One-of-a-Kind Designer Camp Returning to Orange County This Summer | Newport Mesa Moms

Designer Camp is the leading design-based summer camp for young creatives ages 11 – 17. Their boutique programs bring community and collaboration to creative students. They partner with working industry designers to bring real world experience and hands-on fun. We were able to interview co-founder Mercedes Curran to find out more about this one-of-a-kind camp.

What is the mission behind Designer Camp?

Our mission is to give students a community that helps them cultivate their unique creativity and explore the many career opportunities in their future. We love seeing the students come to camp and discover mutual affinities in each other, and in the industry creatives that mentor and share with them. Many of our students form friendships that last long after camp, find internships to build towards their future, and go on to design colleges and into the design industry.

How did you and Kristen start Designer Camp?

Kristen and I met in design school and stayed friends as we worked in the industry for over a decade. We found ourselves both working in design and education and saw a need for young creatives to get hands-on experience and inspiration.

As we encountered parents asking what more their student could do to pursue these passions at a younger age, we couldn’t find resources that filled this need—so we started Designer Camp.

Designer Camp is now a platform to bring the community together through collaboration while building a better future through our students. We couldn’t love what we do more!

What does a day at camp look like?

We give students the rare opportunity to engage and learn through hands-on workshops, informative talks from working designers, and behind-the-scenes tours of studios and galleries. Lunch is provided from local eateries, and knowing our audience, we keep a fast-paced but fun rhythm. Designer Camp also partners with non-profit organizations, allowing students to design for social good.

Each day we return to the studio and combine all of this knowledge and inspiration into a final portfolio project that helps them see how truly creative and wonderful they are.

Where is your Orange County Camp located? 

We are hosting our student design studio out of Hanahaus. They are a co-working space located next to Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach.  Filled with working creatives, it’s a fun environment where students can get a glimpse into what working in a creative career can look like. We have a private room that looks out at the Marina. This is where we will be hosting guest designers, workshops, and working on their final portfolios.

Throughout the week we will also be visiting many of the incredible and internationally recognized brands within Lido Marina Village, where students will get behind-the-scenes knowledge and hands-on experience.

What kind of students attend Designer Camp? 

We are honored to have such a diverse group of students each summer, working together to transform their design perspective. No design experience is necessary, just a desire to learn.

We provide a safe and private experience which allows for high profile families to comfortably participate, as well as offering scholarships to students who may not have the means but are full of creativity and motivation.

We welcome youth from all around the world, in different stages of their passion for design, to join our creative community and to have fun with us each summer!

Can you tell us a little more about each week of camp?

Designer Camp 101 is the foundation of our curriculum. It’s an umbrella of creativity – allowing students to explore the variety of careers in the design industry by implementing the principles and elements of design. Students will learn about art, beauty industry, branding, fashion, interior design, merchandising, photography, styling, trend forecasting and much more.

Interior Design Camp is a specialized camp for students who are passionate more specifically about interiors. We explore private client interior design, event design, furniture design, home staging, hospitality design, interior styling, prop styling, set design, trends, textile design, and more.

What is your staff and environment at camp like?

Our method is collaboration over competition, creating a safe and encouraging space for each unique camper to thrive, connect, and build for their future.

Kristen and I, our design industry guests, and the staff are dedicated to mentoring our students on their creative paths, supporting them throughout camp and beyond.

We know from our own experience that those who support others are truly the ones that are the most successful!

To find out more or to enroll now, visit


**Use code LOCALMOMS for $100 off a camp.**


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