More than just window dressing

Ms Josephine Quek interned at DFS to help her prepare for the WorldSkills competition.
Ms Josephine Quek interned at DFS to help her prepare for the WorldSkills competition.PHOTO: MIKE LEE FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Styling mannequins, building props for shop windows and liaising with suppliers and contractors - these are all part of the job for Ms Josephine Quek, who has just completed a training stint with retail company DFS to help her prepare for the WorldSkills competition next month.

The 20-year-old, who graduated from Temasek Polytechnic's visual apparel design and merchandising diploma course this year, will be representing Singapore at the contest. She is the only Singaporean who will be vying for a medal with 10 other competitors in the visual merchandising and window dressing category.

Nanyang Polytechnic bagged a bronze in this category in 2011.

Temasek Polytechnic is represented in three other categories - Web design, aircraft maintenance and graphic design technology.

Ms Quek said: "Visual merchandising is about techniques to enhance a store's concept and identity. What a mannequin wears and the window or rack displays can influence what a customer buys.

"I'm excited to go to Brazil, to meet other people there who may have different styles."

The competition will require her to come up with a window display in line with a specific theme.

She will need to produce design sketches and select materials for her props, which could include three-dimensional sculptures.

Before her attachment at the DFS store, she worked at Robinsons for 11/2 months.

"My aim is to just do my best and enjoy the competition," said Ms Quek, whose father is a quality assurance manager and mother is a housewife. She has two brothers - aged 10 and 19.

She hopes to pursue an overseas degree at the London College of Fashion in the future.

Amelia Teng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2015, with the headline 'More than just window dressing'. Print Edition | Subscribe