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Tony Morgan

... is the author of several publications on visual merchandising - amongst others, showcasing his work as Head of Visual Merchandising at department store Selfridges for 18 years, where he travelled the world examining their different store concepts. We met Tony for a personal talk in London!

Tony Morgan

Published at Laurence King, Tony Morgan's Books showcase the most exciting, innovative and successful window displays worldwide and offer inspiration and guidance on how to create eye-catching window designs. After working almost two decades for Selfridges in London, today he teaches Visual Merchandising at the London College of Fashion and also at Philip Green’s Arcadia Fashion Academy. He gets invited from around the world to give lectures and share his expertise. He just returned from Beijing. His next destinations will be India to give a seminar at the In-store Asia conference. 

 

We've met with Tony to catch up on his latest projects, new trends and challenges in visual merchandising, his personal London-Insiders, also revealing his current reading list. 

 

When did you first have an interest in window design?

Not until I started Art College at the age of 16. I enrolled on a course and had no idea what I would be studying- turned out is was a two year window dressing course. I just wanted to go to Art College, I hated school.  

 

How did you decide to write a book about visual merchandising ?

I gave a lecture at the London College of Fashion and was approached by them to write a book. I felt quite honoured, the book has sold well and be translated into 9 different languages and is now in its second edition. The second book is doing well too.

 

Which brand do you think is at the moment spot on in visual merchandising?

I’m still a big fan of Selfridges, they don’t just fold product neatly but introduce quirky and innovative in-store displays that add to the atmosphere of the store.

 

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What is the key for you for a successful window design?

A strong concept with a good colour scheme, elaborate props and strong focal point that leads the eye into the window. Good lighting is also beneficial but is often sadly an afterthought.

 

How do you think has the Internet changed the approach of VM and the fashion industry?

To some customers the Internet offers the first introduction to the brand. It’s important that the in-store experience lives up to their expectations. Many e-tailors enlist the help of the VM team to style models for their fashion shoots.

 

How difficult was it for you to go from being a professional visual merchandiser to become a tutor?

Quite easy, my first few lessons were pitched far too high for the age group I was teaching. I used technical terms and examples of stores that 16 year olds had never heard of. I had to re-work all of my lessons. I’m now a lot more confident about what I want my students to learn and how to engage with them.

 

WindowDisplay_Final_Page_19

 

Where do you find your inspirations?

Travel mostly and spending time with friends in the retail industry. I read a lot and enjoy visiting stores.

 

Which City is at the moment the most interesting one for you and why?

I’ve just returned from Beijing, I was invited there to give a lecture. I stopped near 798, which is the contemporary art district; originally the area was a series of clandestine factories designed in collaboration between the Germans and Chinese during the 1950’s. Now it a cultural center with amazing galleries, restaurants and shops. The super brands have also opened with incredible store design and shop fits.

 

Which insider tips would you recommend a cosmopolitan traveller who visits London?

Walk around the City at the weekend when everything is closed and the streets are empty. The mix of traditional and contemporary architecture is inspiring.

 

WindowDisplay_Final_Page_33

 

Where can we find you, when you are not working?

In the Henry Holland pub on Duke Street by Selfridges and the Wheatsheaf on Rathbone Place. I am a great fan of the British pub- the smoking ban has ruined the experience and atmosphere with the majority of customers standing on the street instead of sitting inside.

 

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading the Kite Runner again, I can’t find anything interesting that new. I have a kindle and read a book a week but have had to revisit old favorites recently.

 

Which fashion designers inspired your and who do you keep an eye on?

I like the obvious ones, McQueen, Prada, Louis Vuitton. I am a huge fan of Dries Van Noten, I like his use of colour and texture. His attention to detail is remarkable.

 

How do you describe your own style in three words?

Tall, dark and handsome – I could not resist!

 

What was your latest purchase and where?

A pair of Belstaff boots from Mr Porter.

 

If your life had a soundtrack which one would it be?

Wake me up before you go-go!

 

Which Accessories do you always have with you?

My wallets, a beaten up old Prada one.

 

Your top trend of 2012?

Anything to do with the Olympics. I’m over it already!

 

What is next for you? Any new projects or plans?

I’m off to India in 2 weeks to give a lecture. I haven’t been for a few years and can’t wait. I have also been invited to give a talk in Argentina over Easter. I am in the process of looking for a new house, which will stress me out because I have lived here for 25 years now.

 

Thanks a lot for your time Tony!

19 / 06 / 2012 // by Gesine Bregler

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