The Role of a Retail Window Dresser

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Whether you're a visual merchandiser or a retail store owner, you've probably heard of a window dresser before. As the name suggests, this person is responsible for arranging product and other merchandising material either in a store's window or within the actual store. Window dressers play a pivotal role in the aesthetics of a retail store, setting the tone with proper displays. But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the job function of a window dresser.

What Is a Window Dresser?

It's important to note that not every store has a dedicated window dresser. It's not uncommon for some stores to set up their own window displays. Perhaps the owner wants to take a more hands-on approach to designing his or her displays. While there's certainly nothing wrong with this approach, window dressers often have skills and expertise to optimize product displays. And when product displays are properly optimized, it usually translates into more sale.

Window dressers typically either work for themselves as independent contractors, or they work for a larger network of visual merchandisers. A retail apparel store owner may contact the network, asking them to send a window dresser to help them set up and design their window display. 

When the window dresser arrives, he or she will begin to task of creating a brilliant display that encourages people to enter the store and buy the displayed product. The ultimate goal is to create a realistic inteprettation of the store owner's vision while arranging the product and props in a manner that encourages sales.

Famous Window Dressers

Gene Moore was one of the most prolific window dressers of all time. He moved from his home town of Birmingham, Alabama to New York City during the 1930s, at which point he found a job working at the retail department store Bonwit Teller & Co. After working here for sixteen years, he joined Tiffany's on Fifth Avenue, where he worked until the age of 84 as a window dresser. According to his Wikipedia page, Moore designed roughly 5,000 windows throughout his career at Tiffanys. He was known for using stylish, artistic elements in his displays, including those from the visual arts movement icon Andy Warhol.

Moore wasn't the only famous window dresser, however. Other popular names include Raymond Loewy, Giorgio Armani, Roseanne Barr, Simon Doonan, Christine McVie, Victor Hugo.

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  • George Blitzer
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