Visual Merchandising Students at Windsor College.

The British Display Society recently visited Windsor College and spent a day with their Visual Merchandising students.

Windsor College gained the BDS “Centre of Excellence” Award as they offer great facilities and superb VM syllabus for their students. This Award is open to any educational establishment that offers courses in Visual Merchandising.

Myself and my BDS colleagues Barbara Chapman and John Abbate gave the students a talk/presentation which was well received by the tutors and the students.

It was a pleasure to listen and talk to the students as to what inspires them, what motives them and to view the students work. Their work ranged from initial sketches, designs to model making to prop building to dressing the mock-up windows.

Given the level of passion and enthusiasm, it proves that there is certainly a generation of inspiring and up-and-coming Visual Merchandisers in the making.

It is so vital that anyone wishing to move into the VM industry must undertake VM training and learn all the principles. Don’t forget that the BDS offer an On-Line VM Course, which is a great start to the industry. Check out the website and sign up. At the end of the course, you will receive a recognised Certificate and you will become a Member of The British Display Society.

You can also follow the BDS on Facebook & Instagram.



Selfridges – Happy New Decade


Selfridges in Oxford Street have launched into 2020 with a storewide concept entitled Happy New Decade.

With an abundance of vibrant colours, stunning window concepts and eye-catching displays around the store, Selfridges are helping customers look towards a brighter future by celebrating the most joy-inducing ideas in Fashion, Beauty and Home.

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Merry Christmas from Creative Download

Creative Download would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the readers of its weekly Visual Merchandising Blog in 2019.

It’s a light-hearted view of retail from various parts of the world including the great city of London which is renowned for its excellent retail store windows and instore visual merchandising.

There are major changes due in 2020 for Creative Download. There will be the launch of new and exciting website which is currently being built. The weekly VM blog will continue although in due course it will be moved over to the new website. Current followers do not have to do anything. You will continue to receive the weekly updates.

In addition to this Creative Download is working on a number of new projects/contracts both here in the UK and overseas so quite an exciting time for the business and retail.

The current Creative Download website is still running and enquiries are always welcome. Simply scan the QR code to visit the website.

Don’t forget you can also follow Creative Download on Facebook and Instagram.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

With Kind Regards

Iain Kimmins FBDS

(Fellow of The British Display Society)



Christmas at Claridge’s in Mayfair

Capturing the glamour, romance and timeless traditions of Christmas, Claridge’s in Mayfair unveils its 10th anniversary tree. The work of legendary designer Christian Louboutin.

This immersive installation invites guests on a journey, transforming the lobby into a frosted forest. At its heart is a traditional tree in gold and red, dressed with fairy lights and gingerbread stilettos – and topped with a gold-leaf crown.

Alongside the tree, The Loubi Express is stationed in the lobby. Passengers are invited to step aboard this enchanting red carriage and take a seat in restful red velvet interiors, where just four tables create an intimate setting. Enjoy a glass – or share a bottle – of Laurent-Perrier or try one of an exclusive collection of cocktails specially created with Christian Louboutin. Accompanying the drinks are canapés and a selection of Claridge’s Bar sharing dishes – all served to your lamplit table by the Cocktail Conductor.


Selfridges – Future Fantasy Christmas

The theme, “Future Fantasy – A Christmas For Modern Times”, is seen across the Selfridges stores including London, Birmingham, Manchester and online.

The London store display took a multi-specialist team over 500 hours to produce with over 100 people putting together the windows, working non-stop rotating shifts for 10 days.

Each window at its Oxford Street, London store is either an symbolic representation of a well-known fairytale, such as Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks and Rapunzel, or features one particular iconic element from one of them, showcasing a “futuristic aesthetic treatment and a softer magical narrative.

Selfridges London’s biggest triple-sided window at the corner of Oxford Street and Orchard Street features a magical shipwrecked feast amongst the waves, with giant magical moon and moving boat and oars, reimagining the boat scene from The Owl and The Pussycat.

A giant 1.5 tonne, 42ft-high mirrored Christmas tree hangs in the Oxford Street store’s central atrium – projecting light across the store. Inside the store you’ll find a 1.5tonne, 13metre high mirrored Christmas Tree, which hands in the Oxford Street store’s central atrium. It comes alive through a dazzling light show projected on its surface.

The Foodhall have a sumptuous array of Christmas food goodies on offer.  The Christmas concept continues in the Foodhall with an abundance of dressed garlands using silver and gold baubles. I feel that the green garlands and gold baubles are not in keeping with the modern concept.

