Mimi Molly: Colour, Clothes and Visual Merchandising

Now’s the time when everyone’s biting their nails waiting for the Unis to make their decisions. Thinking about the future is a regular and scary thought, which I experience often! When researching into what I wanted to do for the future I was lucky enough to spend a few hours with Tom, a visual merchandiser of River Island menswear.

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There are many careers in fashion, however, if you’re creative but not the keenest of sewers a future career as a visual merchandiser could be for you. In a boiling day in July last summer, Oxford Street River Island, I met Tom on the shop floor; smart but casual clothes. It was hard to spot him amongst customers but he just seemed to fit into the image of someone working in fashion (stereotypical I know!). I soon learnt a visual merchandiser’s role involves the presentation of the clothes and shop, down to the colour of the clothes hangers! The job allows him to travel to find inspiration around the world; nipping off to Tokyo, Europe; spending 2 days in New York sneakily taking photos of other shop’s windows for inspiration. With the perks of a mini-cooper company car, this job does sound amazing! However, it’s not all play and no work, oh no! Tom has to get up in the early hours of the morning to arrange the shop in a new layout, take photos of his ideas, then moving everything back before opening times. If you want to succeed in this job you really have to come up with the goods, presenting original and popular ideas.

Inspiration can be found in anything and this is why so much travel is involved in the job, as Tom said one of his ideas, writing on chalk boards, which were transferred to all stores, was discovered when visiting a market shop. It’s about being random and fun to attract customers, like the giant giraffe gracing the front of the shop. By no means should the business side not be overlooked; it is equally about making money. Everything in the shop has been positioned for a reason, for example sale items at the back and expensive items at the front, so customers have to see the expensive clothes, very clever. The mindset and phycology of the customer dictates everything, and store colour schemes and clothes arrangements are changed every week to remain fresh and memorable. You really have to have a talent to pick trends before they appear, as Tom has to work 6 months in advance!

So if you can relate to having these talents then maybe this this job’s for you!  So how did Tom achieve the role as visual merchandiser? He left school at 16, working on the shop floor of River Island and working his way up the ranks; A risky option that paid off in his favour. However, the profile of this job has been raised and there are now degrees catering fashion buying and visual merchandising. I found it really interesting and this would be perfect for budding fashionistas out there.

Published: 06/01/2014 for http://mimimolly.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/colour-clothes-and-visual-merchandising.html

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