Just a day before Expo 2020 Dubai came to a close, Rosie Villa received news that her brother had passed away in the Philippines.

But the grief didn't stop the 41-year-old from visiting the world fair on its final day. As a tribute to her brother, Villa sported an achromatic dress made from recycled white tissues. Her look stunned Expo visitors, who snapped photos of her eye-catching outfit.

"It's a colour used in funerals and mourning rituals. My initial outfit was red trousers and a white top," she said. However, after receiving news about her brother's death, Villa changed her outfit completely — all in a day's time.

"This morning was his burial, but I've still come to the Expo," Villa said as she fought back tears and struggled to smile. "Today is the last day of the mega fair and we should make the most of it. My brother passing away cannot be the reason for me to not be happy. This was his destiny. He is happy wherever he is, and I am trying to be happy here, too."

Villa described the Expo as a spectacular, multicultural experience that inspired her to express her confidence and creativity. In addition to her dress, the crown she wore on her head was made of a hanger that she bent and covered with wrapping paper.

"We are trying to show people with confidence how creative we can get if we put our mind to something. After all, that's what Expo 2020 is all about — overcoming challenges. For the past few weeks, we have been coming here every day," said Villa, who works as a nanny with a Colombian family.

Accompanying Villa was her 64-year-old friend Marissa Postre, who turned heads in an equally unique outfit — a red gown made of Alicafe sachets. Postre has always been a champion of eco-friendly materials and endeavoured to create nine outfits out of recycled items.

"The other clothes that I've made earlier are made of paper, spoons, bottles and cups," she said. "The inner lining of this dress is made of rice sacks. It took me five days to prepare this work."

Explaining the significance of the coffee sachets, Postre said the family she works for enjoys drinking Alicafe. "So, I have been collecting the coffee wrappers and have made this outfit with it," she said. "Whenever I would feel homesick, I would make this. It helps you to distract yourself from negative feelings and clear your head as you go along."

 

Expo 2020 Dubai has also been a great motivator, she said. "It has helped people like us tap into our simple skills and showcase to the world what we can do at our level."

As the world fair concludes on Thursday, March 31, Postre said she was experiencing a mix of emotions. "Today, I am happy and sad. I am sad bidding it goodbye. But I am also confident that the UAE will come up with something new," she said.

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