what is camp fashion

What is Camp Fashion?

Camp fashion is not about what to wear when you go camping. Camp fashion is a form of art about a theme. Once thought it was homosexual oriented, has now become a fashion for many Hollywood stars and Fashion runways. 

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Camp Fashion Is Known To Be Flamboyant

The Metropolitan Museum of Arts

The Metropolitan Museum of Arts located in New York, New York is well known for its yearly display of camp fashion. Also known as The Met, it is the largest museum of art in the U.S.A. This beautiful architecture was founded in 1870. The Met Gala is lead by the editor in chief, Vogue and is underwritten by the very reputable Gucci.

At The Met

What does it mean to be Camp?

The term camp became part of the English language late in the 19th century. There are several interpretations regarding the meaning of the work camp. Back in 1909 in the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition made notations such as:

  • exaggerated
  • theatrical
  • ostentatious
  • effeminate
  • homosexual
  • affected

The word camp was often associated with someone that was gay. 

What Camp means today

Today the word camp is omnipresent. It has become so popular and now pertains to other genders such as Dyke Camp. Camp can also be very versatile and not depict any sexual connotations. Some think the word camp is derived from “se camper,” which means “to posture boldly”. Many of today’s Camp fashions resemble what one would wear to a ball or costume party. 

Some Well Known Camp Fashion Designers

Elsa Schiaparelli

“In difficult times fashion is always outrageous.” Elsa Schiaparelli

Elsa Schiaparelli’s camp designs were first displayed in her studio in 1927. Some of her fasions included:

  • whimsical style
  • music note printed dresses
  • hats which look like upside down shoes
  • skeleton detailed dresses
  • fashion in a shocking pink color, which became her signature

Bob Mackie

In the 1960’s Bob was known for his screen and stage ensembles for Mitzi Gaynor and Judy Garland. He was also known for designing for the Carol Burnett show. He also did work for:

Elton John Is Known For His “Outrageous” Style

And many many more. 

Bobs design styles included sparkles, feathers, beads, and sequins. He was also known for his show-stopping runways for models not only wearing his fashion designs but also the characters they performed while wearing them. 

Anna Sui

Anna Sui, well known for her designs consisting of feathers, and many patterns and florals.

Anna began designing in the early ’70s. Anna’s designs depict eccentricity and nostalgia. She was well known for her designs consisting of feathers, and many patterns and florals. Her fashions touched on rock and roll as well as cultural history. Her fantasy creations still remain popular today. 

Rei Kawakubo

“For something to be beautiful it doesn’t have to be pretty.” Rei Kawakubo

Rei was known for the legendary design with the Comme des Garcons line in 1969. She felt that women’s designs were far too revealing and created a line for women to wear fashion as boys did. She is also known for designs that challenge traditional fashion. 

Thierry Mugler

Thierry Mugler’s fashion designs included collections in the ’80s and ’90s. His runways were known as spectacles as they included:

  • porn stars
  • super models
  • drag queens
  • Some of his fashion designs included:
  • leopard bodysuits
  • giant leopard peacock tails
  • metal fembot suits
  • neon skirts
  • giant paper lantern skirt structures
  • sky-high feather headpieces
  • shining suits corseted

Some of his designs were worn by Miley Cyrus and David Bowie.

Miley Cyrus In Mugler – 2019 Grammy Awards.


Moschino created camp fashion designs for 11 years until his death in 1994. Some of his designs include:

  • leather skirts decorated with fried eggs
  • hats make like airplanes
  • heartshaped handbags
  • men’s dress shirt with the words For Fashion Victims Only, which had extended sleeves that were tied like a straight jacket

Jeremy Scott

Creative Director Jeremy Scott took over Moshino’s original humor, and his legacy lives on. Jeremy is known for designs such as:

  • a dress printed with trompe l’oeil lingerie
  • a dress designed like a giant Sale Tag
  • a bikini top designed with 8-balls
  • and suits that look like cardboard boxes taped together

Marc Jacobs

I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect – they are much more interesting.

Marc’s designs are inspired by subcultures and street fashion. His style is known as “playful.” Once fired from Perry Ellis his career took off. As well as designs under his own private label, he was also the Creative Director of Louis Vuitton. He was known for his bold, vivid colors and work that was pop-inspired. He was known for designs including:

  • black S&M inspired corsetry
  • 1960’s mini dresses
  • deconstructed collegiate band uniforms
  • many unorthodox designs

Viktor & Rolf

This artistic design team is well known for their controversial couture, wit, and conceptual inventive designs. Some of their designs include:

  • coke logo sweaters made with layers and layers of ruffles
  • dresses that are made of framed paintings
  • ball gowns that are floaty and depict the words “Trust Me I’m a Liar” and “No Photos Please.”

Their work is described as escapism, which is a huge characteristic of the Camp design. It allows the artist to find a world other than the one they grew up in. 

Diego Montoya

Many of Diego’s clients include megastars like:

These are RuPaul’s Drag Race Megastars. 

Diego refers to himself as a visual artist and costume designer. Both Shangela and Jenifer Lewis wore his designs in the Oscars ceremony in 2019. He was raised in Lima, Peru, but then moved to Miami where his work became inspired by Miami’s color, kitsch, and excess. His design style became more defined when he moved to New York. His designs were created for the drag scene. 

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