Students to create show-stopping window displays at competition final

The up-and-coming talents in visual merchandising will be celebrated later this month at the skillVM Final at the In-Store Show, 29-30 June.

The finalists in the national visual merchandising competition organised by Skillsmart Retail, the Sector Skills Council for Retail, will battle it out to be named best emerging visual merchandisers in the UK and have their designs recreated in a high street store this summer.

At the heats in May, competitors built a 3D scale model of their designs interpreting the theme colour blocking or extraordinary from the ordinary, depending on their entry category. The best four teams in the Higher and Advanced categories were chosen to attend the final, where they will transform their designs into a full-size display.

The teams have been given four weeks and £200 to source, order and prepare materials for their displays. At the final, each team will have four hours to install their windows.

A team of expert judges will assess each design based on: how well it meets the brief; originality and commerciality; technical execution; and use of budget and materials.

In each category, the judging panel will choose the Gold, Silver and Bronze award winners. The two Gold winning teams will have their designs recreated in Peter Jones’ windows this summer with the store’s visual merchandising team. 

skillVM head judge, Alan Westcott said: “What we have seen so far from the competitors has been very impressive with each team producing an original and creative design at the heats. In the final, the teams must transform these ideas into a full-scale display. The winners will be a team that produces something that wows the judges, is technically strong and most importantly displays the products in a way that would encourage customers to buy them.”

Also at the show will be the UK visual merchandising competitor who will be competing at WorldSkills 2011, the largest international vocational skills competition in the world.  The competitor will be creating an extravagant window display and giving visitors hints and tips about visual merchandising.

Anne Seaman, Chief Executive at Skillsmart Retail said: “This year’s skillVM Final promises to be a very exciting competition.  We have some excellent visual merchandising talent who will undoubtedly create some fantastic displays. I wish all teams the best of luck and look forward to seeing who wins the Gold prize. skillVM is an excellent way to raise the profile of visual merchandising as a creative, technical skill and encourage young people to consider a career in the exciting and fast-paced world of retail.”

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