R’Bonney is an eco-friendly fashion designer, model, and sewing instructor based in Houston, TX, and New York City. She attributes her upbeat, optimistic outlook to a childhood immersed in the arts, sports, and travel.
R’Bonney first fell in love with fashion through her mother, who taught her how to sew and took her on adventures to thrift shops, where they would find pieces to upcycle with their own designs. As a teenager, she followed this passion to the University of North Texas, where she earned her degree in Fashion Design and Fibers. She combines her talent for design with caring for the environment in her own sustainable clothing line, R’Bonney Nola.
R’Bonney Nola supports and advocates for ethical practices in the fashion industry by using upcycled and sustainable textiles to transform discarded material into beautifully handmade garments – including the cape R’Bonney wore for the Miss Universe competition!
R’Bonney is the lead sewing instructor at Magpies & Peacocks, a Houston-based nonprofit design house that is dedicated to using “Fashion as a force for good” through sustainability and community impact. They received a Gucci Changemaker grant for their work in transforming unwanted textiles and fabrics from landfills into new fashion collections. As part of their MAKR program, R’Bonney teaches sewing classes to women that have survived human trafficking and domestic violence, which helps them find sustainable careers.
As the first Filipino-American to win Miss Universe and Miss USA, much of her platform is about embracing your culture. She is a voice for Asian-Americans, opening the door for more diversity and representation in society. R’Bonney’s mission is to inspire women and young girls to achieve their goals while owning who they are.