City of Sydney partnered with a group of TAFE students seeking commercial experience as an initiative to rejuvenate the retail scene of Sydney’s Redfern.
The City of Sydney's Shopfront Showcase project saw students from TAFE Ultimo’s Visual Merchandising Diploma shops along Redfern Street and Regent Street work together to transform retail window displays and promotional campaigns.
A total of 14 students and retailer partnerships were established as part of the project.
City of Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore said the project will see the whole community benefit from the improvements to the look and feel of the Redfern and Regent streets.
"Retailers are benefiting from the students' professional visual merchandising skills, while the students get an invaluable opportunity to work with real clients in a real commercial environment," she said.
Poppy Doumanis, owner of fashion store Black Lace, has been trading in Redfern Street for 40 years. She said while retailers were feeling the pinch of online shopping and tough economic times, the Redfern area was experiencing a revitalisation.
"A lot of young people are moving into the area, so City of Sydney initiatives, like the matched-grant shutter-removal program, are timely," she said.
"I got rid of my shutter about a year ago and it has improved business – I sometimes get calls from people if they've spotted something new in the shop window.
"This project has also made a huge difference to the atmosphere of the street. Before it was depressing, but now you can see colour and light, and it's attractive for shoppers and passers-by."
Doumanis said she was excited about working with TAFE students, who will have full creative freedom.
"The girls came to me with their ideas and I was impressed," she said.
"I know they're very capable so I've left them to it. They're bringing all the props and then using some of my stock. I always dress the window myself so I'm really excited to have it done by experts."