Store windows - new part of The Man-Made Project

When I walked to class through the city this morning I did a bit of window shopping while all stores were still closed. I love this quiet time, you get to really look at the displays and think about what they show there, without having to move on because you're late or move because someone is standing in your way.

What I recognized was that most stores had nearly the same window decoration. A picture in the back, some trademarks and mannequins with the current collections and price signs. There are also bare windows with just some pictures or trademarks.


I can't help but wonder when I see these imagination-free store windows. Times are hard, especially for fashion stores. People spend less money, but are still trying to look different. Which means that the big players can't churn out tons of the same clothes at a low price, because people won't buy. And still the stores have clothing that is mostly the same style (which does make sense to a certain point) and they have often the same prices and to make matters even worse for them, they have exactly the same window dressing. This is something I don't understand. Why would you want to have the same window as everyone else has?

There is exactly one store which has a totally different and styled window. The store is a bit more expensive but essentially it sells the same stuff as everyone else.

(http://www.sitebits.com/images/2006/nyc_shop_window_3.jpg, not the store I was talking about)

In the last century (sounds weird, doesn't it?) you could learn the occupation of the store window dresser in Germany. This job is long gone. So yes, it does cost money. But the window is still the first impression your store leaves, shouldn't you as storekeeper or -owner do everything to make the potential customer recognize you? Don't you want to draw your customers in. And make it absolutely clear which store you are?

There are two chain stores, no make this three chain stores, who leave the same first impression. Black window background, 2 or 3 mannequins and some interior stuff (like a frame or a vase). If you wouldn't see the storename, you wouldn't know what chain this is. The three chains are promod, mexx and ah I don't remember the name of the third one. Not a good sign for this company if you ask me. (It's Mango, I checked later.)

Even the big department stores like Karstadt or Galeria Kaufhof, are just plain boring. And I bet that in every city they have the same boring windows.

In any case this inspired me to begin a new photography project as part of The Man-Made Project. I will take pictures of store windows, to show the world the normal, boring and imaginative ones. Store windows come and go, they are fleeting pictures of fashion, imagination and cities. Time to preserve them in time and watch them change. I've started to take the pictures today and I will do so from now on. I even took some window pictures last week without knowing that I would start this project. I will post the store windows pics here, starting this weekend.

Do you recognize nicely done store windows? What do you think about them? What do you like and what do you hate?

1 comment:

  1. I love this project. I do store windows periodically -- actually, the store windows of Bergdorfs, which i find to be the most creative of the stores in Manhattan. I cannot wait to see what you post . . .