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Upcycle Nation

Upcycle Nation

  • Premiered: 
    November 2, 2022
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: fuse
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Game Show & Contest
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Talent
  • Tags: fashion

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Plot Synopsis

Hosted and executive produced by Karrueche Tran, UPCYCLE NATION features aspiring designers and upcyclers from around the country who compete to transform everyday items into fashion-forward streetwear as they try to impress two expert judges: fashion mogul Jerome LaMaar and upcycling innovator Peder Cho. In each one-hour episode, three contestants will rip, tear, staple, burn, hammer, and sew their way through two high-stakes challenges to win a cash prize. From taking discarded denim jeans and making them into a new functional jacket, to repurposing old Oreo bags into a new couture handbag, they will use their raw talent to make something spectacular out of literally, nothing. The 24 contestants competing in the eight-episode first season include:

Julian Carter (24; Huntsville, AL): During the day Julian works in missile defense for the government, while at night he's posting upcycle TikTok videos. He approaches upcycle design from the distinct lens of an aerospace engineer. This unique perspective allows Julian to solve problems and execute functionality to create his simple yet striking upcycle designs.

Rachel "Elle" Litiatco (37; Los Angeles, CA): Originally a marine biologist, Elle worked in Hawaii with the conservation of marine mammals before she decided to move full-time into upcycle design. Since repurposing is a tenet of Elle's Filipino culture, she and her mother connected over sewing together, using everything from bed sheets to curtains.

Dawn Emry (44; San Diego, CA): Dawn grew up in Kihei, Hawaii, where the island instilled a passion for environmental preservation that she now applies to every aspect of her life, including her upcycled fashion. Her upcycle journey began with shells, sea glass, and old fishing lines she made into necklaces.

Michael Gonzales (26; Los Angeles, CA): A multi-faceted upcycle artist and former pre-med student, Michael spends as much time painting, sculpting, and graphic designing as he does sewing. His luxury upcycled streetwear line features distinct jagged edges and purposely messy hand stitching so that no one will ever be able to duplicate his creations - including himself.

Tylo May (26; Fort Smith, AR): Tylo has an insatiable creative spirit and attributes his inspiration and baseline for his upcycle designs to hip hop music. His brand MYNTWave Clothing, makes playful streetwear with a chill, modern edge. As a minimalist, Tylo loves using silhouettes and makes sure the person is wearing the clothes, not the other way around.

April Yang (29; San Diego, CA): April's Upcycle YouTube Channel has 2M subscribers. Always utilizing the bright funky colors of anime fashion, April's biggest concern when designing clothes is how she will feel and look wearing them while dancing.

Ruben Isaza (31; Houston, TX): Inspired by his mother and grandmother, he left a boring career in graphic design and followed his heart into the world of upcycle fashion design. Using 50% sustainable materials, his upcycle passion stems from using authentic 90's textiles to recreate timeless designs, as well as his desire to diminish the vast amounts of fashion waste.

Donnie Davis (28; Charlotte, NC): The uglier the fabric, the more Donnie wants to upcycle it! In fact, Donnie named his clothing line "TIFS" which stands for The Immaculate Freak Show. His eccentricity permeates his designs, which are heavily influenced by film and TV. Graphics are also one of his staple design features, with a special affinity for dying colors.

Thommy Douglass (35; Los Angeles, CA): Born and raised amidst the vibrant colors and extravagant fashion of New Orleans, Thommy brings his southern flair to all of his upcycle designs. It was pandemic boredom and an attraction for sustainability that birthed his upcycled fashion line, ReMuse, just two years ago. From patchwork corsets to denim skirts and various types of silk, Thommy's playful and whimsical women's clothing designs reflect his ebullient nature

Jonas King (18; Brooklyn, NY): Jonas is a recent high school graduate who is on his way to study at FIT this fall. At 16 years old, he interned on his first NY Fashion Week upcycled fashion show, and ever since that experience he has been on a mission to spread the word about conscious fashion consumption.

Acadia Herbst (22; Hacketstown, NJ): Originally an environmental science major, Acadia began to design upcycle fashion. Eventually, 111Threads became a full time job while she continued to study art-design, sustainability, and entrepreneurship in her Senior year of college. A voracious snowboarder and lover of extreme sports, she is now best known for upcycle ski apparel.

Andrew Burgess (21; Charlotte, NC): Andrew's signature quilt hoodie put him on the map, amassing a large following on TikTok and Instagram. His upcycled streetwear has featured in Vogue UK, Elite Daily, and Good Morning America, and his brand deals have included Panasonic, GUESS, and SunnyD.

