Upcycled Design Competition 2022

Meet The Finalists

Upcycled Design Competition 2022

The Wilson School of Design, in partnership with local textile recycling initiative Our Social Fabric, are pleased to present this year's Upcycled Design Competition with the theme of "Awareness". The 9 finalists have created a 3-dimensional design using recycled textiles and found objects that address a meaningful and current topic. Read on to learn more about each of the 9 entries, and cast your vote for your favourite!

Why Upcycled?

This year marks the 3rd design competition developed in partnership with Our Social Fabric and the Wilson School of Design at KPU. The initiative seeks to combine reclaimed materials with the skill and expertise of KPU’s design students to demonstrate the viability of transforming fabric/material waste into upcycled design concepts. Our goal is to create awareness of Our Social Fabric’s efforts to divert fabric and material waste from the landfill and inspire our emerging designers to consider their impact on the planet.

Community Partner - Our Social Fabric

Our Social Fabric (OSF) is a textile recycling initiative, in operation since 2009. OSF receives donations of textiles, fabric and sewing-related supplies from the film industry, theatre, manufacturing, estate closures together with home sewers and artists. Their team of volunteers sort through donations and offer them back to the community at drastically reduced prices. OSF has two main purposes: the first is to reclaim, recycle and extend the life-cycle of surplus textiles and textile-related materials destined for destruction or landfill. The second goal is to build community awareness of best practices for textile waste reduction towards zero waste and a circular economy. OSF has diverted over 50 tons of fabric from landfills since its inception in 2009. "We believe in a future where no useable fabric ends up in Canadian landfills."


Guidelines and Criteria

Competition Guidelines

  • Participants must be enrolled in one of the Wilson School of Design’s (WSD) seven design programs as a full-time student
  • Must be interested in exploring upcycled design concepts to potentially solve or respond to modern day textile waste problems
  • Participants must create an upcycled design concept with this year's theme, Awareness, in mind. Make your audience think, spark some debate or discussion
  • Design and build an upcycled "creation". Concepts include but are not limited to: garments, soft products, art pieces, interior design products, zero or minimal waste designs, etc...
  • Materials used must include a minimum of 80% of OSF-provided materials. The majority of remaining materials must be upcycled/recycled
  • Participants receive a $40 gift card to select from available materials
  • Submissions may be made by individuals or groups of two. For group submissions the financial award will be split equally among the two applicants (no exceptions)

Final Submission Requirements

Provide a single video for final submission. Video to include;

  • Design process
  • Outline of the representation of the theme “Awareness”
  • Description of how the piece was designed and created, material usage, explanation of all other materials used and how they were sourced/ reclaimed, why those choices were made
  • Must include very clear visuals of final design
  • Video submission can be a combination of time lapse, power point, vlog, TikTok, photos etc...
  • Video submission must be no longer than 15 minutes in length
  • Video should include clear lighting, visuals and audio

Judging Criteria

  • Innovative use of reclaimed materials sourced from OSF up to a maximum budget of $40
  • Representation of the theme “Awareness”
  • Creativity, quality, finishing and workmanship of completed design
  • Ability to articulate (through video submission) the design process, inspiration, rationale for selected materials and overall messaging of theme


  • 1st Place: $2000
  • 2nd Place: $1500
  • 3rd Place: $1000
  • People's Choice Award: $500


People's Choice Award 

  • Vote for your favourite entry below
  • Voting open March 28-April 11
  • Each vote counts as one entry to win $100 Gift Card at the Our Social Fabric retail location
  • Gift Card winner will be drawn randomly

Winners will be announced at a special event on April 21. Stay tuned!


Meet The Finalists

Brittany Pinto

I am a second year Fashion Design and Technology student at the Wilson school of design. Prior to attending this program, I did a semester at George Brown in Fashion Marketing and interned for stylist Zeina Esmail and Designer Beverly Ghan, before deciding to pursue further education and complete a degree in fashion design. I am inspired to create completely sustainable garments and to empower women through size inclusive design.

Why did you want to participate in the Upcycled Design Competition?

I wanted to participate in this competition because it gives me the opportunity to bring awareness to the unrealistic beauty standards that women face today and the courage of women who are empowered in radical self-love and self-acceptance. Humans are beautiful in their individuality and difference, in a world of extreme editing on social media I wanted to show a woman who is inspiring and confident in who she is. The hyper fixation on the female body does not represent who we are as women, and I want to be a part of rewriting the narrative of how women are perceived and how we perceive ourselves.

What do you hope to create?

I am creating a swim suit design because I feel like this is a place where women can feel really exposed and it can show even more powerfully the confidence in our vulnerability.

