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What's in a Window?

The shop window. Immediately people (we find) have two reactions when we say those words: "YAY!" And their eyes light up OR, alternatively a big sigh followed by an "eye roll". For decades visual merchandisers and shop keepers have produced impactful, inspiring, and informative windows. Historically windows have been big budget items, an art for some of the big brands and we all know that Holiday time is the pinnacle for sparkle, glitz, and jaw dropping installations. In contrast, to a shop keeper the production and design of a store window can seem overwhelming, costly, and time consuming. Often times when THE DUO are conducting store audits the windows are the most under-utilized space and are often a big missed opportunity.


Diane viewing the Saks Fifth Avenue Windows - Holiday December 2021, New York, NY


How to use 'em: When used correctly the shop window can literally be a deciding factor as to whether or not a passerby will enter your store or keep walking. Windows can set the tone and clearly communicate a theme or at the very least depict the brand and aesthetic that one can expect to find while inside. Often times people do not take time to think about the fun side or story telling angle that a window can offer. It is also essential to know how long the average viewer will be able to take in the window. Are people walking by leisurely in a more rural setting? Is it a fast paced urban area? Are the majority of people passing by in vehicles or on transit?



When to change 'em: Four to six weeks is the general rule. Nobody likes a stale display but with that being said if the merchandise is not moving then it can probably use an intervention earlier on. Alternatively, if products are moving and flying off of the shelves then new items may need to be integrated ASAP. It is best to set up a commercial calendar to anticipate changes and themes with some secondary 're-freshes' in-between. We personally love a small change every two weeks.



Bring in the help: THE DUO are naturally big fans of pooling resources. If budget allows of course hiring a true expert always pays off. Professionals come equipped and ready to transform the space while bringing almost any vision to life. Students or free-lancers who are especially trying to gain experience are usually willing to partner and that is always a win-win. The main benefit to asking an external resource to support with this task, is that the window will most likely be looked at in a completely different way than what is usually in place. Band together with other shops and create a cohesive theme for an even bigger impact.


Anthropologie: Monarch Butterfly Window For an amazing BTS video visit:



Elements we love:

A great back drop which could be a graphic or textured installation


Tag lines and themes


Lighting that looks great both day and night


Adding height with risers


Suspended elements for whimsy and flare


If mannequins are in the plan - make them great




BERGODORF GOODMAN's Iconic Holiday Windows.

(For full appreciation of what it takes to truly pull of a spectacular window this video is a great example of the many moving parts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeRrIdOXVow )



AR, VR with some NFT mixed in: More and more we will continue to see window spaces "be there, but not really there", and by that we mean: enter the world of technology. Faster than you can upload a tik-tok, retailers are beginning to play with AR and VR as a way to attract new and old audiences. And let's be honest those cel phones are not going to be put away anytime soon so why not integrate the experience too. Digital friendly window spaces are also smart ways to creatively use hoarding while a store is being built or renovated. While this space is exciting it does lend itself to a pocket of naysayers who are against this use, as it potentially could take away traditional roles. For the THE DUO we say give it a chance and embrace new tech while balancing it with the old. These evolutions can allow more sharing of information, offer a new pocket of creativity, and also allow for sustainable practices.


GUCCI - Holiday Windows 2017 - WindowsWear Walking Tour - New York, NY


Let us know your take on windows. What brands do you love the most for window inspo? What are your pain-points as retailers when working with them? How do you feel about technology being used?

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