LAST YEAR, Erica Jarman, owner of the House of Strut vintage clothing store, had some special help around the store.
“I had a young daughter of a friend say she wanted to be my intern,” Jarman recalls. “She spent a week with me and we did it all. From selling to styling to modeling to remerchandising, I taught her about the decades and history of fashion. She was six at the time.”
The week proved inspirational for both Jarman and her new employee.
“I saw her creativity just glow, coming from a joyful place, and I was like, ‘I think there would be other kids who are interested in doing things like this,’” she recalls.
So she put together the House of Strut Kids Fashion Bootcamp.
“It was truly the most inspirational week I’ve ever had in fashion, so I was determined to do it again,” she gushes.
“I was able to watch them develop their own personal style and help them create and learn about disciplines of fashion and inspire them. You can have a career in fashion. You can pick an area of expertise and run with that. Jewelry, design, creation, photography, hair and makeup--the whole kit and caboodle. There are a lot of facets that go into the industry.”
Offered the weeks of June 25 and July 9, the Kids Fashion Bootcamp culls some of Savannah’s brightest talents from all aspects of the fashion industry to share their expertise with area children. The camp is open to kids ages 5 to 12 years old and benefits Loop It Up Savannah, who also chooses five kids to receive scholarships.
This year, support comes from fashion designers Zia Sachedina of Zia Boutique and Alex Bender of Lex Apparel, independent artist Kori Carter, hair stylist Averil Hull, makeup artist Selena Hines, and photographer Jeremiah Hull.
“I wanted to bring in men and women in Savannah who are making things happen in the world of fashion,” Jarman says. “These kids could see it hands-on and watch people show them their craft, and then they could apply what they learned from that person.”
Through workshops, building mood boards, and more hands-on activities, the kids at camp will find their personal style.
“I wanted to create a camp where kids can learn various disciplines of fashion, create their own looks, and follow and develop their own personal style,” Jarman explains. “It’s important to learn the difference between fast fashion and slow fashion and understand the decades of fashion. Through the week, everything they created needs to be showcased. Of course, a runway would be the best way to do that.”
Each week of camp culminates in a runway fashion show at the Starland Dairy, complete with DJs Jose Ray and Lil Dib and hula and fire performers. The kids will walk the runway wearing the looks they created during the camp, and they’ll style an adult model with clothes they pick from House of Strut.
“The creativity is incredible,” says Jarman. “You feel the energy and the excitement.”
Above all, Jarman seeks to inspire confidence in kids interested in the fashion industry.
“I let fear and doubt hold me back from being successful for years,” Jarman shares. “I want to inspire these children that they don’t have to doubt themselves and that they can make it in fashion. Yes, it’s an intimidating industry, but they can find an area of discipline they can pursue vigorously.”