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Queen of upcycling: Miss Universe 2022 R'Bonney Gabriel's best fashion creations

By Camille Santiago Published Nov 11, 2023 4:32 pm

She's one talented queen!

Filipina-American beauty queen R'Bonney Gabriel is a fashion designer by profession, and as Miss Universe 2022, she uses her platform to advocate for responsible fashion, inspiring others through her upcycled works.

“People can make fashion a force for good by recognizing how pollution in the industry affects us all, and taking small steps to make their wardrobe more environmentally friendly,” she told Vogue Philippines.

“Right now, I’m creating educational sewing and sustainable fashion videos with Miss Universe’s digital team for everyone to access and learn from,” she added.

R'Bonney, who had been sewing since she was 15 years old, believes that repurposing clothing to make new ones is a "great way to protect Earth from trash."

Before she passes on her crown on Nov. 19 (PHT), let's take a look back at some of the best looks R'Bonney created during her reign as Miss Universe.

Red upcycled blazer

For her meet-and-greet event in El Salvador, the beauty queen recreated her hot red blazer, adding Piña fabric to add character.

Blazer and mini skirt

If oversized blazers are your thing, wait till you see R'Bonney's creation. She refreshed a gray jacket with wide lapels into a blazer and mini skirt, adding a touch of blue on one of the sides. This look made it to Paris Fashion Week.

Filipinana blazer

R'Bonney created a Filipinana jacket and modeled it for Vogue Philippines.

For her magazine feature, the beauty queen created a black cropped bolero with embroidered butterfly sleeves. She wore it with a white tee and ripped jeans.

White pleated top with floral applique

Leave it to R'Bonney to turn a simple white boxy top and a pleated fabric into an eye-catching, barely there top.

For her visit to Bangkok University, where she talked to young designers about passion and fashion sustainability, she created a white top with hand-sewn floral applique made from pleated fabric.

Pinstripe cropped blazer and skirt

Ukay-ukay but make it Miss Universe-style. R'Bonney said she found a blazer in the Miss Universe apartment closet and a black lace fabric scrap from Fab Scrap to design a three-piece look.

"At the time I was making this, I had the intentions (sic) of creating new designs in a more environmentally conscious way," she said in one post, adding that millions of tons of textile waste goes (sic) into landfills each year."

"As a designer, I must continue to provide examples of solutions to this problem," she added.

Starry Night-inspired top

Fashion inspiration comes from anything—even art. For this tube top, R'Bonney was inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night" painting and the "concept of finding the beauty in storm."