Cramming a stunning dress with a significant message that can still make jaws drop? Leave it to a Filipino student!
One of the stunners during Monday’s Miss Universe national costume exhibition was Miss Singapore, who stole looks not only for her stunning red and white couture but also for the powerful call to “Stop Asian Hate” that she brandished behind her gown.
But that’s not where our amazement of her costume stops. As the Philippine-born-and-raised representative revealed on Instagram on Friday, her eye-catching costume was actually made by a 21-year-old Filipino designer, and — get this — it was created just two days before the event!
“Can you believe that this was made in only 2 days?” she wrote. “I reached out to Filipino designer Arwin Meriales to create a design of my own and he executed!”
With the help of artist Paulo Pilapil Espinosa in tow, the team helped execute Miss Singapore’s idea to focus on “the movement revolving around racial spite and prejudice.”
“Given the slim timeframe we had to get it sent from the Philippines to Singapore before I flew out to the US,” Ong wrote under her post. “I’d say this is a HUGE win for everyone! We got our message across loud and clear! Thanks for roaring back at us with love and praise!”
From Meriales’ side of things, he could not be any prouder of how his creation shined on stage. On a Facebook post on Friday, the young designer shared the pressure of being tasked to make a national costume with the overwhelming pressure of time.
“When Bernadette asked me to make her national costume, I have to be honest, I thought it’s not going to work,” Meriales wrote under a video of Miss Singapore’s strut. “I only had 2 days to make it. Considering that I’m still studying, I thought it’s not going to work so I was hesitant to accept it.”
What pushed him to the plate, though, was the opportunity to be a part of a movement. Luckily, things turned out better than expected, and Miss Singapore is all praises for Meriales’ “undeniably impressive work ethic.”
“It’s not just a national costume. It’s a STATEMENT and a PROTEST to stop Asian hate. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of such [a] cause?” Meriales said.
Miss Singapore has been vocal about her Filipino background, having been born and raised in the Philippines until the age of 11. During the Miss Universe’ Up Close video segment, the 27-year-old actress and model shared that her time in the Philippines allowed her to be fluent in the Filipino language and to appreciate her Filipino-Chinese roots.