When Tacee Webb's daughter Palace was turned away from attending an over-full rock camp, it gave Webb an idea. Taking another of her daughter's interests and recruiting from Portland's fashion community, she created Fashion Design Camp, a weeklong day camp for kids between the ages of eight and 16 to learn basic sewing skills, design a label, and create a portfolio of their work. It culminates in a fashion show where the designer campers model their own designs. This year, to emphasize their communion with the adults of the industry, they will show their designs along with their new colleagues, including a few of the camp's instructors.
Now in its third year, Fashion Design Camp is steadily growing, and this year marks its first foray out of town, with a Los Angeles camp following Portland's. And according to Webb, there has been interest in other cities, too—unsurprising considering the current popularity of fashion design as a career path.
Webb has been working in the retail industry for years (she founded the Red Light, opened stores for American Apparel, and recently became the co-owner, along with Palace, of the landmark Seaplane boutique), and recognized the supportive qualities of Portland's fashion community, and an opportunity to use them as role models in an industry that often falls prey to bad influence, from cattiness to negative body image. In fact, Webb kicks off the camp by giving a talk about the female figure throughout fashion history, covering everything from foot binding to a former Miss America who was only five feet tall to icons of glamour like Mae West and Marilyn Monroe.
The lucky campers have a great lineup of instructors, including designers Holly Stalder, Niki Eatman, Laura Irwin, and ElizaBeth Rohloff, as well as Jarom Newbill, a buyer for Collier (340 SW Morrison) and Blake Nieman-Davis, owner of Blake (2285 NW Johnson). Likewise, the finale show has them in very good company. Working off of a fairytale theme, the 40 campers' looks will be interspersed with designs from Stalder, Rohloff, Eatman (whose line, Luxury Jones, is favored by the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker), Kate Towers, Sarah Seven, Madeline, Elizabeth Dye, and Frocky Jack Morgan, as well as special guest Jeffrey Sebelia, winner of the third season of Project Runway. Ticket sales benefit the Children's Healing Art Project (chap.name). (Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder, Fri Aug 1, 7 pm, $3-12)
In exciting retail news, two stores are poised to open in the early days of August. The first is Emily Baker's Sword + Fern, which will serve as a flagship for Baker's line of jewelry for men and women made from reclaimed and sustainable materials, as well as wild-crafted botanicals (think lip balms and tinctures), vintage and limited-edition clothing, and home goods. Its doors swing open on First Friday among the good company of fellow 811 building tenants like Stand Up Comedy and Redux. (811 E Burnside, #114, Fri Aug 1, 6 pm, free). The second store is a godsend for dapper Portland men who need a one-stop shop for everything from grooming gear to a custom suit. Winn Perry (2505 SE 11th, #102) is a men's only store carrying beautiful accessories from ties to suspenders and cufflinks to shoes, as well as the exclusive Viceroy Collection designed for Winn Perry by Duchess Clothier, which is joining with the store to provide its famous custom suits to their shared clientele. (Other local designer collaborations are in the works, with Pinkham Millinery and Hazel Cox.) Opening dates are hazy, but owner Jordan Sayler estimates that things will be ready in the first or second week of August, with an official opening party around the start of September. Get ready to be excited—the men's emporium is set to be filled with beautifully selected things, from fine English shaving accessories to off-the-rack pieces by up-and-comers Obedient Sons, and is sure to be a unique and valuable addition to Portland's bustling boutique scene.