She may be the newly crowned Miss Universe, but R’Bonney Gabriel puts planet Earth first. In addition to serving as Miss Texas USA and Miss USA, the pageant queen runs her own eco-friendly clothing linewhich she put to good use during Saturday night’s Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans.
During the swimsuit portion of the competition, Gabriel – who pageant officials say is the first Filipino American to serve as Miss USA – took the stage in a bright orange one-shoulder swimsuit with a cut-out waist. The suit was paired with a dramatic cape designed by Gabriel himself, using sustainable dyes and plastic bottles to demonstrate “how art can be made from what we perceive to be trash”. The cloak also included a message expressing the urgency of making changes: “If not now, then when?”
Gabriel documented the process of making the swimsuit cape, which was inspired by the story of a phoenix rising from the ashes, on Instagram on Saturday.
“I designed this swimsuit cape inspired by the story of the Phoenix Rising who emerged from adversity to become stronger, wiser and more powerful,” Gabriel wrote. “I kept this in mind throughout my journey through the pageantry. Setbacks will always happen in life, but we can choose to let them bring us down or use them as fuel for ascent.
“Sustainably colored and designed using plastic bottles, I collected and transformed this cape to show how art can be made from what we perceive to be trash. He also embodies my favorite message, ‘If not now, then when?’” she continued.
The 28-year-old’s post includes video footage of her using natural dyes to give the cape a fiery tie-dye effect, while plastic bottles were cut and shaped to create a sculptural collar.
The beauty queen and ethical fashion advocate also shared how she upcycled a friend’s jacket and an old jumpsuit she already owned to create one of her Miss Universal rehearsal looks.
“Rather than buying another outfit, I made something new out of a jumpsuit I already had,” Gabriel said of the bold all-black ensemble. “We use over 400% more clothes than we did two decades ago, and a lot of those clothes end up in the trash. I believe we can all make a conscious effort not to consume too much of things we really don’t need and appreciate the things we already have. We can adapt and embrace that mindset in our lives #ForceForGood.
During the Miss Universe pageant, Gabriel spoke of her commitment to using her fashion skills for good, from working as a sewing instructor for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking to using sustainable and recyclable materials in her clothing line.
“It’s so important to invest in others, invest in our community, and use your unique talent to make a difference,” she told the judges. “We all have something special, and when we plant those seeds on other people in our lives, we transform them and use that as a vehicle for change.”
Wellness, parenting, body image and more: get to know it who Behind huh with the Yahoo Life newsletter. Sign up here.
https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/miss-universe-rbonney-gabriel-swimsuit-cape-ethical-fashion-163710215.html New Miss Universe, R’Bonney Gabriel designed her swimsuit look using sustainable dyes and plastic bottles