Diane Acab and Angela Zheng

Angela Zheng

Hi everyone! My name is Angela Zheng, and I am currently a 3rd year student in the Fashion & Technology program. I decided to participate in the OSF Upcycled Design Competition to show and apply my skills beyond the sewing aspect; hence, my partner (Diane Acab) and I will be creating a shadow art piece. We want to raise awareness on the effects of climate change in the fashion industry by using light, recyclable materials, and fabrics to create a shadowed image of the city to represent the concerns of fast fashion.

Diane Acab

My name is Diane and I’m in third year of the Fashion & Technology program. I was interested in working on a creative and hands-on project accompanied by my partner Angela Zheng. We hope to create awareness around the fashion industry and its effects on the environment. The industry is responsible for emitting 10% of the world's carbon emissions. Our submission aims to create shadow art with fabric and recycled materials, portraying an image of the city and the fashion industry.



Jennifer Lamont

What is your program/year of study?

4th year fashion design & technology

Why did you want to participate in the Upcycled Design Competition?

This is my second year doing this competition and love the challenge. Plus, the theme this year was such a great theme and wanted to participate.

The theme of the competition is Awareness. What do you hope to create awareness for through your submission, and can you give us an idea what you plan on doing for your final submission?

I wanted to give awareness to “Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women” this is a topic that doesn’t get enough attention, especially in the media. My final submission will have names of some of the women and have a cultural aspect to it.

Joshua Swanson

My name is Joshua Swanson, I am a husband and father of three daughters. I have a background in video, photography, and graphic design and spent over a decade working for small businesses and non-profit organizations. I have had the privilege of travelling to Africa, Mexico, and India, amongst other places, to capture and help promote organizations doing important work for underserved communities. Beyond this work I have owned and operated my own company and non-profit community centre, as well as spent a large portion of my life investing time and energy into the skateboard community.

Making the decision to take on this next chapter of my life didn’t come easy. As a mature student with a full family, I wasn’t so sure I could make it work. I was nervous that the stress of a cross province move, leaving extended family behind, and the financial challenges would be too much. Despite the concerns, we decided that we needed to take the risk to allow me to attend one of the country’s most highly recommended Design Schools. Year one was difficult to say the least – as with many folks, taking on this past year entirely virtually with all the anxiety of a global pandemic was no simple task, however I came out of it with a lot of new knowledge and a tonne of growth. I believe we made the right decision.

I have always loved to create, make art, and dream up ways to improve the world around me. In my professional life up until the point of applying to this program, I had only ever done that on a sheet paper or digital screen. Entering the Interior Design industry would allow me to turn my ideas into physical realities for people to interact with and enjoy. After obtaining my degree I plan to work for an Interior Design or Architecture Firm designing sustainable spaces that aid in slowing down our planet’s deterioration. I hope to encourage people and companies to see the value in recycled, reclaimed, and repurposed items and materials. I believe I can accomplish this goal while also creating beautiful, inspiring, timeless spaces. .

What is your program/year of study?

Year 2

Why did you want to participate in the Upcycled Design Competition?

In 2015 a documentary about the truth behind the fashion industry came out and it dramatically changed my perspective. After that I completely rethought my buying habits and the types of brands I support, purchasing clothing that will last and be able to be repaired over and over again. When I heard about this competition which brings attention to slowing down the harmful effects of textile waste, I knew I had to be a part of it.

The theme of the competition is Awareness. What do you hope to create awareness for through your submission, and can you give us an idea what you plan on doing for your final submission?

I would like to bring awareness to the harmful effects of the fast fashion industry and textile/clothing waste. In recent history this has become more of a hot topic, however we still have a long way to go. A great quote turned mantra from the scarcity of the WW2 era comes to mind - “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without!” My submission of a better laundry basket made from recycled OSF fabric and other recycled materials is intended to remind users that a garment can always be worn again, it can be repaired. I want users to rethink throwing a garment away just because it has a hole, or purchasing that next piece just because it is cheap.

Zachary Chao

My name is Zachary Chao and I am currently enrolled in the Fashion & Technology program as a 3rd-year student. I am very invested in sustainable practices and various social causes that centre around activism, inclusivity, diversity, and more! I wish to contribute to a better future by being a conscious consumer myself and enacting change within my communities. Aside from fashion, I am also hugely passionate about mental health awareness and psychology, hence my decision to minor in Psychology.

What is your program/year of study?

Fashion Design & Technology, third year

Why did you want to participate in the Upcycled Design Competition?

I am passionate about social justice movements and the theme of the competition, awareness, really intrigued me as I believe it is an integral part of community education. Also, to be sustainable and to become a conscious consumer is a huge aspect of my life, thus I aspire to channel this mentality into everything I do. I find this competition to be the perfect opportunity for me to combine both of my passions and to challenge myself to see what I can create through the amalgamation of material upcycling and social awareness.

