lu xianren, the 'village supermodel' from rural guangxi, china

‘Village Supermodel’ Lu Xianren Makes Paris Fashion Week Debut

Originally a factory worker and waiter in a rural part of South China, Lu Xianren rose to fame for modeling his DIY high-fashion looks on social media

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12:21 PM HKT, Thu March 9, 2023 1 mins read

China’s “wild countryside model,” 24-year-old Lu Kaigang, better known by his stage name Lu Xianren, has strutted from a rural Guangxi village in South China to the world’s most prominent style stage: Paris Fashion Week.

On March 6, Lu made his Paris debut walking for Taiwanese luxury fashion house Shiatzy Chen’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection. He modeled an androgynous, cropped black jacket and white silk trousers.

Shiatzy Chen is known for its sophisticated mix of Eastern and Western styles and techniques. Michelle Yeoh, the Oscar-nominated Everything Everywhere All At Once actress, is a noted fan of the brand, and she even posed with Lu after the show.

Lu’s first professional modeling gig was at China Fashion Week in September 2019. Since then, he has also walked at London Fashion Week and Milan Fashion Week.

His burgeoning career in high fashion is a result of his viral modeling skills. In 2018, he began showing off his DIY couture creations on Chinese short video platforms. Each look was made from cheap household materials, including tarps, duct tape, garbage bags, and bamboo sticks.

The video that truly put him on the map, though, was a clip in which he modeled an old red blanket borrowed from his grandmother. It soon got millions of views and made him a household name.

The model’s unique story and creative vision have endeared him to many Chinese netizens, and today he has more than 11 million followers on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok.

village supermodel lu xianren modeling a tarp

Image via Douyin

One person wrote on Weibo, “From the country road to the international stage, Lu Xianren has been working hard.”

Another commented, “I like him so much! He is luxurious and charming on stage, handsome and bright [on social media], and filial, warm, and down-to-earth in his hometown. Whether it is garbage bags or high-end couture, he has the elegance of a prince.”

Prior to his fame, Lu worked as a waiter and factory worker. But he soon quit the gigs and returned to his hometown to make his fashion dream come true.

Though Lu has no professional modeling training, he has long dreamed of being a supermodel. In 2020, he told Kuaishou Technology — the company behind one of China’s viral short video platforms — that he had wanted to model since primary school and has practiced his walk every day since then.

At only 24 years old, Lu likely has a long future ahead of him in high fashion.

Cover image via @mr.luxianren/Instagram

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