ASU alumna is bringing groovy back with CAMP Collection

Hayley Johnson, the designer behind the brand, is modernizing retro looks from the '70s

For being a child of the '90s, Hayley Johnson is no stranger to the bell bottom jeans and rainbow stripes of the '70s.

Johnson is the senior designer and production manager for CAMP Collection, a brand inspired by the summer camp goers of the 1970s which she said can be summed up as "nostalgic, colorful and fun."

Johnson graduated from ASU in 2008 with a degree in business management and later graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, or FIDM, in Los Angeles in 2009 with a degree in fashion design.

“I was really interested in what it takes to start a business and the way it's run because I always wanted my own fashion business,” she said.

Johnson said she was brought onto the CAMP team in 2014 after the business' founders, Greg Kaye and Tamar Wider, decided to relaunch the brand to have a more consistent style.

“They pretty much started from scratch when I came on,” Johnson said. 

She said the focus then shifted from a collection of many different styles to specifically ringer t-shirts and sweatshirts. 

Johnson said she derives much of her inspiration from female icons such as Farrah Fawcett as well as TV shows and art of the '70s, '80s and '90s and old photographs of her parents growing up

“Art gives me lots of ideas for different color combinations,” she said. “I love playing around with colors and making some unexpected combinations.”

Joy Umphrey, Johnson’s mother, said her daughter has been filling up sketchbooks with designs since she was a young girl.

“She always liked to look at my old yearbooks and my photos from high school,” Umphrey said. “She was always very classic, she liked the clothes that stand the test of time.”

Umphrey said Johnson's creative mind, motivation and natural leadership abilities are the tools she used to successfully build CAMP's brand.

“She’s always thinking, ‘What can I do to make a t-shirt different?’” she said. “She has a lot of good ideas and she just runs with them.”

Johnson’s vintage designs have expanded CAMP from a web-based retailer to include collaborations with companies such as Free People and Prism Boutique

Along with other stores, CAMP has collaborated with music festivals such as Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits to create collections that represent the festivals but adds CAMP's unique style. 

“Somebody might still have this shirt in 30 years, which is pretty exciting to think about,” she said.  “Today’s (current) t-shirt is tomorrow’s vintage t-shirt.” 

Dana Trippe | Courtesy

Models for CAMP clothing pictured in CAMP clothes by senior designer, production manager and ASU alumna Hayley Johnson in San Diego, California on Dec. 11, 2017.

As production manager, Johnson said she follows the design from her idea on a sketchpad to the actual shirt in production. 

“We’re still a start-up, so wearing many different hats is kind of my specialty,” she said.

Returning to her alma mater, Johnson visited ASU’s Business of Fashion club, or BOF earlier this semester to teach members about designing shirts and overseeing the production process. 

Kaley Scott, a junior majoring in interdisciplinary studies and the vice president of BOF, said she watched Johnson speak to BOF in 2017 and 2018.

“She told us that anybody who finds their passion can find something they love, you just have to work hard,” Scott said.

Scott said Johnson informed the members of the club on the importance of keeping a firm production schedule and staying organized.

“(She said) you might not find your perfect fit right away, but if you keep working and follow what you think is right and stick to who you are, then you will find a job that fits you,” Scott said.

Editor's Note: Hayley Johnson was a columnist for The State Press in 2007.


Reach the reporter at eborst@asu.edu and follow @ellieeborstt on Twitter. 

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