Displaying the Gift of Education

When is a window more than just a window? When it tells a story and embodies the ideals of the institution it is part of. It isn’t always easy to distill these concepts and sculpt them into a coherent vision. It takes great minds and dedication to pull off a project with so many big ideas. That is what The North Coast College has achieved with its newest window display, “The Gift of Academia.”

This project was a collaboration between Fashion Department Chair, Tiffany Wells, and Adjunct Fashion Professor, Edward Sajovic. Like many creative endeavors, a vision struck them as if almost by fate. A casual conversation sparked the idea, which was quickly sketched out on the back of a scrap envelope. Both Wells and Sajovic quickly realized this was something they needed to act on.

“We wanted to do the holidays our way, “said Wells. “Window displays capture the whimsy of the holidays and give people a reason to want to come in. By combining a holiday theme and setting with school materials, we wanted people to know there are few gifts better than an education.”

Window displays are still an important facet of brick and mortar retail. It is an extra chance to grab someone’s attention and make them realize they are interested in a store. People still line the streets of New York City to catch a glimpse of the latest department store holiday displays, which can be simple arrangements of products, or something more abstract like our piece.

“We were inspired by the magic of a winter sleigh ride from a student's perspective!” exclaimed Sajovic. The piece embodies the academic spirit by displaying books, school supplies, and fashion materials, mixed with winter and holiday elements, all beautifully displayed in a sparkling blue glitter sleigh. The location of the display in the student lounge was purposely chosen right next to The North Coast College shield, so passersby would easily associate us with our message.

Sajovic was committed to doing such an extravagant project with as little as possible. Most of the display was created from objects that were already available at the college or acquired on a strict budget. This grand display isn’t the full extent of their holiday projects.

Along with Adjust Professor, Leonard Molloy, the group also designed and created several holiday themed “shadow boxes” to mirror popular window displays from department stores through the decades. These mockups demonstrate all the concepts and ideas that come together to form a fully functioning retail window display, from the product itself to the meticulously designed holiday bags and boxes meant to capture the spirit of the season.

“The Gift of Academia” is a testament of what happens when great minds come together. Through diligent planning and the hard work of several key staff members, an idea was turned into a piece of art. It not only highlights how important the gift of education is, but how a piece of art can come to life to be a gift itself. The more art that is gifted into the world like this, the richer it becomes.