How did you come up with Qipology? “About three years ago I was invited to a wedding and the theme was ‘Shanghai Tang’. I needed to find a cheongsam at a good price point, but my choices were either the cheap ones you find in street markets or the expensive ones like those at Shanghai Tang. In the end I got one made.
“It was the first time I had worn a qipao and I never expected to feel so elegant. I was automatically standing taller and felt more confident. I thought, what is there to lose – there is a gap in the market for young people to find qipaos they want to wear.”
Do you have a background in fashion? “I studied business in the UK from 2006 to 2009 and then took a fashion course at the Istituto Marangoni, in Milan, Italy. When I came back to Hong Kong, in 2010, my first job was as a shoe buyer for Lane Crawford, which lasted for five years. Then I was a shoe buyer for Dolce & Gabbana and then I did a brief stint at DFS.”
How did you start Qipology? “When I was at Dolce & Gabbana, I worked on Qipology at the weekends for a year. I started out designing cocktail dresses but now it’s more gowns. About 70 per cent of clients are looking for wedding dresses. They don’t want to wear the traditional kwa qun, so they are more interested in qipao. I hope more people will be interested in them for everyday wear so I use all kinds of colours and shapes to make them more modern.”
Do you take special requests? “I have clients who are performers. When they perform abroad, they want to wear an outfit that represents where they are from. I make adjustments – for a singer, I lowered the neckline so she could be more comfortable on stage.”
How much are your qipaos? “The prices range from HK$2,600 to HK$5,500. In Singapore and Malaysia, women are open to wearing qipaos, whereas in Hong Kong, they don’t embrace them as much.”
How long does it take to get one made? “Usually it takes three weeks to two months. The first time a client comes in I get them to try on a loose qipao and take measurements. Then we have another fitting. I have had a client who had only one or two weeks before her wedding so I had to get the qipao done in four days. Luckily, it pretty much fitted and we didn’t need to make alterations.”
How did you come up with the name? “It took me a while to think of it. ‘Logy’ means ‘the science of’, and in Chinese it means ‘the logic of qipao’, so it works well.”