Teen Goes Viral For Creating And Painting Her Own Graduation Dress

Ciara Gan, a recent high school graduate in the Philippines, is receiving social media praise for designing her hand-painted turquoise ballgown.
Ciara Gan, a recent high school graduate in the Philippines, poses with the dress that has been called an "absolute masterpiece" online.
Twitter/Ciara Gan
Ciara Gan, a recent high school graduate in the Philippines, poses with the dress that has been called an "absolute masterpiece" online.

Social media users across the world are praising photos of a recent high school graduate wearing a shimmering turquoise ballgown with vibrant hand-painted lilies and crystals scattered across the sweeping skirt. However, the photos are going viral online not just for the dress’ exquisite design, but because the teen designed, sewed and painted the dress herself.

“I made and painted my own gown for my graduation ball!” Filipina teen Ciara Gan wrote on Twitter.

Finding the perfect outfit for any special occasion is difficult, but Gan wanted the dress for her graduation ball (the equivalent of an American senior prom) to be one-of-a-kind. “I really wanted my dress to reflect my personality, thus the lilies and bright colors,” Gan told Fox 5, who works as a commissioning designer and artist in her free time. “My dress tells a very personal story about the things I hold close to my heart — lilies, the color green, painting, and creating new things.”

Gan and her mother had originally enlisted someone else to sew the intricate gown, but the “dress ended up horrible,” says Gan. Instead of giving up on the perfect dress, her mother encouraged the talented artist to make the garment herself.

After purchasing the materials for the gown — 13 yards of fabric, crinoline, regiline, acrylic paint, pilon and Swarovski crystals — the mother-daughter duo began the two-week-long process of sewing, stoning and painting Gan’s graduation dress.

“My mom and I sewed each panel of the skirt one-by-one,” Gan told Fox 5 adding that the skirt was made up of 12 to 13 separate panels. “It took me about a whole month to make the whole thing (conceptualizing and drafting). For the painting, it took five days.”

After completing the DIY project, Gan posted images of the dress in progress and the final product to her Twitter. “i painted over 80 flowers, sewed + stoned my dress with my mama and designed the whole thing myself!” she tweeted on April 8.

It wasn’t long until images of Gan’s princess ballgown caught the attention of those online, garnering 382k likes and 82.9k retweets. Users across the world expressed their admiration for Gan’s handy work, saying “the fashion industry needs someone like you.”

“An absolute masterpiece, both the girl and the dress!!!” wrote one Twitter user. “Congrats, it’s absolutely amazing. You’re so talented.”

Some users requested orders for the exact same dress, while others asked Gan to make a gown for their wedding day. “I already graduated but I’d like to order five please this dress is beautiful keep up the amazing work,” wrote another Twitter user.

Others suggested Disney make a new princess film after Gan, the “real DIY Queen.”

“Hey Disney studios, you got new story for a new princess. The Painter Princess,” another user replied.

Despite all of the praise online, Gan will not be pursuing an art degree in college, reports Fox 5. Although Gan says that making art makes her feel “happy and liberated” and like “nothing else matters,” she wants to “develop more skills” in a science-related field instead.

“I’m taking up a science-related course instead,” Gan tells Fox 5. “I want to be able to hone my skills in the arts, but learn something totally different along the way!”

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