On Teaching Fashion: Summer Camp

This summer, I have been teaching at a summer camp.  The Baum School of Art offered it’s first ever Fashion Academy, in which teens could learn various skills to create clothing and accessories.  The students ranged in age from 12-17 years old, much younger than I am typically used to teaching.  During the 6 weeks that I spent with the students, I noticed how quickly they worked.  Perhaps it has something to do with dwindling attention spans, but this younger group of students worked very quickly and efficiently.  I planned a series of activities, some of which I have included in my college courses.  Often times, my summer camp students would finish the activities much more quickly than my older students.  They also seemed able to focus very intently for a much longer span of time when they felt that time was not measured in a strict way.  I would simply explain the activity, allow them as much time as they needed, and re-direct the lesson when a majority of the students were finished.  The best activity that I had planned was draping a dress with newspaper.

Photo Aug 09, 9 40 27 AM

I thought the activity would be appropriate for younger students, since it requires very little money and a lot of creativity.  I explained how most designers make a sample out of cheaper materials to determine the fit of a garment.  After the sample is approved, the designer can they use a more expensive fabric.  Then, I demonstrated how to work with the paper on the dress form.

Photo Aug 09, 9 57 16 AM

They seemed very eager to start.  I first had them sketch for 30 minutes to think of what sort of design they would like to make.  Then, each student grabbed a dress form.  The only real direction was that the dress would have to be removed from the form.  I wanted the students to think about how to work with the materials in the same way that a designer would work with fabric.

Photo Aug 09, 9 40 47 AM

The process was pretty intuitive.  They worked very intently, and would ask questions when they arrived at some difficulty.  As questions arose, I would repeat them to the class and then answer.  The next 3 hours flew by, with each of the students absorbed in the process.  A few of the students successfully draped and removed the dresses from the form.  Others finished at the next class meeting.  They were very eager to come back to complete the project.

Photo Aug 09, 9 58 41 AM

This is the perfect type of activity for younger students, or as an introduction to a more advanced class.

Images courtesy of The Baum School of Art.

Related Articles

1 Comment

  • Barbara Troeller August 16, 2013 01.20 pm


    This is a fantastic way to introduce young people to draping, fitting, design and the fashion arts It would be wonderful to see more blending of art and fashion at other schools as well. Kudos to you and your students!


Leave a Comment

Monthly Archive


Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at : Amazon.com, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.