Fashion isn't my thing. Anybody who knows me knows this. I wear the same shoes every day, usually until they are unwearable (although they are really awesome shoes). I don't buy clothes (except for on very special occasions). I don't know about clothing designers (except my friends who are clothing designers). I only watched one season of Project Runway (but I did actually apply to be ON the show back in '09). I don't care about trends (except I do succumb to them sometimes--such as the infamous platform sneaker purchase of Paris, '98). I do know how to imagine things, draw general human forms, make patterns, and sew like a motherfucker--so fashion is always sort of around.
I spent last week working at a fashion design camp for kids. I got the job on Craigslist and was hired as "camp director" without an interview 3 days before camp started. I don't really even remember agreeing to take the job (nor do I remember agreeing to be paid below minimum wage for the gig) BUT I DIGRESS. I showed up every day because the kids (ten 8-12 year olds) were freaking awesome. They really were.
I found myself giving brief but impassioned lectures about body positivity, the dangers of the fast fashion industry, sweatshop labor, the photoshopped lies in magazines, the truth about what being a "designer" really means under most circumstances (read: desk job). I realized that I'm perfectly qualified yet ill-suited to be teaching kids about fashion design because I have a ton of experience and I love to sew and make things and wear clothes but I DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT FASHION.
I may have mentioned that already.
I don't think the kids care about fashion either (except Julius, that kid is going places).
I started wondering about a new kind of summer camp for kids. One with a built-in ideological framework that assures parents that their children will learn useful skills. One that pays its teachers a living wage. One that is planned more than 3 days in advance with an actual curriculum, organized supplies and a clean accessible space, one that reaches out across cultural divides and includes kids and teachers from different backgrounds (digressing again by mentioning these things that were blatantly ABSENT from last week's camp). How would a camp like this be run? What would we do? Here's a start (my portraits of Vanilla Ice need more work):