piece, to bring the proposed display to life and give a clearer indication of my final idea. However, I think the overall general theme, positioning, background, lighting and height/width/ depth works very well. This will only be slightly tweaked in my final layout.


Thoughts This is my third attempt at drawing out my ideas for the British Fairytale theme, this time I chose to project my idea onto the menswear window. Stratford Westfield’s River Island store has a smaller section for the men’s wear window, then the larger space used for women’s wear. I really like how the idea has turned out and think it works very well with men’s wear, perhaps more so than women’s wear. I have teamed a smarter look with a slightly more summer fashion trend, however all the mannequins juxtaposed against the union jack are dressed more smartly, as I had envisioned that the British Fairytale would connote images of a prince charming type. I have also included the underlying Snow White theme, by using the symbolic statement prop of the apple, this will be covered in jewels to relate to the luxury of the trends endorsed and the glamour of the theme. All of the male mannequins are also adorning crowns, and I have stuck to my idea of hierarchy shown by the height order of the mannequins as well as the crowns. The consumer is instantly drawn too the main mannequin, on the top left, who has the statement “RI” crown, a resemblance to the brand. The eye then leads to the right and down to the left, like reading a book, where the hierarchy of status leads down to smaller, Prince like crowns. I have also still used the space on the inside wall to attract the attention of passers by; it’s a place to hang accessories, a major selling point of the River Island brand. This will make up the final design of my men’s wear window layout, I will later add colour to this to give further insight into how I envision the window display influencing the consumer.

Developing Ideas 37

In Store Integration Ideas for Integration I would like to fully integrate the idea of the British Fairytale throughout the entire store and have considered what elements I can use to achieve this. The idea of the crowns on all of the mannequins adds impact, and is a simple tool that can easily be integrated throughout the store as well as the jewelled apples. The store should provide a British Fairytale experience to all consumers, leaving them feeling bonded with the brand upon departure. I have picked statement locations within the Westfield’s Stratford store to provide an insight into how the store can be transformed to accommodate my British Fairytale theme. This is a location downstairs in women’s wear; it has a “VIP” sign, using the type of signage previously discussed in my Cultural Influences page. I thought the location was an ideal place to give an idea of how I envision my British Fairytale theme to be interpreted throughout the store. The sign offers the perfect compliment to my theme, boosting the royal connotations of the British Fairytale. I also anticipated that the curtain underneath the VIP light could be redesigned to envisage the British flag, possibly in glitter. I think this will add impact and further glamorise the theme as well as the store. It also adheres to brand values of being luxurious, British, and glitzy.


I have chosen the accessories boutique upstairs in the River Island Stratford store as it’s design already resembles a royal empire. The two white pillars give the perfect frame to a British Fairytale entrance and I have integrated the design of the theme into the accessories section. The jewelled apples will form the decorative part of the jewellery stands within the boutique, endorsing the British Fairytale theme throughout the store. They add glamour, glitz and a fairytale connotation to the boutique. Creating the perfect setting for visiting princesses.

In Store Integration 39

Final Idea

A British Fairytale


These are my final designs for my proposed idea of a British Fairytale, for the River Island Westfield’s Stratford window display. I have re-drawn the women’s wear so that I could change some of the fashion pieces I had drawn in the previous images. I also noticed that the River Island Westfield’s display, only used seven mannequins so I removed one of my own mannequins seen in the previous drawing, as I felt it wasn’t addressing the attention of the general public due to it’s slightly hidden location. I have added colour to the designs to give an idea of how the final display window may look when teamed with the proposed colour palette trend of the pastels. I am really pleased with how the final designs have turned out, I think they compliment the River Island brand values and the identity of the brand is interwoven with the theme. All of the connotations are delicately presented such as the Snow White element, and the crowns bring out the Fairytale theme. The flag is the statement piece within the window, other then the fashion pieces used. It really brings the whole window together and gives an instant direction to the target market, they are immediately aware of River Island’s British connotations being brought out in design. The flag also aids the audience’s eye into being directed around the window, starting at top left, and being drawn to the right. The target consumers read the window piece like a book.

A British Fairytale Final Idea 41

Bibliography Id=33057


Visual Merchandising Portfolio