Culture

Looking Through The Window: The Annual CR X RMIT Project

Above: Nikki and Kate prepping the Carlton window.

Every year, the CR visual merchandising team brief in six talented RMIT students to create a window display that reflects the colours and mood of our May women’s apparel collection. Here we talk to each of the students about their thoughts on the project and take a little look behind the scenes.


Emma

Can you explain the idea behind the colours you'll be using in the windows?

"We chose these colours to reflect the tones of the apparel as well as compliment and work in harmony with the clothing range. With the large scale of the organic shapes, we felt it was important to focus on the subtlety of texture and layering with a clean, simple approach to the colours. A white background was chosen to emphasise the simplicity of the shapes and overall design."

Above: Emma wears horizontal rib knit and wide leg pant.

Shakira

What made you decide to study visual merchandising?

"I was first exposed to the idea of Visual Merchandising through my career in retail management. As my career progressed I began to be invited to conferences with buyers to see new range presentations, and, most importantly, invited to collaborate in stores across Victoria to help merchandise and revamp stores. It was at this point I realised that Visual Merchandising was the only part of my job that I genuinely loved doing, so I applied to study VM. I love how creative you can be and how you can tell a story through a window or design to create an experience for the customer."

Above: Shakira wears cashmere high neck knit.

Lu

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced along the way?

"Designing the surfaces for the accessories was difficult as we were already happy with the composition of the large shapes and didn't want to overcrowd the window or introduce many more elements."

Above: Nikki, Kate and Mark in the window.

Kate

Could you talk us through the production process for the windows?

"The prototypes of the shapes were cut at RMIT on the laser cutter. We then applied the finishes to them – paint, cork and linen – so that we could get an understanding of how the shapes and textures worked together.

"The shapes, shelves, floor panels and plinths were all then cut to scale on a CNC router externally. Once they arrived at the Country Road workshop we started applying the final finishes to all the different shapes. We then stored the pieces, ready for installation day."

Above: Lu wears mohair rib knit.

Nikki

What is the key lesson you'll take away from this experience?

"For me I can’t nail it down to just one lesson. There were several processes along the way that created many obstacles and research opportunities:"

"Using all the skills we have learnt from our teachers, mentors and Country Road staff and applying them to a larger scale."

Above left: Nikki wears drop shoulder shirt and sateen jean. Above right: Kate wears nep alpaca knit, drop crotch pant and chrissy zip sneaker.

"Getting to know my colleges, their strengths and being able to use all our knowledge and skills to the best of our abilities."

"Working as a team to achieve deadlines and milestones."

"Product, Production and Supplier research."

"Supplier timelines and outsourcing "

Above: Lu and Shakira constructing the window.

Kathryn

How did you work together to come up with the concept behind the design for the window?

"We all work really well together as a team, which made it easy for us to discuss ideas and make decisions. After the initial project briefing we each developed our own individual concepts for the window and shared them with the team to get feedback. Over the weeks, we broke up into pairs to develop three strong, and very different, concepts: organic forms, loom, and large scale knit. These were presented to The CR team and from there only one was chosen."

Above: Kathryn wears boxy stripe knit.

"Once our final theme of organic forms was chosen, we all came together to help fully create this concept. The concept comes from one of Nikki’s very first ideas that she presented to the team in the first week. Everyone loved this idea and we kept coming back to it. Everyone was really happy to focus on this theme and develop the window with all the details to go with it. We all brought our own unique ideas and talents to the table and through weekly meetings we were able to easily progress and see our concept come to life. We all found it an extremely enjoyable process and had a lot of fun working as a team."

Above: Nikki, Kathryn, Kate and Emma.