NH Gives is underway!
Donate to 3S Artspace.
We want the artistic community to thrive, both here in the Seacoast, and everywhere! 3S Artspace is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to staying curious, fostering empathy, and fueling creativity. Consider helping us in our mission during #nhgives.
Skip to content

Call For Designers: 2024 Project Upcycle

Application Deadline: Sunday, May 19, 2024 
Designers Announced: Friday, June 7, 2024
Design Competition: Thursday, October 24 - Saturday, October 26, 2024
Project Upcycle Runway Event: Saturday, October 26, 2024 

3S Artspace, in partnership with Recovergirl, once again invites applications to our 6th annual sustainable design challenge, Project Upcycle.

This year, designers are challenged to turn up the glamor, and roll out red carpet looks for the runway. From sleek and structured, to outrageous and avant-garde, we welcome your creativity. How will you dress your model for the biggest party of the year?

There is more than one path to sustainable fashion. Designers will use both upcycled garments and surplus fabric. Along with a new design challenge, comes new features: during the designer/model meet-and-greet, Project Upcycle sponsor, Savers will host a Second Hand Sweep: designers will be timed as you run through the aisles with $100 to spend on thrift and vintage elements for your design. 

As always, Project Upcycle is here to help highlight talent, foster connections, encourage creativity, and inspire growth. It’s a platform for designers to make their mark in sustainable fashion, with a growing audience fanbase that follows and supports them from design challenge, to Runway Event, and beyond in future sustainable fashion designs, projects, and even careers. Equally important, we want to inspire our audience to make creative and considered choices with their wardrobes.

If you are ready to meet other inspiring designers and put your creativity and vision to the test, please apply to join us! 

Curious about last year's challenge? Check out this video:


Who is eligible to apply? Designers (and aspiring designers), ages 18+, currently residing in New England (ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI), with less than 5 consecutive years of professional fashion design experience. Everyone from students to self-taught designers to working designers and retirees is enthusiastically encouraged to apply. 

What is the challenge? Eight emerging designers are selected to participate in this fast-paced 2-day design challenge. Each designer will design and execute their vision of a red carpet look for their Community Role Model using upcycled garments and surplus fabric . Prepare yourself for some twists! The final outfit will be featured in the live Project Upcycle Runway Event where the judges select the top three designs and the audience votes for their favorite. 

Where is it held? Project Upcycle takes place at 3S Artspace, in Portsmouth, NH. 

When is it? Thursday, October 24 (late afternoon) - Saturday, October 26 (late night), 2024.
Sample Timeline: Thursday: Welcome, Meet the Team, Savers Second Hand Sweep; Friday: 8am- 9pm Design/Create/Model fittings; Saturday: 8am-2pm Final sewing/fittings. 8pm Runway Event. 

How are designers selected? Each year, 3S seeks designers with vision, skill, creativity, and a desire to challenge themselves (and the status quo) in the spirit of sustainable fashion. 

Who are the judges? An elite panel of 4 established design and industry professionals. Past judges have included: Project Runway designers, leading New England design professors, fashion curators, industry designers, etc.

What criteria are the judges using? Judges evaluate final looks based on creative (re)use of material, execution and quality of construction, and styling. Each designer is in charge of a full look, head-to-toe.  Detailed guidelines will be provided.

If selected, what would I need to be able to participate? All designers need to bring their own sewing machine and sewing tool kit (scissors, pins, measuring tape, etc.). Back-up machines are available in the event of a break-down. 

What about housing? Food? 3S Artspace is committed to providing housing for out-of-town designers for two nights (Thursday and Friday). All meals are provided during your stay. 

Is there a prize for the winner? A cash prize will be awarded to the top three designers, as well as to the “Audience Choice.” First: $1,500, Second: $1,000, Third: $500, Audience Choice: $500. Prizes come with no strings attached. Use the funds as you wish! 


Lead Sponsors:

AC Hotel Envio-2

Sustainability Sponsor:


Runway Sponsors:


Friend of Fashion:


Project Upcycle Fan:  Simka Sol, WeFillGood