By Mark Ambrogi
Window dressers don’t usually garner much attention.
That will change with a new TV show. Spenser Zalkin, who grew up in Carmel, is one of eight window-merchandising design contestants competing for $100,000 in Game Show Network’s “Window Warriors,” a six-episode series that premieres at 9 p.m. Nov. 15.
Zalkin said it’s nice to get some exposure.
“Even the fashion industry itself doesn’t pay much attention to us,” Zalkin said. “It’s nice to have someone show what we do and how much works goes into it. It’s kind of an overlooked profession.”
The work isn’t lucrative, either.
“This is something we do because we love doing it,” he said.
A co-worker was contacted by officials with the show and he referred them to Zalkin, a window dresser for Bloomingdale’s in New York City. Zalkin submitted his portfolio and audition video. Twenty contestants were flown to Los Angeles and each designed a window.
Zalkin said they chose the eight who did the best window. A few weeks later, he learned he was selected.
Zalkin, 28, can’t comment on the results. In addition to the grand prize, the winner will receive a contract to design displays for a top mall developer and a career-changing opportunity to design a holiday display at a major department store in New York City.
“It was intense,” Zalkin said. “It was really difficult creating these windows in a short amount of time. Normally these take a week to do with a team of people. We only had three days to create a window alone. We had to come up with ideas really fast. There were times you would hit a creative wall and you had to break out of it.”
Zalkin was working at a coffee shop at Nordstrom in Southern California when he saw people putting the window displays together and thought he could do it better.
“For a year, I assisted the visual team at Nordstrom’s and learned how to do it. After the year was up, Nordstrom moved me to Denver to take on a store of my own,” he said.
Nordstrom then moved Zalkin to a Nordstrom in New Jersey, where he now lives. He wanted to work in Manhattan and got his wish when Bloomingdale’s called 3 1/2 years ago. In 2015, he served as the creative director for the Plaza Hotel holiday setup. In addition, he does window designs for Bergdorf Goodman.