The Upcycle Challenge Finalists

The UpCycle Project and Paraiso Miami Beach partnered to create a national design student challenge with the goal to raise awareness on sustainability by UpCycling dead stock fabrics from international swimwear and activewear designers.

The selected top five designers are now working hand-in-hand with renowned swimwear brands (L*Space, Volcom, Maaji, Vitamin A and Cynthia Rowley) to create two pieces from donated dead-stock fabrics and the opportunity to present at PARAISO Miami Beach this July. Follow their journey @paraisomiamibeach and @theupcycleproject.


Meet the Upcycle Challenge Finalists


Rayah Shapiro is a Fashion Design student at Parsons School of Design. Her love for environmental science has led her to a minor in Alternative Fashion Strategies. Growing up in California, Rayah has built a close relationship with the ocean. Seeing the influx of pollutants making their way into the beaches, she feels the need to help mitigate the stress on our planet through her designs. Rayah will be mentored by swim brand L*Space to create two upcycled, swimwear pieces.


Elio Rojas a student of The Miami Fashion Institute discovered the expression of beauty through fashion as a child. Spending time in his grandmother’s studio, he observed her constructing the most delicate of dresses displaying her passion, creativity, and love of fabrics.Coming from an economics background, Elio took the opportunity to go back to fashion after moving to Miami. His style can be described as simple, but futuristic focused generally on unisex design. Elio will be mentored by swim brand Volcom to create two upcycled, swimwear pieces.


Patricia Camacho, is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design at Miami International University of Arts and Design. After leaving a long career in the corporate world, Patricia decided to pursue her dream of starting her own fashion brand, Wuari. Her vision was to reach as many women as possible and share with them the message of faith, hope, and strength that once encouraged her in the most challenging moment of her life. Patricia will be mentored by swim brand Maaji to create two upcycled, swimwear pieces.


Raquel Zerbib’s passions has always been divided between Science and Arts. Pausing her medical career, she started her fashion path with a degree in Accessory Design, followed by a Bachelors in Fashion Design at the Miami International University of Art and Design. Raquel approaches clothing and accessories as wearable sculptures and always tries to create something unique, empowering, feminine, expressing the women that she has become: a creative being with a humanitarian heart and a scientific mind. Raquel will be mentored by swim brand Vitamin A to create two upcycled, swimwear pieces.


Hannah Myers grew uparound the beach in small town on the shore of Long Island, which plays a huge influence in her life and designs. A FIT student majoring in fashion design specialized in women’s intimates, she focuses on spreading body positivity through design, while promoting the use of sustainability and a healthy lifestyle. Hannah will be mentored by swim brand Cynthia Rowley to create two upcycled, swimwear pieces.

Special thanks to Paraiso Partners: Cynthia Rowley, L*Space, Maaji, Vitamin A, Volcom and The Upcycle Project.

Learn more about The Upcycle Challenge here