From the Design Desk: Summer Camp Revisited

As we linger in the last days of summer, I feel nostalgic for when the season actually meant being outside all day—hanging out by the pool, savoring popsicles, hiking through the forest, sleeping under the stars—in a word, camp! It seems I’m not alone in my nostalgia for my summer camp days. I’ve noticed an uptick of all things camp-related recently in fashion, design, and pop culture…

It wasn’t a successful summer unless I came home with an arm full of friendship bracelets made during arts-and-crafts time. Now no longer limited to the under-13 set, they’ve been on everyone’s arms this summer.

Photo credit: via

Arrows have been showing up in my pinterest feed for awhile, in both home décor and as design elements. I loved camp afternoons spent aiming for (and missing) the bullseye on the archery range.

Photo credit: via uncovet

Photo credit: via Paper-Sparrow

Merit badges, à la girl/boyscout camp, but with cheeky twists, have been popping up everywhere. I especially love the collection by esty seller BeProud, which awards the earner for doing things like “tooting your own horn”, “being a happy camper”, and, my fave, “flipping the bird”.

Always on trend, the 2012 DesignSponge newspaper released earlier this summer, had an entire camp theme, complete with gourmet s’mores recipes and, you guessed it, a friendship bracelet curtain tie tutorial.

In the pop culture realm, the indie movie hit of the summer was Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, set at a “Khaki Scout” summer camp, Camp Ivanhoe. Tons of vintage camp eyecandy.

Photo credit: Focus Features

Photo credit: via Booooooom

And lastly, the ultimate pop culture nod to summer camp, cult-classic Wet Hot American Summer is rumored to be getting a prequel! That means the now 40-something actors will be playing 16-year-olds for even more hilarity and inside-camp-joke ridiculousness. Can’t wait for more summer camp camp with a triumphant return to Camp Firewood!

Photo credit: USA Films

Emily Dubin
Designer / Sanborn Western Camp ’93-’98 alum

Emily Dubin

Senior Designer at Chronicle Books, collector of magazines, watches, and vintage ephemera. See more of her work at
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