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FIT Students Dress Saks Windows

Six teams studying merchandising display competed for bragging rights for best window design.

WINDOW DRESSING: Saks Fifth Avenue’s 49th Street windows look professional, but they’re the work of students. Six teams studying merchandising display from the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising competed for bragging rights for best window design.

First-place winners received a one-day mentorship with the Saks visual display team, watching and assisting in the making and breakdown of store windows. The groups had several hours to complete their installations, which were made with materials donated by the store’s suppliers. The only caveats: all the props and fixtures had to be white and windows had to feature contemporary fashion from the store’s fifth floor.

The contest was judged by Saks’ vice president of visual merchandising Matt Reed and Alison Embrey Medina, executive editor of Design:Retail magazine, which partnered with Saks for the event.

“My name is on a Saks window,” said winner Meredith Christensen Jennings, who worked with Linda Gjolaj to create a spectacle of double-height white fringe and a fringe canopy to set off the clothes. “We knew from the get-go what we wanted to do. We bartered with other people to get the right materials.”

“One of the things about a great window is it doesn’t have to mean anything,” said Reed, surveying the work.