Following Michael Cinco’s statements about his experience working with the Miss Universe Canada Organization, Filipino fashion designer Rian Fernandez recounted his “dreadful experience” with the same organization that he called “an awful experience that almost cost my life!"
On Instagram, Rian said that he is one with Michael when he mentioned that Filipino designers should no longer trust the Miss Universe Canada Organization under the leadership of Denis Martin Davila. He wrote, “I will not allow this vile and cheatery of Denis to continue!”
In his story, Rian said that he and Denis go way back, having worked on several collaborations together. People only took notice of the partnership when Rian dressed Siera Bearchell during the Miss Universe 2016 pageant.
He wrote that while he was criticized for the white serpentine gown, Rian wrote that he had another gown that he wanted Siera to wear for the finals. “This was the brown high-slitted gown with [the] sweetheart bustline that Nick Verros, ranked first for the Miss Universe 2016 red carpet event worn by Cynthia Bailey,” he said.
The designer continued, “Since Denis mentioned that Siera wanted to wear the white serpentine gown, I just lent Cynthia the said gown. Just to know that Siera didn’t even see the brown gown!”
Rian said that he and Siera are still good friends and he even designed her wedding gown.
In the next part of his post, Rian said that in September 2018, he and Denis were already in talks for the gowns for Miss Universe Canada 2018 Marta Magdalena Stepien. “To make sure that Mart will have several options for her preliminary and final gowns (and other functions like red carpet and dinner events,) I made five colors of deep red, blue-green, gold, and nude. I have shown these gowns to Denis, Marta, and the rest of Team Canada in our [group chat] before the fitting. They said they were excited.”
Following this, Rian and his team flew to Thailand in November 2018 for Marta’s fitting, then returned to Manila, and back again in Thailand in December 2018 to make sure that Marta got all the assistance she needed. He wrote, “My team and I stayed [in] Thailand for weeks… All expenses for my team [were] shouldered by me! The gowns were made out of love for the reason that Denis promised me that I will get the exposure and media mileage.”
During the preliminary competition, Rian was shocked when he found out that Marta wore a gown by Michael. Citing that he has nothing against Michael, Rian pointed out, “we were promised by Denis that Marta will wear me to the preliminary and final competitions. Since this happened, I asked Denis to return to me all the five gowns so that other ladies can wear me on the final night, even just for an OOTD backstage so that people will see the creations that my team and I worked hard for!”
Rian said that Denis did not return the gowns except for the one that Miss Cambodia wore and promised him that Marta will really wear his gown to the finals, but this didn’t happen.
In his third post, Rian recounted how he felt devastated and ended up crying in his hotel room. Feeling frustrated and cheated, Rian wrote, “I questioned my talent and skill as a designer. Until the stress and anxiety level escalated and I felt half of my body paralyzed. That was the scariest moment of my life.”
Rian said that following the event, he did not receive any explanation or apology from Denis’s team. He wrote, “I know that I shouldn’t be counting the cost of that dreadful experience (both financially, mentally, and psychologically) because I wanted to be a part of Marta’s Miss Universe journey.” Rian added that a simple thank you would have sufficed and could have eased his anxiety.
Rian ended his post by saying, “Let this be a lesson to all of us Filipino designers. Never shall we be scammed again by the Miss Universe Canada organization! 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.”
Most recently, Rian dressed Miss Universe Cambodia Sarita Reth in a stunning asymmetrical trumpet gown inspired by the Sampot, the national soul of Cambodia. According to the designer, the gown was embroidered by hand with sequins, rhinestones, and Swarovski crystals.