Fashion camps designed to boost self-esteem


Each summer, thousands of local kids fill their school-free days with crafts, sports and other activities at day and overnight camps. While there's no doubt arts-and-crafts and sports camps still dominate the scene, there's a more stylish option available: fashion camp.

This summer, both the YWCA of the Greater Triangle and designer Austin Jade are hosting fashion camps. The camps offer fashion and beauty tips and activities, along with a healthy dose of self-esteem boosting on the side.

The YWCA camp is for girls ages 12-17 and includes both day and residential options. It teaches campers about body image, nutrition and fitness, shopping on a budget and relationships, among other topics. Campers participate in field trips, photo shoots and a fashion show. The curriculum and activities are designed to empower young girls to develop confidence through fashion and beauty exercises.

The Austin Jade camp, which began three years ago, focuses more on career training for budding fashionistas. Campers, who range in age from elementary to high school, learn about designing, runway walking, retail marketing and resume writing. The camp concludes with a fashion show and a scholarship presentation to one outstanding camper. Campers have gone on to intern at Ralph Lauren and even work for the camp's sponsor.

"I was a camper at the first camp and was offered an internship with the company following the program," says Kate Steadman, Austin Jade head creative director. "I have been with the company for more than two years, and I style outfits for all of the fashion shows, photo shoots and ad campaigns. I also travel with the company to New York on a regular basis, picking out fabric and helping design products."

The YWCA Fashion Camp will be June 19-24 for day campers, July 9-14 and 24-29 for residential campers, at Peace College. For more information, visit

The Austin Jade Fashion Camp will be July 11-15 at the Royal Banquet and Conference Center in Raleigh. For more information, visit FashionRocks or email .

bazaarSPARK applications

Attention local designers: SPARKcon is accepting applications for fashion and jewelry vendors at bazaarSPARK, which will be Sept. 17-18 in downtown Raleigh. Applicants must submit at least three images of their designs or include a website with product images. The deadline for applications is June 15 at midnight (not a postmark deadline), and the application fee is $10. Visit for more information.

Social shoppers

We all know Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels are a great way to keep up with family, friends and coworkers. But they're also a great means of staying in touch with your favorite stores - getting the latest scoop on sales, new lines and special events. For fans of The Streets at Southpoint, social media can also be a way to score some free shopping. The mall's Social Shoppers Sweepstakes will award one $250 Shop Etc. gift card and 25 $10 Shop Etc. gift cards to customers who "like" the mall's page on Facebook before Monday. To enter, visit and click the "like" button at the top of the page.

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