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As Delaware Valley parents and guardians prepare for summer, fashion designer Christine Phillips is prepping to offer her 8th annual Fashion University Summer Camp. The innovative three-week program is geared toward teens and pre-teens that have a passion for fashion.

The designer developed her educational offering when high schools started phasing out home economics class.

“I noticed throughout the city of Philadelphia that they we were taking away the creative classes. As a creative person, myself, and going to college, there were a lot of things that I learned in college that I wish I knew beforehand because I would have come out a better person, and definitely a better designer. So, one of the things I wanted to do is get rid of any problems or hurdles anybody may have now and show them how to be a great student so that when they go in they will have a leg up.”

As a senior in high school, Phillips received the prestigious Golden Key Award from University of the Arts, an award usually reserved for college students. Spurred on by this recognition, she honed her craft as a merchandiser and quality control designer while working to receive her bachelor’s degree in fashion design from the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences. She embarked on her own business venture in 1997 and opened a distinctive women’s boutique, Crissy’s Closet, in historical Collingswood, N.J.

With more than 15 years in the fashion industry, Phillips has flourished in the woman’s apparel field and continues to impart the skills she has picked up with the next generation of fashion designers.

“I am helping them build a portfolio; they just don’t know it. I am teaching them as many aspects of fashion as possible. They learn how to fashion figure draw, and they learn about designing — because a lot of kids will design just to design, but there is always an inspiration behind it. So, I teach them how to do that. It took me until my second semester in junior year to figure that out — there is always an inspiration behind the design, so you’ll never get designer’s block if you realize that you can get inspiration all around you. You can be inspired by music, a building, a painting, someone singing. You will always be able to design, therefore you will always be able to make money and create something. That’s one of the things they learn.”

Fashion University is offered for three, three-week sessions from June through August. In addition to learning pattern making, fashion illustration and design, the campers will take two field trips to Philadelphia and New York City and they will have two complete outfits to model in their own student-produced fashion show.

Fashion University Summer Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and will be held: June 15-July 3 (Bala Cynwyd); July 6-July 24 (Bala Cynwyd) and July 27-Aug. 14 (Cherry Hill, N.J.). For tuition information, visit