Mount Kinabalu is inspiration for Miss Universe Malaysia 2022’s national costume, made from recycled plastic waste

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, December 7 — Miss Universe Malaysia’s national costumes are known for their eccentricity and uniqueness.

This year’s national costume brings beauty back to earth with an eco-friendly costume inspired by Mount Kinabalu, created using recycled plastic waste.

Miss Universe Malaysia 2022 winner Lesley Cheam will don the costume at the Miss Universe competition in New Orleans, USA on January 23, 2023.

The national costume was designed by renowned designer, Hatta Dolmat.

“Mount Kinabalu is one of Malaysia’s most beautiful landmarks,” the designer told Malay Mail.

“Normally when we spotlight Malaysia internationally we focus on our culture, but we have many natural wonders to showcase especially in Sabah.”

The costume features a silver and grey headpiece and dress representing granite slabs at the mountainside, accompanied by a similarly embellished cape shaped like the slope of the mountain.

In line with Hatta’s environmentally-friendly message, every part of the costume is made with recycled plastic.

With a team of six, the costume took six months to complete, ending up with a weight of more than 10kg.

“It is a privilege to wear a costume related to Mount Kinabalu as it is part of beautiful Malaysia,” Cheam told Malay Mail.

“I’m an advocate of sustainability and environmental change and I’m honoured to showcase Malaysia’s natural wonders.”

Cheam showed off the national costume and an evening gown at a press conference earlier today.

The evening gown, also designed by Hatta, was inspired by giant clouds of gas and dust known as nebulas.

Adorned with maroon, gold, and purple crystals, the dress was made to be on par with an international standard of elegance.

“Locals may think the dress is too sexy but when I looked at Miss Universe evening gowns of the past this was normal,” Hatta said.

“It was important that our costume and gown met the high standards of the international competition.”

Lesley Cheam’s evening gown, inspired by nebulas in space. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Lesley Cheam’s evening gown, inspired by nebulas in space. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

Lesley Cheam’s evening gown, inspired by nebulas in space. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

Being a victim of cyberbullying after becoming Miss Universe Malaysia in October, Cheam is also an advocate for mental health.

Datin Elaine Daly, National Director of MUMO (Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation), commended Cheam’s message to be kind to everyone.

“She has truly blossomed since she won, becoming genuine and real,” Daly told Malay Mail.

“Apart from the fact that she’s beautiful, she speaks from the heart and is passionate about the causes she believes in.

“At the end of the day, we look for a woman who empowers other women. That is the crux of Miss Universe.”