The Miss Universe dress debacle between the famed Dubai-based designer Michael Cinco and the Miss Universe Canada Organization, wherein the latter accused Cinco of sending Miss Universe Canada’s gowns late and sabotaging her chance at the Top 21, has gone viral online for the intense back-and-forth between the two parties.
Cinco has since slammed the Miss Universe Canada team in a scathing post that called them “vile” and “ungrateful.”
Since then, Rian Fernandez, another Filipino fashion designer, has spoken up about his own “awful experience” with the Miss Universe Canada Organization.
“Unfortunately, I did not have the courage to speak before because I am just a small brand,” Fernandez detailed in a lengthy Instagram post. “Now that I know that I was not the only one treated badly by Denis, but other Filipino designers as well…I cannot be silent anymore.”
Fernandez recalled a time where he had a chance to dress Siera Bearchell for the 2016 Miss Universe pageant. He had prepared a brown gown and a white serpentine gown for Bearchell to wear, though Denis Davila, who leads the Miss Universe Canada Organization, only showed one to the contestant.
Bearchell ended up wearing the white gown, which was criticized online.
Another incident took place in 2018, when Fernandez and Davila were in talks for a gown for Miss Universe Canada Marta Magdalena Stepien. Fernandez had created five gowns for Stepien and assisted her throughout multiple flights to and from Thailand to ensure that the dress had fit well and was up to expectations.
“All expenses for my team [were] shouldered by me!” Fernandez asserted. “The gowns were made out of love for the reason that Denis promised me that I will get the exposure [and] media mileage.”
However, to Fernandez’s surprise, Stepien ended up not wearing any of the gowns and instead stepped out in a Michael Cinco creation. Though Fernandez had no qualms with the famous fashion designer, he did lament the fact that the Miss Canada team had broken their promise.
Upon requesting the return of the five gowns, Fernandez only received one back.
The experience led him to break down in his hotel room. “I questioned my talent and skill as a designer! Until the stress and anxiety level escalated and I felt half of my body paralyzed,” Fernandez continued. “It was the scariest moment of my life.”
Like Cinco, Fernandez did not receive a “thank you” from the Miss Universe Canada team or their Miss Universe candidate.
He urged Filipino designers to avoid being scammed by the MUC organization and had a last message for the Miss Canada team: “To you Denis and your team, please have some gratitude and a little sense of professionalism when dealing with people who want to help your queen. Please have a little shame. May this be the end of your swindler personality!”