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7 FIDM students stand among 3 mannequins indoors at Greneker mannequin house in Los Angeles

Visual Communications Students Visit Greneker Mannequin Manufacturer

Visual Communications students in Brandy Alexanian’s “Design Strategies for Visual Environments” class visited mannequin house Greneker this week on a field trip. Based in Los Angeles, Greneker is one of the oldest mannequin manufacturers in the USA and one of the few that still has a production warehouse in the States. They’ve worked to stay cutting-edge in the industry since they started in 1934.

“The biggest trend in mannequins right now is specialty or custom, made-to-order designs,” said Brandy Alexanian, a working professional in the field of visual communications. “This is probably the biggest benefit to having Greneker in Los Angeles. If an apparel company wanted to design their own mannequin, they could have it done from start to finish right here in Los Angeles.”

FIDM Instructor Brandy Alexanian spent 15 years at the iconic department store Bloomingdale’s, where she was the Visual and Merchandising Manager at the famed Beverly Center location in Los Angeles. Now a Visual Merchandiser at Anthropologie and a freelance Visual Artist, Brandy shared insight into what her students are learning.

“In my Design Strategies for Visual Environments class, the students create a complete omni-channel business for their own sustainable brand,” said Brandy Alexanian. “They design the brick and mortar store (i.e., store budget, digital commerce, events) while learning visual best practices along the way. During our lesson on budgets, I decided to take the class to Greneker so that they could completely understand the complexities of making mannequins and what makes them so expensive. It was also the mannequin company that I toured when I was a student at FIDM in the early nineties, and it was a lasting memory.”

For more than eight decades, Greneker has been a display partner to the world’s leading retailers. With decades long relationships with innovators including JGAArchitects, George P. Johnson, the Walt Disney Company, and Universal Studios, they are experts in metal, wood, fiberglass, resin and composites, paint, and 3D design, engineering, and printing.

Greneker Custom-Build unites all the in-house disciplines of Greneker to capture and transform imagination into presentation reality. Their artists—from hands-on craftspersons to digital designers, supported by experienced resource and project managers—extend their lineage of excellence and intelligent creativity that began with Lillian Greneker over 80 years ago.

After earning her degree in Visual Communications from FIDM, Instructor Brandy Alexanian started her career as a Visual Stylist for Kohl’s and an Assistant Visual Manager for Hecht’s, before becoming the Visual and Merchandising Manager Bloomingdale’s. She returned to her alma mater in 2020 as an instructor to share her decades of experience in visuals and merchandising. 

In Design Strategies for e-Commerce & Visual Environments (VCOM 2370), students explore the future of merchandising and key innovations in the visual environment. Interpreting marketing promotions visually through window displays, in-store installations at various levels, store outposts, graphics and other collateral elements. Students research costs of elements, prepare budgets, ensure ease of installation and create different roll-out packages for various types of businesses based on store yearly volumes, sizes, locations, and staffing capabilities.

Categories:  Visual Communication Alumni Faculty Industry Partnerships Student