Illuminating fashion applications

Several importance factors have to be taken into con­sideration when lighting a fashion shop. It’s essential that the light displays the product in the best commercial way but it is equally important to create a comforta­ble lit experience for the customer.

Different aiming techniques for different applications

Applications such as display tables, shelves and mannequins are commercially important due to their large exposure to the customer while fitting rooms have a great influence on their decision to make a purchase.

Here you can see examples of how to illuminate these areas in an optimal way. A very useful reference guide when planning the distance between the interior and the luminaires in the ceiling is to take the mounting height and divide it in three and then add the depth of the shelves. For instance, if the ceiling height is 3 meters and the shelves are 0.35 meters deep, the track, or down­lights, should be mounted a distance of 1.35, from the wall. This produces the best results for the accent light and illumination of the products.

Positioning the accent lights closer to the interior can result in excessive shadowing under each shelf, negatively impacting on the display of the merchan­dise.

Aiming angles - mannequins in shp windows

There is a common rule in the world of theatre lighting which implies that 45° is always the best angle. This rule should be applied when illuminating mannequins in shop windows.

Aiming angles - in the shop

When it comes to aiming spotlights in the shop area, aiming the light with angles over 30 ° is out of question. The reason is that it will cause lots of disturbing glare for the customer and this is one of the largest problems in a retail area. When aiming luminaires in a shop, the angle should never be more than 30 degrees.

Fitting rooms

Image no. 1: The optimal solution for lighting the fitting room is illuminating the customers’ whole body, from head to toe, with vertical light then adding some accentuated light from above. Having vertical light illuminating the whole body of the consumer is crucial.

Image no. 2: The accentuated light increases the experience and the texture of the clothes. It is important that the positioning of the downlights avoids disturbing shadows and glare in the face of the customer. If the light is only coming from above, it is not possible to cover the whole body in light. Adding cove lighting behind the mirror or adding light coming through the mirror helps avoid this. Which option you go for is a question of design and taste.

In the picture from above, you can see how to place the fixtures. One should be placed in front of the customer to provide a textured feeling and one from behind to help seeing the back through the mirror behind. If possible, the best solution is to have some horizontal light illuminating the face, taking inspiration from the theatre by positioning the lights all the way round the edge of the mirror, safeguarding against shadows under the eyes. Having the mirror in a theatre dressing room in mind there are always lamps all around the mirror to avoid shadows under the eyes.


The first image, shows the optimal distance for lighting aimed to the wall interior. The second image illustrates the problems when fixtures are placed too far away from the wall. First of all the shopper will shade the interior, but there will also be lots of glare when turning around. The third image illustrate the problem you get when fixtures are placed too close - there will be lots of shadows under each and every shelve, no illuminated products and very high luminance at the top of the interior.