Saratoga Springs is known for many things—horse racing, performing arts, history…the list goes on. But fashion design? Not so much. Sure, we have Staci Snider, Saratoga’s resident high-end design guru, but beyond her Congress Street shop, not much clothing actually gets made here in the Spa City.
In a few years’ time, that could all change, thanks to the efforts of Arlene Kay, owner of Buffalo-based company Fashion Lab NY, which teaches children, teens and adults the art, science and business of fashion. Last year, Kay hosted two week-long fashion camps for children ages 8-12 at Saratoga Paint & Sip Studio, and plans to return to Saratoga for two more camps this summer. “The campers get to be designers for a week,” says Kay, whose son lives in Saratoga. “We teach them how designers get inspiration, how to create mood boards, fashion illustration, how to design a collection, and then ultimately they learn to sew.” At the end of the week, campers model bags, hair accessories and a pair of shorts or a skirt—all of which they’ve created themselves—in a fashion show put on for family and friends.
“The camp not only teaches kids sewing and the path to becoming a fashion designer, but it teaches them such great skills,” Kay says. “Sewing is math, sewing is reading, sewing is patience, coordination.” And so a decade or two down the line, when these campers come of age, what will Saratoga be known for? Horse racing, performing arts, history…and maybe, just maybe, its cutting-edge, home-grown fashion scene.
For more info on this summer’s camps, visit Fashion Lab’s website.