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Project Upcycle runway: Serving runway looks, sustainably

New Hampshire designers will compete to create creative, sustainable style. The theme of this year’s competition is “New England streetwear.”

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — When eight designers compete here next month to produce garments for the Project Upcycle runway, they will be given a quick turnaround time and an incentive to produce crowd-pleasing clothes. But this isn’t fast fashion. Quite the contrary.

This event, now in its fifth year, celebrates creative and sustainable style as a rejoinder to wasteful and damaging trends in American consumption. The designers will take leftover textiles from businesses in New Hampshire and throughout the region and turn them into spotlight-ready attire. The theme is “New England streetwear.”

Jennifer Moore, the founder and co-creator of Project Upcycle, said the support of area businesses allows the initiative to showcase the creativity of emerging designers while promoting sustainability. The finished designs will be modeled on a runway and judged by a panel of experts on their execution, creativity, and styling, she noted.


The top three designers will win cash prizes of $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second, and $500 for third, plus $500 for the audience favorite.

The runway event at 3S Artspace will begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, with earlier access for members and VIPs. Tickets are available online. It’s billed as the venue’s biggest fundraiser, and organizers said the event always sells out.

“Each year, the pool of talent is incredible and imaginative, and the energy as attendees gather around the runway on Saturday night is not to be missed,” said Sara O’Reilly, marketing manager for 3S Artspace. “Our community shows up for this event with such enthusiasm and support for the designers and the community role models.”

Those community role models — including an emergency department physician, a local journalist, a children’s librarian, a senior leader in the New Hampshire community college system, and others — will double as the event’s runway models.


This story first appeared in Globe NH | Morning Report, our free newsletter focused on the news you need to know about New Hampshire, including great coverage from the Boston Globe and links to interesting articles from other places. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.

Steven Porter can be reached at Follow him @reporterporter.