Ren Sainan, a model of shouyi, or burial clothes, recently went viral online. A designer and livestreamer, the 25-year-old woman works at an e-commerce company that provides funeral services in the city of Hangzhou in east China’s Zhejiang province.
When Ren started the job three years ago, she was reluctant to wear the clothes because of the fear of death, but the stories of her customers have helped her appreciate the job more.
Ren once helped a couple buy shouyi, which had fish and flower embroidery on it, for their 20-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with cancer. Days later she received a photo of the girl in the clothes with a smile on her face.
“Our daughter likes it very much, which makes us feel less painful,” the couple expressed their gratitude toward Ren.
Stories like this have made her realize the meaning of the job – what she is doing is not only helping people say their goodbyes at the end of their lives in a dignified way, but is also comforting their living families.
As a designer, Ren has designed 10 kinds of beautiful shouyi to give customers more choices. Some of the clothes are of western style, some are hanfu, or traditional Chinese attire, and some are qipao, a classic one-piece and figure-fitting Chinese dress for women. She even won a shouyi design contest held by her company in Hangzhou China.
Most of Ren’s colleagues are in their 20s, and they never feel uncomfortable to try on the clothes to improve them.
Ren said she received a lot of support from her boyfriend, as well as netizens watching her live stream shows. “People leave positive comments during my shows, saying my story has changed their impression of shouyi and the funeral industry.”