couture: Summit offers fashion camp for girls
June 18, 2008
Mention the phrase “fashion camp” and most people see
images of young women learning how to coordinate
outfits, put on make-up and walk in high heels.
But The Summit shopping center’s fashion camps teach
girls more than how to look pretty.
“Overall it has a fashion background, but it also has to
do with personal development and self-confidence,” said
Jo Ross, camp coordinator and leader.
The one-day sessions are geared for girls ages 6 to 8
and 9 to 12. Each session focuses on three stores within
the shopping center, where campers learn how to put
together and accessorize outfits. But they also visit
stores that teach lessons in organization (Office
Depot), how to find information (Barnes & Noble) and the
importance of thank-you notes (Hallmark).
At the end of the session, campers have lunch at one of
the center’s restaurants where they learn and practice
good table manners and how to conduct themselves in a
restaurant. The day ends with a graduation ceremony,
where campers receive a certificate and goody bag that
includes a $40 Summit gift card.
Because each day focuses on different stores, girls can
sign up for multiple days. Each session is $60.
Participating stores work with Ross and Summit property
manager Becky Norton beforehand to determine what
lessons they will teach. At fashion stops, like Limited
Too, Old Navy and Designer Shoe Warehouse, campers not
only learn fashion terminology but public speaking
skills, as they are asked to stand up in front of the
group and explain their favorite pieces, Ross said.
This is the fourth year for the camp. The idea was
originally Norton’s, who wanted to do something special
“As far as we know, this is the only program of its kind
in the country,” Ross said.
Norton brought in Ross, a local fashion consultant who
had also worked extensively with the Oxmoor Center
Fashion Council and other local fashion groups.
“This is something different,” Ross said. “Not everybody
can be a cheerleader or football player, so this is
something for someone with different interests ... the
most important thing I tell the girls is to have fun.”
The camps are extremely popular, with some sessions
filling up well in advance.
The response from campers has been positive.
“I really like shopping. It’s fun going around to all
the shops,” said Lucy Sweetall, 11.
For Lena Crum, 10, coming to fashion camp was a natural
“My mom is in fashion and I like all kinds of fashion. I
like to look at clothes and see what other people are
wearing. It’s fun,” she said.
But Crum said the most important thing she’s learned
isn’t about fashion at all.
“We learned to respect other people,” she said.
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