Qiu launched her label in 2017 and was on the official schedule at New York and then Milan in 2018 and 2019 – all before the ink on her MA diploma was dry. The fast-rising star talks to veteran editor Karchun Leung about influences, inspirations and sheer hard work.
For Hangzhou native Qiu, only one fashion education programme in the world would do. Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts rose to prominence in the 80s when it produced a breakout class of designers who took the industry by storm. Among the legendary Antwerp Six, a young Qiu was especially dazzled by Dries Van Noten and Walter Van Beirendonck: when she arrived in Belgium, Van Beirendonck was on the faculty and waiting to teach her. The Academy’s famously intensive approach made it a sink-or-swim experience, she admits. But the aim is to mould disciplined creative mavericks – and Qiu’s output before and after graduation suggest it paid off.
It’s early days, and Qiu is still finding her feet in business and experimenting with production models to make her vibrant modern romantic designs as sustainable as possible. But as she reveals to Leung, exploration is now her comfort zone. Following in the footsteps of her idols taught her to go her own way.