Jamie QQ Wu is Conquering Fashion’s New Frontier: Virtual Reality
Jamie QQ Wu needs no introduction. She’s larger than life and, dare we say, her wardrobe alone reduces the women from a Kevin Kwan novel to abject humiliation.
From the Pearl of the Orient to the Lion City, she has captivated our gaze since she first set her well-heeled (literally) foot on our tiny red dot four years ago. And if her constant presence in Singapore’s social scene is not an already obvious indication of her fame, then surely her following on social media—62,000 and counting followers on Instagram—is a quick giveaway of her influence.
But, as Tatler Singapore has come to find out today, the secret to Jamie QQ Wu’s celebrity is not only her killer sense of style (read: she is many a fashion editor’s darling); or even her appetite for sartorial splendour (read: she has the house of Schiaparelli on speed dial); but it is also her uncanny ability to sense and bend the winds of change that are currently silently transforming how fashion is seen, experienced and consumed in Asia—an acumen that is often eclipsed and overlooked by her emphatic clothing choices.
Whether she is baring her enviable set of gams that go on for days on the red carpet at Cannes, or even while getting canned peaches at a supermarket, all eyes are always on Wu whenever she is in the picture. And today is no different. Punctual to a fault, she arrives to our shoot on the dot at eight in the morning wearing—contrary to popular belief—something that is not a couture gown.
“Oh, hi! Good morning! Hello, I’m Jamie,” she greets and introduces herself to every single crew member by their name in her familiar American drawl—perking everyone up in our sleepy photo studio that is still barely awake, and instantly squashes any rumours of arrogance. She finally sinks herself down into the makeup chair, but only after personally unpacking the racks of clothing she brought for today’s shoot from an impressive assortment of Rimowa luggage no less—boasting a kind of discipline, and attention to detail, that we would like to think is from her past lives as a hot shot television producer and an award-winning restaurateur.
I believe that [virtual fashion] will change the way fashion is consumed and perceived, creating an even more interesting world.— Jamie QQ Wu
“My mother kept telling me that the late Princess Diana was the most stylish woman in the world ever since I could remember. I vividly recall the black off-the-shoulder gown that Diana wore that would later be described by the mainstream media as the Revenge Dress. That extremely elegant yet powerful image stuck in my head,” explains the Shanghai native between lipstick applications when asked about her first memories of style and fashion.
“In the 1990s when I read my first fashion magazines was also when I discovered the late Alexander McQueen’s fashion shows, where he sent models walking down runways of water and fire. Sometimes his models would be contorted and looked incredibly arresting,” Wu pauses for a sip of water before continuing, “And at the same time, I was also obsessed with Missy Elliott and TLC while watching MTV; thinking they were the coolest women on earth when I was growing up.”
Coming from a woman that throws glamorously decadent parties, you would not think that the founding mothers of hip hop and R&B would make it on Wu’s style list. Which only goes to prove that it is hard to pigeonhole this elegant supernova.
Taking a break from hair and makeup to admire the Bulgari sparklers that have flown in from Rome (and beyond), we’re distracted by the sheer magnificence on display. Amounting to a blinding total of $150 million, these stellar stones of every cut and colour imaginable—and with a combined carat in the high hundreds—have been pulled from the famed Italian high jewellery house’s secret vaults in the furthest reaches of the world.
Making their Southeast Asian debut at the Bulgari Magnifica 2021 High Jewellery and High-End Watches exhibition in Singapore this July, they have made a pit stop at our shoot to lend it some serious star power. Majestic rare diamonds with unrivalled craftsmanship and clarity that would put even the People’s Princess’s private collection to shame, these jewels are just the perfect fit for the queen of fashion we are photographing today. She cheekily puts on a massive necklace with a brilliant 131.21 carat bright red spinel before winking and casually glides back to the changing area to continue her hair and makeup, and bon mots.
“In the last couple of years, I have managed to be part of Altava, an exciting company that pioneers virtual fashion. I believe that it will change the way fashion is consumed and perceived, creating an even more interesting world,” Wu reveals animatedly—her face lighting up when she is talking about what she busies herself with now for work.
Wu, who wanted to be a professional dancer during her formative years as a child in Shanghai (much to her conservative mother’s chagrin), is now an investor and marketing consultant for Altava—a 3D fashion gaming app that bridges and shifts luxury fashion from the physical to the digital. Enabling users to access the elusive world of fashion through cutting edge technology, it was founded in 2018 in Singapore and based in Seoul, and has collaborated with iconic fashion and jewellery houses such as Prada, Miu Miu, Fendi and, you guessed it, Bulgari.
“I have been paying attention to the world of virtual fashion for a while now and it has truly intrigued me as a metaverse that I yearn to live in. I do most of my fashion shopping online and with the advent of Instagram, my experience of consuming and presenting fashion has become 90 per cent digital. So it makes perfect sense to also help build that world and invite all the fashion enthusiasts to come experience it.”
Through Altava, she believes that more recognition can be extended to unsung heroes too. “The world of virtual fashion creates so many possibilities. It is able to democratise and disrupt existing industry barriers, helping up and coming designers rise to recognition and most importantly, and hopefully, reduce over production and consumption in the fashion industry.”
I think Singapore has the potential to be at the forefront of fashion by really engaging its multi-cultural and tech-savvy consumers with innovation.— Jamie QQ Wu
Having lived all over the world as an active member of the jet set, when asked about Singapore’s place in fashion in the next decade, Wu says, “I think Singapore has the potential to be at the forefront of fashion by really engaging its multi-cultural and tech-savvy consumers with innovation. Take the world of virtual fashion for example, the foundation already exists here. Coupled with Singapore’s amazing infrastructure and the talent pool that it has to offer, all it will take are a few movers and shakers and the willingness to take a leap of faith as the catalysts. Singapore can really be up there with Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo as a vibrant fashion destination.”
From the Bund to Bukit Timah, Jamie QQ Wu is making sure that the future of fashion is bright and we want in.
Look 1: Knit turtleneck bodysuit by Prada; look 2: polyester bodysuit, and polyester and plastic visor, all by Marine Serre. Knit boots by Prada; look 3: cut-out jacket by Mugler. Sunglasses by Gentle Monster; look 4: silk gown with patent leather bodice by Schiaparelli Couture, fashioned virtually by Altava/Unmatereality.
- Content DirectionPakkee Tan
- Art DirectionMatilda Au
- PhotographyWee Khim
- StylingAdriel Chiun
- HairLeong Lim / The Urban Aesthetics
- Make-UpWee Ming using Dior Beauty
- ProducerCindy Ow
- Photographer's AssistantIvan Teo
- Stylist's AssistantClaire Quan
- VideographyDaryl Eng Jun