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The Best NJ Fashion Camps For Aspiring Designers

If your child aspires to be the next Rachel Roy or Zac Posen, there’s an awesome summer camp out there perfect for budding fashionistas. Karen’s School of Fashion (KSOF) is offering a fun and creative fashion camp for kids and teens with an eye for style. The school was founded in 2009 by New Jersey mom Karen E. Lozner, a former DKNY employee, Fashion Institute of Technology graduate and professional designer with her own dress label, who serves as KSOF’s creative director.
Camps, as well as year-round fashion classes, are offered at studio spaces in Marlboro and Fair Haven/Red Bank. Each camp session has approximately 12 students, but enrollment may vary depending on availability. Karen’s School Of Fashion will also debut their Manhattan location this summer. Lozner will teach most of the camp sessions in Marlboro and Manhattan, along with fellow instructors who also have professional experience in the fashion industry.
Fashion CampAt Design & Sew Fashion Camp, kids ages 8 to 12 are given a fashion-related theme on a Monday and work all week to transform the idea into something tangible. Campers will feel like professionals as they explore the fashion design process by sketching a collection, making patterns and sewing garments. Fashion magazines are provided for inspiration, along with professional sewing machines and all necessary materials and supplies.
“It’s a lot of work, and a lot of fun,” says Lozner. “Kids love ending the week, every Friday, with a fashion show that highlights their work.” The following Monday, a new theme is introduced and off they go once again! Themes for this summer include “Classic Chanel,” “Zac Posen-Inspired” and “Vivacious Vivienne.”
Fashion CampEight-year-old Ashleigh Mills attended KSOF’s camp last summer. “I took the Betsey Johnson-inspired fashion camp and loved making my inspiration board. I learned so much in just one week,” recalls Mills. “I made a halter top with a matching skirt and was so excited to show it to my family at the KSOF fashion show at the end of camp.” Mills adds, “Karen’s classes helped me realize my dream: to someday attend FIT and become a professional fashion designer.”
Teens ages 13-18 can register for Fashion Portfolio & Sewing for Teens, a two-week themed camp where teenage students design a clothing collection on a presentation board, make and create a printed fabric using Photoshop, and sew their own garments. Professional designers, such as New Jersey native Dana Maxx, will choose the inspiration and fabrics for students to work on. On Thursday or Friday, students will go on two educational, fashion-themed class trips to NYC.
Fashion CampSixteen-year-old Lindsay D’Eredita, who hopes to someday compete on the reality design show Project Runway Junior, says, “Karen makes everyone feel welcome, whether it’s his or her first class or their last. At camp, we help each other learn new sewing techniques.” She adds, “For the past six years I’ve been working with Karen and attending her camps. I’ve learned so much about myself and my passion for fashion.”
According to Lozner, many of her teenage campers plan to attend prestigious design schools such as FIT, Parsons School of Design and the Rhode Island School of Design. Many teens who attended KSOF for years assist Karen with her younger students, which enhances the mentoring experience.
Fashion CampThe fashion industry encompasses more than just sewing your own clothes. “Fashion is about creating and taking puzzle pieces—from fabrics, for example—and putting them together. It includes problem solving, business, advertising and even mathematical skills,” Lozner says. “This is what the students learn in a fun way, with lots of encouragement. For me, it’s been amazing to watch kids create a beautiful garment from something they learned at KSOF.”

You can currently register your child for Karen School Of Fashion’s camps on their website. For 2016, Design & Sew Fashion Camp and Fashion Portfolio & Sewing sessions will be offered in Marlboro and SoHo; the Fair Haven space will offer only Design & Sew Camp. Marlboro will also offer a Design, Build & Engineer STEM Camp for children ages 8-12.

Hero (Top) Feature Image: ©  Artur Marciniec / Adobe Stock
Additional Images Courtesy: Karen Lozner

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