Arts & Entertainment

New York Fashion Accessories Camp to be Held July 22

Lauren Rummel crafts sandals Credits: Jenn Siletski
Lauren Rummel's handcrafted sandals Credits: Jenn Siletski
Lauren Rummel poses in her handcrafted sandals Credits: Jenn Siletski
Morrgan Collins poses with her own handcrafted handbag Credits: David Kaptein

LIVINGSTON, NJ - On July 22, Jennifer Siletski, a professional handbag designer, will be conducting the New York Fashion Accessories Camp where teens ages 14-18 will create and take home a handbag and pair of shoes in a one-week program.

"NYFAC is a place of originality and individual pursuit for campers to understand and execute old world craftsmanship with cutting edge technology where they can develop competency and training to meet the requirements of today's footwear and handbag industries," Siletski said.  "Campers spend their mornings in intensive hands-on studio classes, working alongside master craftspeople and professionals in the handbag and shoe industries.  The afternoons will be spent experiencing the industry first-hand.  To achieve the program's goals, campers are taken from concept to finished product – that includes execution, illustration and most importantly, patternmaking with the leading fashion colleges in NYC."

Lauren Rummel, who plans to pursue a fashion career at the Fashion Institute of Technology, said she has taken many fashion courses at the college level and felt that Siletski’s classes are of the highest level. “Jenn’s classes are very detailed. She makes sure her students know all the techniques of shoe and handbag work.”

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The camp will take place in New York at Libra Leather, the largest supplier of fine leather from Italy, Spain and France.  Libra leather also carries products from designers such as Ralph Lauren, Alexander Wang and Calvin Klein. Siletski said the location of the camp will benefit attendees. "Being in the heart of the New York Garment District gives campers an opportunity to experience first-hand how the industry works."

She added that at Libra Leather, "Campers can see the operations of a sample room and small production runs. They can source their own leather and hardware, and they can attend information sessions and meet admissions counselors from leading fashion colleges in NYC.”

Morgan Collins, a recent graduate of Livingston high school, commented on previous classes she has taken under Siletski.  “Her classes have a really good balance of one on one work and group collaboration.”

Collins also felt beginners would not fall behind at the New York Fashion Accessories Camp. “Although I’m sure it doesn’t hurt to have some previous experience, when I first took her class, I had little prior experience with leather work and Jenn did a really good job of guiding me.”

Sixteen-year-old Carly Bayroff, a former student of Siletski plans to study under Siletski again at the New York Fashion Accessories Camp. "I have studied with Jenn for five years. I love coming back.”

Bayroff commented on the pleasure she takes in her work at Siletski’s workshops. “How many people can say 'thanks, I made it' when getting a compliment on a bag they are wearing. Completing a handbag is such a rewarding feeling and all you want to do is show it off."

Collins expressed similar sentiments about the process of creation in Siletski’s classes. “Turning something from the planning stages on paper to actually creating the physical object and holding it your hands is really cool.”

Siletski owns the New Jersey School of Fashion Design & Accessories and has expanded the program with the New York Fashion Accessories Camp (NYFAC) this summer. In addition to the New York Fashion Accessories Camp, she will offer a special Handbag Camp in Deal, NJ from August 22 - 27.

In addition, she will offer summer classes in Springfield including, Sandal Making Workshops on July 28 and Aug. 4, a two-day Handbag Workshop on Aug. 11 and 18, as well as Portfolio Classes for high school juniors and seniors at the New Jersey School of Fashion Design and Accessories. The school will also offer Shoe and Handbag Classes after school and on weekends beginning in September.

Artist, jewelry designer and industrial arts teacher Jane Swerdlow Rieck will assist Siletski with the New York camp. 

For more information on the New York Fashion Accessories Camp, visit  For information on programs at the New Jersey School of Fashion Design & Accessories, contact Siletski at

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