Tori Kobayashi (29; Long Beach, CA): Tori started her brand, Nostalgic Threads, after working as a fast-fashion design assistant and viewing firsthand the cultural appropriation, inequality, and disconnect between corporations and their warehouses. Her use of classic 90s cartoons and pop culture nostalgia is most appreciated by her millennial clientele.

Denise Samson (44; Los Angeles, CA): Born in the Philippines, Denise infuses her jubilant culture into her upcycle designs with bursts of color. Samson Industries Clothing began in 2003 and has been featured in Voyage LA, mobile pop-ups, and live IG trunk shows.

Georgia Culp (49; Winter Park, FL): Georgia's obsessions with punk, horror, comics and rockabilly are the main themes in "Scrap The Runway", her signature upcycle design company. An inspiration to anyone changing careers later in life, this single mom of two boys followed her heart to fashion school at the age of 36 where she immediately flourished.

Mahdiyyah Muhammad (31; East Orange, NJ): Entirely self-taught, her upcycle clothing line bears her namesake and utilizes recycled brightly colored cottons and linens, patchwork, and geometric cut-outs. Mahdiyyah has done a bathing suit collaboration with the great Dionne Wallace, and her upcycled collections have been featured on the Tamron Hall Show as well as Showtime's The Chi.

MI Legget (27; Queens, NY): As a non-binary youth, MI never felt comfortable with fashion until they started converting clothes to fit their unique style. Their outlandish wearable art is unisex, leaning toward a masculine fit, and has been featured in the NY Times, Bloomberg, and Vogue Italia to name a few.

Anna Molinari (24; New York, NY): Queen of trash fashion, some of Anna's wildest upcycle creations include a corset made from Juul pods (nicotine vape carts), a dress of pandemic newspaper headlines, and her infamous headpiece of chewing gum, which contained contributions from much of the student body. Her upcycle designs have been featured in Popsugar, Nylon Magazine, and NY Fashion Week 2022.

Tylia "Majeeda" Henry (40; Philadelphia, PA): Raised by her grandmother in the Philly housing projects, the city of brotherly love greatly influences her upcycled urban streetwear line. Her famous "Pufferella Dress" took 24 hours to produce. Majeeda's upcycle designs have been showcased in Philly Fashion Week, NY Fashion Week, and LA Streetwear Festival.

Chris "Cy" Yuen (25; Anaheim, CA): Chris started upcycling as a response to high school bullying. Chris finds self-expression in his upcycle designs, and his signature style brings a darker lens to iconic childhood symbols, like Pokemon. His brand, Stoic Years, started in 2016 as a graphic design business before expanding into upcycle streetwear in 2018.

Alex Kato (32; Los Angeles, CA): A self-taught prodigy, in high school Alex was part of the fanatical fashion crowd that would line-up on Fairfax for limited edition sneakers and streetwear. Utilizing the Japanese fabric Katazome as well as the intricate hand stitching technique called Sachiko, his design style is functional rockstar streetwear.

Daniel Grier (36; Atlanta, GA): Completely self-taught, Daniel uses tie-dye, embellishments, and screen printing to get his message across. Some of the unconventional items he uses are mirrors, trash bags, and boxing gloves which inspired his most recent collection called "Legendary". The Splashed by DKG brand has been featured in over 50 fashion shows, four fashion weeks, and a number of blogs and magazines.

Paige Sechrist (21; Charlotte, NC): Paige is an upcycle content creator with a dedicated social media following. Her ultimate goal is to teach and inspire others to upcycle their own wardrobes. Paige would love to compete against her boyfriend, Andrew Burgess, who is also an upcycle content creator.

Elvira Zamora (40; Los Angeles, CA): Elvira is as rebellious as her upcycle designs - they defy the norm. As a child, she always pushed the boundaries, especially with the school dress code. And when her strict Peruvian father, an extremely successful tailor, advised Elvira to not follow in his footsteps, she did the exact opposite. Since 2001 her upcycled clothing line, Wardrobe Divas, has created "protest fashion" using her signature cuts, symbols, and patterns.
On Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at 10pm ET/PT, fuse premiered "Making Uniforms Unique," the season finale of SECRET RESTORATION. Three contestants -- Paige Sechrist, Andrew Burgess and Elvira Zamora -- each make one red-carpet look by repurposing uniforms.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Fuse Content Studio (as Fuse Studios)