Lit garlands showcase each window on the exterior of the store, but can you imagine how spectacular these would have been if they were dressed with blue and silver baubles.

Don’t forget you can follow Creative Download on Facebook and Instagram.


Harvey Nichols turns Scandinavian.

Christmas 2019 at Harvey Nichols, this iconic Knightsbridge department store, turns to Scandinavia for inspiration. Animations of the Northern Lights have been projected onto its façade presenting what inhouse designers hope will be a “photo-worthy moment”.

The window displays themselves are equally Scandi-influenced. Mannequins sporting Harvey Nichols Christmas collection sit within cosy scenes with handcrafted cedar slat panels, draped with festive garlands, framing the windows like the Nordic night sky.

The idea behind the displays was to create a series of contrasts: light and shadow, cold and warmth and nostalgia and modernity. Harvey Nichols are noted for their superb window concepts and this is certainly true with this current scheme.

Don’t forget you can follow Creative Download on Facebook & Instagram.



Christmas at Fortnum & Mason

Cats take centre stage at Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas windows this year, which were recently unveiled.

The feline characters are dressed in the traditional Fortnum’s coats, in a nod to the artist Edward Bawden’s 1950’s Christmas illustrations.

The cats offer an insight into life behind the scenes at the world-famous department store and are shown in the 8 festive window displays, spread across the front windows that face onto Piccadilly.

Each window depicts the various stages of festive preparations from hampers, mince pies to creating Yule Logs.

The sides windows are sumptuously dressed showcasing the fine food and merchandise that the store is tempting Christmas shoppers with.

The interior of the store is just as impressive with its opulent Christmas trees, superb merchandise grouping in the various showcases on the staircases and the eye-catching atrium display. This is retail theatre at its best.

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Harrods – The Kingdom of Christmas

Each year department stores in London compete with each other with their festive window displays in an attempt to draw customers into their stores. The next few weekly blogs will feature Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols and Liberty of London.

Harrods was founded in 1849 and has transformed itself into an emporium of magic under its theme for this year “The Kingdom of Christmas”

The concept was inspired by children’s writers such as Philip Pullman with the use of animals as figures of magic and escapism. With its series of wintry scenes and festival animals, each Brand helps deliver seasonal gifts.

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The New Louis Vuitton Store – London

French fashion house Louis Vuitton has reopened its London flagship on New Bond Street following many months of renovations to reveal a colourful retail destination housing the designer brand’s womenswear, menswear, accessories, and a selection of bespoke pieces exclusive to the store.

The new 17,500 square foot store at 17-20 New Bond Street is the transformation of combining two different buildings into one location. The instant airy feeling when customers step inside is highlighted by the double-height ceiling, a large skylight, and a sweeping double helix shape oak staircase.

The London flagship is much more than just a retail boutique, the fashion house explained that it has been designed to be a luxurious “travel destination”, with changeable gallery spaces, and artwork from 25 artists by the likes of Campana Brothers, Tracey Emin, Annie Morris and Sarah Crowner.

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Why not study Visual Merchandising?

After several years working in retail in my early 20’s, I had a complete career change and studied The British Display Society Visual Merchandising course. It was definitely time for a career change.

This was the start to a successful and varied career. My first role as a VM Junior at the World’s most famous department store Harrods, otherwise known as the Corner shop in Knightsbridge. I spent many happy years at the store rising to VM Manager. After Harrods, I worked at Selfridges in Oxford Street as VM Manager for a number of years.

Fast forward 20 years and I now run my own Visual Merchandising business – Creative Download. During this time, I have worked on some amazing freelance projects in New York, Shanghai, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Singapore.   I had no idea that career change and studying The British Display Society Visual Merchandising Course would open up so many opportunities.

I certainly didn’t think I would end up being the Chairman of The British Display Society.

So, if you are considering a change of career then why not sign up and study Visual Merchandising with the BDS On-Line Course. The course is £490 which is payable either up-front or payments can be made over 10 months at £49.00. On successful completion of the course you will be awarded a Certificate accredited by the BDS. This will be a valuable addition to your CV whether you are already working in the industry, looking for an extra qualification, or keen to obtain a position in VM for the first time.

In addition to the On-Line VM Course, the BDS can create bespoke VM Courses for retailers and other organisations. This is a great way for us to train you staff in a classroom setting. Do enquire with us.

If you already work in the Visual Merchandising industry, then do join the BDS as a Member. It is a great way to network with other Visual Merchandisers and support the industry. There is also the opportunity to showcase your work on our Social Media sites and in our quarterly VM Spotlight magazine. Although we are UK based, our members are world-wide.

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