THE INSIDE SKINNY ON... Project Upcycle!

Jen Moore is the brainchild and co-founder of "Project Upcycle" - a buzzed about event that's happening THIS SATURDAY! 

Read our exclusive interview below...

We love the name "Project Upcycle". Tell us about it!

Project Upcycle is a sustainable fashion competition in which eight emerging designers from New England will be challenged to “upcycle" existing secondhand clothing into creative gala-worthy outfits in just two days! The competition will culminate with a live runway show and gala event at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH on Saturday, March 24th

What inspired you to start this? 

This community! I was also inspired by The RPM Challenge, and the ArtPM challenge and of course, Project Runway!

How long has Project Upcycle been going on? 

The upcoming event at 3S Artspace is actually the legit inaugural event! I’ve held much smaller, fashion challenges with friends, but nothing like this before. For the last two years, my friends and I rented Buoy Gallery in Kittery, Maine on Black Friday, and challenged ourselves to each sew a garment in one day. It was our way of reclaiming Black Friday... turning it from a day of consuming to a day of making. 


What do you do outside of Project Upcycle? 

I work at the Portsmouth Public Library as a library clerk. Libraries are a great place to work if you care about sustainability. With libraries, we decide as a community to buy one of something, and then share it. #Genius

How did you get into fashion? 

I learned to love quality clothing because of my mom. She brought me to Filene’s Basement when I was a kid. I touched, with my own hands, designer clothing and shoes. Back in the day, Filene’s Basement was really something.

Can you tell us about your fashion blog? 

The name of my blog is Recovergirl. It’s a play on the brand name Covergirl but with “RE” added as a prefix to (hopefully) bring to mind the three R's - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! My blog is a place where I share inspiration and examples of sustainable design and style.

How did you choose the designers for Project Upcycle?

Our amazing team chose eight contestants from 64 applicants! Our team includes staff from 3S Artspace, Goodwill, Saltwater Creative and (if you can believe it) Rebecca Henning Taylor, an Emmy-nominated producer of Project Runway AND director of America's Next Top Model! She lives in Eliot, Maine and is donating her time to help us out. I know. I can’t believe it either. 


And the judges? Who are they? 

OMG. The judges are phenomenal! We have Pete Lankford, design director at Timberland. He is such a thoughtful designer. I look forward to hearing his reaction to the designs. Jennifer Varekamp is a fashion professor from MassArt who is committed to sustainability. You gotta read her bio on the 3S Artspace website. So impressive! Molly Shaheen, who is the co-founder of State & Manor, an eco-conscious clothing line that is designed and manufactured in the USA! Aaaannnndd Ben Chmura, who was a Project Runway designer on Season 7. Ben is now a consultant for color/concept and trend forecasting in New York City. See what I mean? Phenomenal judges!

What are you most excited about? 

Two things really. I so look forward to greeting the designers. I imagine myself playing the role of Tim Gunn. I will help facilitate the process and be supportive of the designers.This is a really hard challenge! But what I am most looking forward to is watching three designers realize they won!!! The prizes are pretty great (First: $1,500, Second: $1,000, Third: $500*). I love that on a very real level, we are saying to an emerging designer, “You’ve got this! And oh, here is some cash to help you out.” 

*Prizes provided by Saltwater Creative. :) 

What can we expect as viewers? 

OMgosh. You should expect to participate in a creative community BASH! It starts at 6:00 p.m. with a cocktail hour and heavy hors d'oeuvres, provided by Tuscan Kitchen. At 7:00 p.m., the runway show starts with local drag queen, Bunny Wonderland, at the helm. Community "role" models will show off the designs on the catwalk. There will be a break for the judges to deliberate and for the audience to vote. Then the crazy awesome award ceremony will take place, followed by an After Party to end all after parties. I mean, I can’t even. I’m so excited. 

Thank you for sharing your incredible project with us Jen. We can't wait to see everyone's masterpieces! 

 Ticket Time! ->