The real queens of putting on the first Baltimore Fashion Week are April Camlin and Pam Haner. Before one of these women made history in Baltimore, she was just a self-taught designer looking for an outlet to showcase her talents.
Camlin spent many summers with her grandmother who worked as a seamstress, making her sketches of medieval and science fiction costumes come to life.
“I remember spending lots of time with [my grandmother] in her sewing room,” Camlin said. “I don’t really know what first made me interested in designing. I think I just had a need to create and to decorate myself.”
After learning the art of sewing, the sewing machine became a great source for Camlin’s fashion choices.
“When I hit the awkward teenage years I was 5 foot 10 and gangly as ever, and I had a really hard time finding clothes that fit me,” Camlin said. “So, I just made my own.”
The first piece of clothing that the Baltimore native constructed was an aqua blue boat neck sweater at the age of 15.
“It had a kangaroo front pocket, and I remember I thought it would be really clever to make the sleeves really long, ridiculously long,” Camlin said. ” Who knows what I was thinking.”
The Baltimore native’s love for creating things with fabric transformed into starting her own fashion label, Happy Accident Clothing and becoming a member of Wham City. Camlin has recently made the big move to Chicago, but her creative spirit isn’t slowing down an ounce.
“I’ve been getting really into embroidery and knitting sculptural delicate jewelry,” Camlin said. “I hope to get back to making clothes in the spring, but my studio is just too cold at this time of year.”
Camlin may not live in Charm City anymore, but Baltimore’s first fashion week will always be close to her heart.
“If any of the things I did are historically worthy, I hope it’s just the fact that me and Pam made [Baltimore] Fashion Week happen with no budget, and no sponsors,” Camlin said. “And, we built the runway ourselves every day in stilettos.”