Shanghai-based designer Qiu Hao selects only superlative materials for his eponymous label. He nurtures his brand, has a hand in all processes and is the only pattern maker among the six people who work in the studio. In the final, quality control step, Qiu personally checks each of the approximately 1,500 pieces in a seasonal collection. Now he is learning the fur craft.
Growing a label with uncompromising attention to quality, luxury and craft
Qiu tells how he treats his label like couture, for as he says, “Fashion is too fast.”
The label is represented in 10 shops in China, three of them in Shanghai. Along with shows in Shanghai, the label recently opened a Paris showroom. Qiu pays the same careful, meticulous attention to his business plan as he does to building a collection.
He believes the label will grow as the buzz spreads on the strength of a basic brand philosophy: “Let the clothes speak.”
“As a niche brand, I only present what I know I can do.”
Qiu felt there was something missing from collections: fur. His seminar at Saga Furs Design Center offered the perfect opportunity to include more fur, while adding skills he needs for his hands-on approach to fashion. “Fur demands patience, like a Bonsai tree,” he says.
As it is with all materials, Qiu emphasizes the values of top quality. His approach recently won him the prestigious Woolmark Award. With leather and fur, it is not only because of luxury, but also due to their sustainability and the environmental benefits of natural materials.
The partnership with Saga Furs will help him find a furrier. “It can be difficult to find manufacturers in general; sure, they can do it, but it demands equal understanding, it demands communication and time to sometimes re-educate them.”
Qiu used sheared Saga® mink for collar and dyed Saga® blue fox stole in air-galloon technique in his 2016 AW collection. The concept of the autumn/winter collection is ‘Life’. In the collection, the selected combinations are diverse. From home wear silk trousers, silk shirt, out-door must have wool coat, cashmere cape, or even pleated skirt and shiny dresses for after work party. The collection meets the different needs of women’s living, working and social life.
Commitment to the customer, who is a clever, smart woman
“Each customer is different, so I want to bring something different to customers and let them choose,” he says. “You tend to get connected to the customer who likes surprises.”
Given his early years in China and education at Central St. Martins in London, the Qiu Hao label has global appeal. “It’s not East nor West, but a brand for modern China. Remember, we drink Coke, not just tea, although it will take time for China to find its own identity.”
The global reach of the brand will come as more of the fashion world hears, “the clothes speak.”
Apr 29, 2016