Festival celebrates the qipao

A host of activities is underway as part of Hanghzhou's "F-plan" to attract more tourists.

A piece of qipao designed by Mary Ping

The Second Hangzhou Global Qipao Festival is in full swing, with a host of activities this month that include a qipao design competition, two fashion shows and Qipao Day activities.

Last year, more than 1,000 women of all ages — Chinese and foreigners — wore the traditional body-hugging one-piece dress to take part in the event. In New York, Madrid, London, Hamburg and Sydney, they dressed up in silk qipao and visited landmarks that included London’s Tower Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

The festival is the core of Hangzhou Tourism Commission’s “F Plan” — with the F standing for fashion, interaction with fans, friendship, fine arts, folk custom, flights and fairs. Photos and videos uploaded to social media as part of the “F Plan” aim to lure more Chinese and foreign tourists.

Organizers have set up two overseas venues this year — in San Francisco, US and Sydney, Australia.


Women from home and abroad dressed in qipao take selfie on Qipao Day last year. 

A “Qipao Surprise” fashion show at Google headquarters in San Francisco will feature around 100 women from Silicon Valley and Stanford University clad in traditional qipao, the Chinese bamboo umbrella dance, ballad singing and music on traditional Chinese instruments.

At Sydney Opera House, students from Hangzhou Daguan Elementary School and a Sydney art school will wear qipao in a Zhejiang folk music performance, “Strolling on Su Causeway.” 

“We hope to develop the festival into a new calling card of Hangzhou,” said Ye Hong, director of the tourism commission’s promotion department. 

Hangzhou is one of the birthplaces of silk. It started producing the material around 5,000 years ago. It is not difficult to find a place selling or making qipao.

The commission launched its qipao design competition in February, attracting entries from 12 countries and regions. 

Local people can vote for their favorite design on the WeChat account of “Hangzhou Tourism Guide” while Hangzhou’s official Facebook account is available for voters from other countries. The winners will be unveiled at a qipao fashion show on September 26.

A piece of qipao designed by Caroline Butler

A prize draw to encourage online voting offers one lucky winner a qipao of the local Weiyun brand. 

At a fashion show in the China Silk Museum, 3D multimedia technology will be used to create a virtual environment for exhibiting the winning designs.

Intangible heritage related to qipao will be on display with local brocade, silk and embroidery showcased through works from noted domestic designers.

Another fashion show will take place at Changqiao Park, along the eastern side of West Lake, with models from local elementary schools, Zhejiang University and government departments. From teenagers to senior citizens, they will symbolize the handing down of qipao from generation to generation.

Professional models will display 25 qipao designed by Zhejiang Sci-tech University’s fashion institute themed on Hangzhou’s culture, landscape and modern development.

Local authorities have issued commemorative stamps, while restaurants, hotels, shopping malls and scenic spots in Hangzhou will be offering discounts to customers wearing qipao.

 A piece of qipao designed by KeySook Geum

Readers can scan the QR code to vote for their favorite qipao.

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