3S Artspace, Recovergirl, and Goodwill of Northern New England are joining forces to promote regional designers and sustainable fashion. Together, they are presenting a design style competition on March 23 and 24, 2018 at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH.  Designers will be challenged to upcycle secondhand clothing provided by Goodwill into a creative, gala-worthy outfit over two days, and with the support of community models, show their results on the catwalk on Saturday night. Designers will be judged on execution, creative reuse of materials, and styling.

Aspiring designers,18 years of age or older who reside in New England, are invited to apply and to compete. In particular, Project Upcycle seeks to engage and support designers with less than five years of professional design experience.  Everyone from college students and self-taught designers to retirees is enthusiastically encouraged to apply.  Applications will be accepted through the 3S Artspace website from December 15 until February 9, 2018. Eight designers will be selected to compete.

The two days of intense design and sewing will culminate with a live runway show and gala event on Saturday, March 24th.  The public event will feature VIP judges, community models, tasty treats, and cash prizes.  Public voting will be included!  Cash prizes, provided by Saltwater Creative Agency of Portsmouth, NH, will be awarded to the top three designers (First: $1,500, Second: $1,000, Third: $500).

Stay tuned as we announce judges, community models, and details related to the public runway event, in the coming weeks.



Do we make the outfit beforehand?

No. Designers who are selected will be challenged to create an outfit on Friday, March 23rd and Saturday, March 24. It will run similar to a reality tv show competition. Designers will be given twelve hours to work on Friday, March 23rd and about 5 hours on Saturday, March 24th.

What do you mean by less than 5 years of professional experience?

We want to keep this a level playing field by featuring emerging talent. If you have sewn your whole life but never worked as a professional fashion designer - you can compete. If you have a side business where you sew for craft fairs -- you can compete. If you are a recent grad or retiree and have always dreamed of working in fashion -- you can compete.

Do I bring my own sewing machine and sewing tool kit?

Yes. All selected designers need to bring their own sewing machine and sewing tool kit (scissors, pins, measuring tape, etc.) Borrowed sewing machines will be on hand in case any break. A table of notions (zippers, snaps, thread, etc.) will be made available to designers. Ironing boards and irons will also be made available.

What is the challenge exactly?

Selected designers will be challenged to upcycle existing secondhand clothing and unconventional material into a fashionable evening outfit. Designers will be judged on creative reuse of materials, execution, and styling. A large bin of clothing will be specifically curated for this event from Goodwill stores. Designers need to design and construct the outfits themselves, onsite.

What about the models?

We will match models to designers based on the answers provided in the application. Models will be selected from our local community. We are planning on having a diverse range of models.

What is the time commitment?

Accepted designers should plan to arrive on Thursday, March 22nd at 6 pm for a welcome  reception and tour. Designers who live a considerable distance from Portsmouth, NH will be offered housing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Designers should plan to stay to the end of the event on Saturday night.

How will the runway show event run?

There will be a cocktail hour from 6:00 pm- 7:00 pm. The event will run from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm.

What can I do with the prize money?

There are no strings attached to the prize money. Our goal is to celebrate and support the creative ideas of emerging designers. We hope that the winners will become leaders in the sustainable fashion revolution.