Paraiso Miami Beach starts with the Paraiso Upcycle Challenge

For the second year, Paraiso Miami Beach partnered with The Upcycle Challenge to create the PARAISO UpCycle Challenge This event is created to raise awareness on fashion sustainability by UpCycling dead stock fabrics from international swimwear designers, this year – the message is louder and clearer. The PARAISO Upcycle Challenge aims to teach design students that the purpose of their garments can go beyond the aesthetic and involve the wellbeing of the people and the planet. 

The national competition invites design students to create two pieces from donated dead-stock fabrics, for the opportunity to present at PARAISO, and win designer mentorships. The Application process consists of three rounds and only five students make to the third round to determine the winner. 

“By collaborating with UpCycled Project to create PARAISO UpCycle Challenge we further our commitment to sustainability, using fashion to transform lives and create a more conscious future. Each year, I look forward to seeing how students, respond to being matched and mentored by some of the leading swimwear and resort wear designers. Through this mentorship program and contest, we encourage creative thinking and transformative solutions integral to a new way of working,” says co-founder and creative director of PARAISO Natalija Dedic Stojanovic. 

Due to Covid situation this year only instead of nation wide fashion universities, student finalists were chosen from Miami International University of Art and Design 


The panel of judges was composed by Jeannette Roger , owner of Nic Del Mar boutique; Kally Saks, TV reporter; Fabrice Tardieu, shoe designer; Jenny Starr Perez, Editor in Chief of Indulge Miami; and Yanira Pineda, Sustainability specialist in the City of Miami Beach.

Angelique Salcedo created a proposal with Charlie Holiday’s dead waste fabric and mentorship. For Angelique, sustainability is equal to creating and finding creative ways to design.⁣⁣ On the process she learned from the Charlie Holiday’s pattern makers how they construct swimwear and make them unique. ⁣⁣

Chevia Roach presented a revealing presentation with Chromat’s the dead waste fabrics from their archive and mentorship. Chevia was inspired by how different things can come together and be cohesive.⁣ It was her first time designing swimwear for women who are ok with being themselves and are creative.

Raquel Zerbib received white dead waste fabric and mentorship from Normaillot.⁣ Zerbib implemented tie dye and Venezuelan weaving technique that helped her win the challenge. ⁣Regarding sustainable fashion, she thinks the new generation of fashion designers are responsible for changing the waste the industry leaves in the world.⁣

Alejandro Barzága exhibited the only menswear capsule collection with Perry Ellis’s mentorship and their dead waste fabric.⁣ The designer was inspired by the movie “Men of Honor” and the scuba divers suits on the 1930’s.⁣ To Barzága, sustainability means to do the best construction and precision in clothing making to reduce environmental impact.⁣

Susana Restrepo created a printed proposal with Agua Bendita’s 6 printed and solid fabrics from their dead waste and archives and mentorship.

For Restrepo, a big fan of Agua Bendita, the most exciting part of the process was when she received the fabric and started to create a story with them.⁣ She implemented the “punto de Cruz” patchwork technique from Colombia. ⁣She wants to create awareness and use upcycling, non toxic dyes and help give a voice and the value communities deserve.⁣


The winner of the challenge was Raquel Zerbib.

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