A costume inspired by “Mmanwa”, a traditional Igbo masquerade, has fetched Nigeria the best National Costume at the 70th Edition of Miss Universe pageant
The beautiful ensemble made with African beads, stones, and crafts was designed by a 20-year-old Filipino designer, Kennedy Jhon Gasper.
Miss Maristella Okpala, Nigeria’s representative at the 2021 Miss Universe pageant, explained that the costume sought to celebrate the rich heritage of Nigeria.
“It has a way of reminding us that we are all connected and we share similar rich Cultures/Religion irrespective of where we come from, it is only one HUMAN RACE”. And we light up the @missuniverse stage with our Beautiful costumes”.
“I picked this particular costume because I see a self-reflection of my cause in this Mmanwa which protects children and women against any form of abuse.
“Finally, this costume pays attention to the strong will of women in attaining whatever heights they want to attain, no matter the challenges faced while reaching their desired goals.
Kennedy first made waves online earlier this year after his creation for Miss Cameroon at the 69th Miss Universe pageant turned heads.
Writing on Instagram, the designer said that the costume represents “the beautiful Mmanwa who fought tirelessly to stop girl child mutilation and child slavery.” Meanwhile, the colorful patterns and embellishments take inspiration from dashiki, the vibrant African garment, meant “to invoke the ancestral spirits.”
“I picked this particular costume because I see a self-reflection of my cause in this Mmanwa who protects children and women against any form of abuse,” Kennedy wrote.
The designer added that the costume pays homage to the strong will of women in attaining their desired goals.
Kennedy is a student at the Central Luzon State University, taking up Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion and Textile Technology. He also designed a costume for another candidate in this edition of Miss Universe, Haiti’s Pascale Belony.