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Miss Universe Singapore 2018 showing off this year's national costume. (Image by Alphonsus Chern / TNP)

Miss Universe designer is happy with his work but the public remains unconvinced

Ever since the Miss Universe Singapore costume was unveiled last week, the public and media have not slowed down on their criticism of the costume that was inspired by the US-North Korea Summit that was held in Singapore in August this year.

The initial reaction was one of shock and dismay that the ‘national costume’ didn’t really convey any of Singapore’s multicultural heritage or icons apart from the Singapore skyline in the skirt. There was also confusion as to why the image printed on the skirt showed a moment in history for which Singapore merely provided the venue but wasn’t actually a part of otherwise.

In an interview with Channel NewsAsia, the designer of the costume Mr Moe Kasim said that he is happy with the design and has made the best of what he had, referring to budget constraints. Apparently, Mr Kasim was instructed by organisers to base his design on the Trump-Kim summit. Though he was apprehensive at first, he accepted the challenge in the spirit of promoting world peace, friendship and unity.

Mr Kasim said, “This is just a representation of what Singapore stands for, which is world peace, and the fact that Singapore is reaching out to other countries to create positive relationships.”

Miss Universe Singapore herself Zahra Khanum said that thought she was not entirely involved in coming with the design, she is happy with the dress. She said that it is "just a representation of what Singapore stands for, which is world peace".

Some of the public’s comments about the dress have been quite pointed, ranging from comparing the construction to that of a kite, calling it dated and even comparing it to Malaysia’s previous Miss Universe national costume entry when their costume was inspired by Nasi Lemak.

There were also those who are still mystified at the 'inspiration' behind the dress:

Others were sympathetic to the Mr Kasim’s position, not having been given the chance to pick his own inspiration and also for the apparent budget constraints he had to work with: