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Make Fashion Circular Designer Challenge

This year, Resource Depot is partnering with fellow nonprofit organization, aZul Fashion, Art & Design Inc. for our Make Fashion Circular Designer Challenge as part of REfashion Weekend 2023.  


This year, it all starts with a blank canvas tote bag.  

Seven participating designers and their collaborators from aZul Fashion, Art & Design visited Resource Depot to select their totes and source materials from the Materials Marketplace and TreasuRE Boutique

Over the next few weeks, each designer will transform these totes into one-of-a-kind upcycled pieces using Resource Depot materials and fashion construction techniques learned through the Follow the Thread fashion accelerator program at aZul.

The debut of these "REfashionable" totes will be at the VIP Preview Party on Friday, February 24th at REfashion Weekend and will be available for sale.  Proceeds from the sales of the Make Fashion Circular Designer Challenge will equally benefit both aZul Fashion, Art & Design and Resource Depot to support their creative programs.

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aZul Fashion, Art & Design's mission is to empower adults with disabilities (Autism, Down Syndrome and related disabilities) as well as their caregivers, using fashion, art, and design as a path to achieve artistic recognition, dignity and financial independence.

Meet The Designers

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Karina Castro

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Designer | The Grand Shine

Collaborator -  Bibiana

Karina Castro is a sustainable fashion designer and owner of the brand The Grand Shine since December 2021.  She successfully completed the sustainable fashion design program Follow the Thread with aZul.  She was diagnosed with Koolen-De-Vries Syndrome, and now Anxiety Separation Panic Attack and she finds "doing all this kind of work helps me to control myself and calm down my emotions."  She is especially thankful for the founder of aZul, Sandra Raffaelli, who "helps open me to new doors to my future."  Karina enjoys creating new designs all the time and always tries to do her best.  

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Benjamin O. Noble II

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Designer | O.O.K. (One Of a Kind)

Benjamin Noble II was born with Down's Syndrome.  When he was in school, he was good at art.  "I was also good at following music and rhythm. I love dancing it’s my favorite thing to do."  With his mom's patience, love and dedication, Benjamin has learned a lot and it's no surprise she is the biggest influence in his life.  In 2019, Benjamin and his mom found out about the Follow the Thread program for adults with disabilities.  "I didn't know that I could accelerate more in Art and that I could learn different techniques in creating my designs.   It gives me hope, confidence and I feel very blessed that I am in this program and it's a great pleasure to be working with my fellow designers."

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Devin Nassar - Reis

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Designer |  2071 Redesigning Future Trends

Meet Devin of 2071 Redesigning Future Trends.  Devin holds a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, from Florida Atlantic University with concentrations in journalism and history. Devin has a deep passion for fashion and has been part of the aZul family since 2019. In 2020, Devin launched her entrepreneurial spirit as a designer in the world of sustainable fashion with the premier of her Company 2071.    "As a teen, I discovered my passion through a hobby of mine. From there, I decided I wanted to become a designer. Follow The Thread has allowed me to follow my passion and turn it into a business. Through this, I can do what I love and follow my dreams."  

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Hannah Zegel

    Designer | Sunshine Love

    Collaborator - Gianna

    Hannah loves fashion! She has a beautiful style of her own and keen eye for design.  When Hannah heard about aZul Follow the Thread she wanted to begin right away.  The design experience was amazing! Her collaborator, Gianna. truly let Hannah express her design concepts and supported her with making some amazing pieces. Since then, she has been very successful in selling her designs at various fashion events and is thankful to aZul for making this dream a reality.

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    Erika Eno

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    Designer | E3 Sustainable Free Style

    Collaborators - Natalie & Micki

    Erika Eno is the founder of E3 - three generations of designers.  After finding out about aZul's Follow the Thread program at a community Autism event Erika was eager to try something new.  Erika was joined by Natalie & Micki and all three enrolled in the program.  To have three generations participating and learning design techniques together was so rewarding and inspired and awakened all of their creativity - "what a joy it is to have started our E3 Sustainable Free Style business together."  Be sure to be on the lookout for the three hidden dots on each sustainable clothing creation by Erika and E3.

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    Veronica M. Pappas

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    Designer | Lol'as Trends

    Meet Veronica of Lol'as Trends, one of aZul's designers from 2021 Follow the Thread program.  Since graduating from the program, Veronica has been consistently working on growing her fashion business, taking part in as many marketing opportunities as she can - from pop - up and fashion festivals to community and church events.  Her mom, Mency, couldn't be more proud.  "I am just so impressed of how she overcame a lot of things. I know we've had a dream to do something in her life and she's definitely conquered her dream to be a sustainable fashion designer."  Get to know Veronica and you will soon agree - her passion for fashion is contagious!