anthropologie summer windows

by Grace Bonney

when i was in college i had fantasies of being either a window display designer or a specializing in restaurant design. i wanted so desperately to think of wild ideas (that probably wouldn’t work for residential interior design) and do them on a big scale, possibly involving repetition. so i think the first time i saw an anthropologie window in the city i just about cried. it was everything i’d ever wanted to do, and i spent my first year at design*sponge trying to track down their window designers to interview them. over the years i’ve been fortunate to work with some of them at d*s (and for our wedding!) and i’m always excited to hear from people at anthro about their plans for summer windows.

unlike a lot of national stores, each anthro shop has its own small team of artists that do all of the display at their location. graphic designers, painters, and sculptors all work together to create the unique designs you see on display. this season the anthro teams are focusing on larger than life, woven, wooden sculptures and have spent over six weeks to come up with their shop’s individual take on the idea. the anthro team was kind enough to share some images from their shops this summer and i was excited to share them here. i’m just such a huge fan of the talented artists that work there and wanted to give them a big thumbs up. i can’t wait to check out what my local union square shop did this week…. [thanks, amanda!]

CLICK HERE for more beautiful woven window displays after the jump!

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  • I worked at a So Cal Anthro store until recently (I got too busy at my “real” job – so sad!). At our store, things that were to be “damaged out” – ie unsaleable because of damage – were further destroyed and thrown away. Like, a broken plate was smashed further or a badly torn shirt was torn more. I guess so they could not be “liberated” from the dumpster;) This stuff was disposed of, which sometimes seemed sad because I’d often liked to have reused the fabric to make into cushions or something. Things that had minor damage were usually just marked down.
    However, our dimed out merchandise was never destroyed. It was sent away and we know was sold at a reseller, which we always were dying to know more about. Now I know! I’m taking a trip to Gabriels!
    I would like to see Anthro as a company place more emphasis on sustainable practices. Our visual team was really good about trying to save and re-use things (partially because they do all this amazing stuff with a very very small budget – you would not believe), but I don’t feel like there was a real focus on recycling, etc from head office.

  • I should add that our VM tead was always really good about letting us take home items they were done with – like plants and decor. I have some huge plywood christmas decorations in my house from a few years ago – all my Anthro friends have bits and pieces of window displays at home.

  • Beautiful displays! I love that their VM team always uses the simplest materials to make these amazing displays! The true test of an artist in my opinion:)
    And it is very much my dream job also!

  • The images are awesome! Anthropologie displays are always so amazing…they never fail to get me super excited about design! As a structural engineer constantly seeking a creative outlet I often go to my local Anthropologie for inspiration! If the design team ever needs structural consultation…I’d totally be up for it! : )

  • I volunteered at a women’s shelter in the Dallas area for 3 years and we frequently distributed Anthro clothes to women in the job placement program. Tags were supposed to be removed beforehand but there were always a few that were missed.

    I have also purchased damaged clothes at deep discounts from Anthro. $10.00 for a $200+ dress that had a broken zipper. Thankfully I sew!

  • I second Janell’s comment about the last window display. They’re all fantastic, but the last one is amazing!

  • The whole store is amazing. I live in Melbourne so i’ve only ever been in 3 stores which was in 2006 and i quite literally wanted to live in them…amazing stuff!!

  • I am a current manager at an Anthropologie store and I assure everyone we only discard merchandise that is unrepairable. We donate items that are in good shape or in need of minor repairs to our local Salvation Army. Even our unsold holiday ornaments are donated to local charities as well as some of our larger display creations. Anthropologie is a wonderfully creative and socially responsible company to work for and I would hate for your readers to be misinformed.

  • Just a small footnote to this thread: there’s a book called The Bird Catcher by Laura Jacobs (a Vanity Fair writer) about creating window displays.

  • A basket weavers dream window display! I’ve always loved their catalogs and their windows are indeed inspiring. Thanks for posting these beauties.

  • I have worked in management at both Urban and Anthro and we made a huge effort to deeply discount things until they sold as to not waste. Broken housewares like plates and glasses are obviously thrown away because of the danger of having cutomers handle broken ceramics and glass. Things that just won’t sell on the floor are sent off to be resold, I have never seen anyone intentionally destroy clothing. Also anthro, urban, and free people clothing can all be found at rugged warehouse and other discount places. Holiday items are donated at the end of every season. I have read though quite a few of the articles claiming the destruction of items and they keep quoting the same few people.

  • Hi, for all the people that asked who comes up with the windows ideas. Well, I worked at Anthropologie doing the windows display (I’m a Graphic Designer) and the main idea comes from Headquarters. Then. they tell all the stores the theme for the season and the materials that would be used. Each store has to use those materials, but they have the freedom to come up with their own designs. It’s a team work.

  • I too am in love with Anthropologie’s window displays! I graduated with a master’s in architecture and would love to be part of their visual display team. My local anthropologie in New Orleans is hiring sales associates and I was thinking of applying with hopes of eventually/ hopefully becoming part of the vd team, does anyone know if this is possible to do or is the vd team hired from the home office as opposed to in store? I just need a way to get my foot in the door being that the store isn’t currently hiring for the visual display team. Thoughts?

  • Ive worked at anthro and, yes, some things end up in the garbage. This is not the only company that handles excess merchandise in this way, Hallmark is another. This year they destroyed thousands of Christmas recordable storybooks and blatantly told their employees to hide the destroyed product in black trash bags, because it was not able to be recycled. Hallmark stipulated that they had donated enough and the employees did not need to worry about it. Companies everywhere call the destruction of perfectly decent merchandise, Best Practice! My thought…Even making a dollar off of the item seems more practical then tossing it.

  • These are WONDERFUL. Do you by chance know what materials they used to bend the wood? Is it wood? Did they steam it? Thank you! Great job Anthro!

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