Young Qipao fans revive traditional outfit

May. 06, 2019 13:46:00

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Qu Shaoli marks the fabric with a tailor's tape and chalk on May 4, 2019. Photo by Li Jie

By Zhou Huimin, Peng Peigen, Zhang Wenjing, Li Jie

Leaning on a table covered with a piece of linen, Qu Shaoli marks the fabric with tailor's tape and chalk.

Wearing a green Chinese one-piece Qipao dress, Qu worked as a model and designer for the dress at a local mall during the May Day Holiday.

The sophomore from Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu Province, has been obsessed with the dress since a young age, and plans show the traditional craft to modern crowds.

Qipaos, or Cheongsam, were popularized in the 1920s to 1930s in Shanghai by Chinese socialites and upper-class women, but today many consider the dress unusual, expensive and exclusive to slender figures.

Qu thinks differently, believing it can be popular in society at large.

She has been fascinated with designing and making clothes since primary school, when she often cut and sewed worn-out clothes to make dresses for her dolls.

Having heard her grandpa was a local Qipao tailor, she became interested and made her first Qipao in second grade.

"It was made of fabrics in an ethnic style and looked fabulous," she said.

In spite of heavy study tasks during high school, Qu stuck to her hobby. She even apprenticed part-time for a local tailor.

Two years on, she believes the Qipao is the essence of Chinese fashion.

After attending Lanzhou University in 2017, Qu had much more free time and often wore a Qipao on campus.

The dress made Qu stand out, attracting many of her classmates. She soon sold her classmate a customized Qipao for 500 yuan (about 74 U.S. dollars). Later, Qu was invited to design Qipao for the etiquette team of her college at the end of last year. She made 12 pieces Qipao in an ancient style which were welcomed by her teachers. The etiquette team will debut the Qipao campus sports games later this month.

Over time, Qu gained many customers and a good reputation. Encouraged by her teacher, she established a workshop with two classmates in January.

"College students can also wear Qipao, and we believe it will be popular on campus," said Bai Ruoxuan, one of the classmates.

The workshop has been receiving more orders as they design each Qipao meticulously, from picking fabrics to deciding on patterns.

"Next we will try to introduce more innovations in Qipao to make it more accepted by the young in their daily life," Qu said. (LANZHOU 2019-05-05 15:42:21)

Editor: Miao Hong

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