Chinese Student Uses Virtual Reality to Design Dresses for Her Idol

High Schooler Designs Stunning Digital Dresses for Chinese Pop Idol

The 17-year-old student’s digital designs unexpectedly caught the attention of Xu Yangyuzhuo from the Chinese idol girl group SNH48

4 1
Hayley Zhao
11:38 AM HKT, Thu December 15, 2022 1 mins read

How did you hone your skills to prepare yourself for your current line of work? A 17-year-old student in China has jump-started her career as a fashion designer in the metaverse.

Alice Miao (苗聖愛) first started posting her creations on the Chinese lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu when she was in the 11th grade. She has long been interested in the crossover between cyberpunk and Y2K style.

A believer in the metaverse’s great potential, Miao decided to dip her toes in the immersive virtual world via one of her long-standing passions: fashion design.

Y2K, drawing

Some of Alice Miao’s sketches incorporating the Y2K style. Image via Xiaohongshu

After teaching herself how to use software like Style3d and Nomad over a winter break, Miao started to design clothes. Much of her inspiration comes from her favorite movies and animes, such as Ready Player One and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

NFT, fashion design

Miao modeling one of her designs. Image via Xiaohongshu

Miao then started a new account on Xiaohongshu, specifically to showcase her digital fashion creations, and soon gained a following.

She has started to sell some of her digital works, which are reasonably priced: 55 RMB (about 8 USD) for one photo and 89 RMB (around 13 USD) for two. She superimposes her designs onto the provided portraits of her clients, mostly international students and fashion influencers.

She told The Paper, a Chinese digital newspaper, that she has made 8,000 RMB (around 1,150 USD) since March 2021 — a small fortune for a high school student.

She has since partnered up with Xiaohongshu’s NFT platform R-Space and released three collections consisting of 170 NFTs altogether. The digital fashion designs combine Chinese aesthetics with the West’s resurgent Y2K style. One of the collections, which encompasses 50 NFTs, has sold out.

Her work also appears on Wearwant, a global digital fashion retail company based in the U.K.

NFT, digital fashion, Xiaohongshu

Three NFT collections Miao has put out in collaboration with R-Space. Image via Xiaohongshu

Little did the young digital fashion designer realize that her work would catch the eye of celebrities. Xu Yangyuzhuo (许杨玉琢), a member of the Chinese idol girl group SNH48 (which was formerly attached to Japan’s AKB 48), came across Miao’s work and commissioned two pieces without realizing that the artist was a high school student.

The idol posted three photos of herself in the commissioned dresses on Xiaohongshu and expressed her amazement at how well the designs turned out. She was also shocked to learn that the artist is only 17 years old.

“This is so amazing. I’m truly shocked. What was I doing at that age?” said Xu.

SNH48, AKB 48, gril group, idol

Chinese idol Xu Yangyuzhuo wearing Miao’s designs. Images via Xiaohongshu

Miao is over the moon to be receiving recognition, especially from public figures like Xu, whom she looks up to.

However, she doesn’t feel that her life has significantly changed since her digital designs blew up. She deems herself a typical high school student, who worries about exams and college applications.

Miao is now taking some time away from fashion design to focus on getting into China’s top art schools.

Cover image via Xiaohongshu

Join the Conversation
Write comment

Frustrated? Maybe stop looking at a screen and go outside