The theme of the competition is Awareness. What do you hope to create awareness for through your submission, and can you give us an idea of what you plan on doing for your final submission?

I hope to bring awareness to "The Dangers of Toxic Masculinity" through my submission. I plan on creating a functional garment that embodies and symbolizes the lasting impacts of toxic masculinity to better inform and spark up conversations regarding this issue. The garment will feature traditional silhouettes of a men's button-up shirt with modifications and added fullness details. The colour RED is chosen to represent anger, aggression, power, and blood. Under the phenomenon of toxic masculinity, men often seek power when they feel like their masculinity is threatened. Therefore, this thirst for power, craving for validation, and the means to be authoritative can be expressed in two ways. Externally, through violence and physical dominance, or internally, through mental illness, addiction, and suicide.

Emma Wu

Emma is currently a first-year Fashion & Technology student at the Wilson School of Design. She was born and raised in Vancouver and was in the fashion design district program at Eric Hamber Secondary School for the past four years. Emma was first introduced to sewing and fashion design in grade 9 as a textiles elective course without any intention of pursuing it as a career. However, she was quickly drawn in by the environment and was encouraged by the teacher to join the district fashion design program. Emma especially enjoys researching and experimenting using repurposed and/or unconventional materials and is working on branching into technical apparel design.

What is your program/year of study?

I am currently a first-year student with the Fashion & Technology program at the Wilson School of Design at KPU.

Why did you want to participate in the Upcycled Design Competition?

I found out about “Our Social Fabric” last year in high school from my district program teacher and was very intrigued by what it is about and what they offer. I decided to participate in the Upcycled Design Competition because it is a valuable opportunity to practice my technical skills and design process whilst supporting a local cause important to the local fashion industry.

The theme of the competition is Awareness. What do you hope to create awareness for through your submission, and can you give us an idea what you plan on doing for your final submission?

My design concept brings recognition around what the phrase “new normal” means. Through the predictable unpredictability, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown our ability to adapt and resiliency as a global community. I wanted to create a garment that is functional and can be worn daily instead of a one-time project. Therefore, I designed a zippered vest with circular straps surrounding the garment, detailed with layered fabric scraps. With this piece, I hope to spark awareness and conversation with how we respond to changes within our lives. I was inspired by quilted garments and textile art with a comfortable silhouette. The vest itself is simple and has very minimal design lines. It can be worn by anyone, representing how the message I hope to convey through my piece is universally experienced. The focus of the piece is the circular straps that surround the vest. The details with layered fabric scraps on certain areas contrasting to the plain side emulate life before and after the pandemic began. The clean division by the centered zipper represents how many experiences fear being unable to return to their life before COVID-19. However, as the straps continue to the back, it is revealed that it is not strictly divisive compared to the front. The transition emphasizes the gradual blending between the layered scraps and plain areas, which is a physical depiction of a natural flow that comes with change.

Georgia Martin

Hello my name is Georgia Martin. I am in second year fashion design I Love challenges and design so it seemed like a great fit. I was really excited to make something more abstract and fun then the regular school program allows. For my submission I really wanted to create an eye opening experience for everybody. Aswell as bring awareness to the amazing ocean and how scared it is. I hope my submission sparks excitement, fun and appreciation for the ocean.

Kayla K.Yazdi

Kayla K.Yazdi, an Iranian-Canadian fashion enthusiast based in Vancouver, B.C. who enjoys incorporating the best of both worlds in her designs. Kayla is passionate about finding innovative ways to create zero-waste clothing. She has a diploma in painting and is currently getting her bachelors of design in Fashion Design & Technology from Wilson school of Design. Currently in my 4th year in Fashion Design & Technology

Why did you want to participate in the Upcycled Design Competition?

I’m participating for the second time around in the Upcycled Design Competition. Because I stand by Our Social fabric’s values and vision; which is to eradicate textile waste from Canadian landfills. It is important for me to design and create without harming our environment, and to show other creators and individuals a new path to creating by upcycling.

What do you hope to create?

My desire is to bring a message of awareness on the visually impaired through zero waste clothing. This garment will give information to the wearer about the piece such as, color, size, and right/wrong side with braille language. In short, basic information that will speed up the process of clothing and perhaps giving the joy of fashion and dressing up. Along with using braille language, I hope to activate the tactile sense for the wearer by using different material, texture, and construction methods. Such as quilting, using sequin, sewing pockets and ruffles, and using a variety of fabrics.

Zemira Villanueva

Program & Year: Fashion Design & Technology- 4th year I wanted to join the competition to challenge myself with sustainability and create a garment that promotes global warming awareness. It has been such a crucial topic for many years now, and I hope to create a garment that conveys that flooding is affixed to global warming and not just heavy rain, and it is a severe environmental issue.