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A talk with Lieselot Wille, visual merchandiser at Julia June

Charlotte Everaert / April 19, 2016 / Interviews

In these interview series I’m meeting up with the creatives of the fashion industry. By telling their story, I want to offer an insight into the industry and inspire you with their dreams and go-getter mentality.

With the opening of the new Julia June store in Antwerp, I welcomed the chance to interview one of the many talented people working there. Meet Lieselot Wille, Julia June’s talented visual merchandiser who manages to create the most stunning and creative shop windows, over and over again.

Lieselot has been working for Julia June for over a year now. The Belgian brand was founded in 2012 and is a perfect fit for women with a strong personality and edgy fashion taste who want high quality pieces hanging in their closet. The summer collection is an ode to this headstrong woman and consists of cool colour combos, luxurious materials and clean cuts.

Julia June
Julia June

When did you decide to work as a visual merchandiser?
I had been studying teaching arts & crafts for a year when I realised the education was a bit too demanding because I was working day and night to finish my projects and study for my exams. Come summertime, I was looking for something new and went to an open day at adult education school Syntra. I was contemplating a beauty-related course when suddenly my eye fell upon visual merchandising. I was hooked, not in the least because they offer a very broad programme: I had lessons in graphic design, décor building, shop windows and displays, …

I studied visual merchandising for 2 years while doing an internship at Scotch & Soda. After my internship there was an opening at Julia June because a friend who was working there as visual merchandiser was leaving. I applied for the job and that’s how my adventure at Julia June started!

Julia June Store Opening
Julia June Store Opening

What does your life as a visual merchandiser look like?
Every day is different. At the office, I make preparations for the windows I have to set up and gather my ideas, make up a planning,.. Most days I’m on the road with my van full of stuff, going from one store location to the other and setting up the shop windows. At every store, I take down the previous shop window and install the new one. I try to make a lot of things myself, which takes up a lot of time but has the nicest results. It’s a lot of trial and error, but it always works out. For instance with the aluminium foil I used last year, it didn’t stay in place but with some hairspray on it it worked!

I always start from a certain silhouette that is going to be displayed. Then I come up with the concept, the overall atmosphere I want the window to express and which installations I’m going to use. At the end of the day I have to make sure everything looks perfect, from the lightning to the overall concept. If something doesn’t work out, I just go for a different material or angle. For the sales period, I had something in mind which in the end didn’t quite turn out the way it did in my head. So I tried something simple but effective with the sales bags instead. Eventually it worked out, but it can be a bit stressy sometimes!

Lieselot-Wille-2

“My goal is to make people take a minute to stand still and look at the shop window with a smile. Their positive reactions really give me a great sense of satisfaction!”

What do you love about the job?
The fact that I can be super creative and come up with my own concepts and ideas. At bigger brands, the head office decides what the shop windows will look like and the visual merchandisers have to copy and execute it at their stores. I have the freedom to work out any concept I want and there’s a lot of variety in my job, that’s what I love the most about it.

At Julia June we always want to create captivating campaigns so this year we worked with Lauren Wasser in L.A. She is a model who has only one leg due to an accident. Most people are very enthusiastic about the campaign, because it really jumps out.

Julia June
Lauren Wasser

What is your personal style like?
I would say minimalistic, black and white and a few pastel colours. I like wearing comfortable clothes. I am very much into the oversized clothes that are coming back in style. Shoe-wise I love Doctor Martens, I have about 5 pairs now. I mostly shop at COS, & Other Stories, Acne and of course Julia June.

What is your favourite colour?
Black and pastel pink, which are the colours I wear most of the time.

Julia June
Julia June

Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! When coming up with a concept for a shop window, I always start from the collection itself. The structure of a certain skirt for instance.

What is your advice for starting visual merchandisers?
Stay yourself and go at it a hundred percent. Spend a lot of your time enhancing your skills and broadening your vision by going to galleries, expositions, walking around in town, … That’s how you get inspiration. If you see something cool, take a picture of it. It can be something small like a logo but it can start an idea forming in your head.

Thanks Lieselot for this inspiring talk!

Lieselot Wille : website / instagram

Julia June Antwerp
Steenhouwersvest 42
2000 Antwerp

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