Designer Qi Zhou Combines Modern Style with Chinese Tradition

Local designer, Qi Zhou, meshes her culture and adventures to paint a picture of her life through her creations. The Chinese culture she grew up around was a huge influence for her passions to blossom. Furthermore, her mother and father encouraged Zhou to pursue great opportunities through exposure to travel.

“I was born in Shanghai, China to an architect (my mother) and a chief civic engineer (my father). My parents’ traveling — which was unconventional then — allowed me to see a wide spectrum of Chinese culture. It’s a big country after all, with 56 different ethnic groups,” said Zhou. “This provided an amazing foundation for my creative passions to grow. As an American citizen for over 30 years, I long aspire to illustrate my journey via my designs.”

Zhou black skirt

Photo by Oxford Fashion Studio.

303 Magazine: When and why did you discover a love for fashion? 

Qi Zhou: I started toying with the idea of designing and put on community shows while our family lived in Lexington, Kentucky about four years ago. The positive reception encouraged me to continue, and I started focusing more on my fashion design when we moved to Colorado. After, I participated in Denver Fashion Week, RAW showcase, Massif Fashion Week and a number of other shows with much encouragement from my loving family and friends. I’ve now decided to pursue my passion full-time. I just finished showing my new designs at New York Fashion Week. I’m positively thrilled at the prospect to share my art that celebrates the roots from where I came with the place I now call home.

303: How did you get involved in becoming a RAW artist? 

QZ: It was an honor that RAW invited me to the 2017 RAW Fall Showcase in Denver to feature my collections.

303: What has the experience been like? 

QZ: RAW creates great opportunities for independent artists to share their talents with the community. Within the showcases, you truly feel beauty doesn’t have a boundary. It was a wonderful experience for me.

Zhou blue dress

Photo by Zhihua Long. Model Lynda Christenson.

303: Can you tell us a little about your designs? What or who inspires them?

QZ: As a fashion designer, I specialize in contemporary renditions of traditional Eastern couture for women. My modernized take on the styles from my heritage are one-of-a-kind, hand-made and hold an increasing level of societal importance as we collectively seek to better understand one another as Americans. Most importantly, I want my designs and shows to invoke a sense of emotion in my viewers. Moreover, a nostalgia for those who came from where I did. In addition, I want to appeal to a sense of mysticism, love and most importantly joy for everyone regardless of background. Beauty should have no boundaries.

303: How has Denver fueled your passion to create? 

QZ: Denver is not only a beautiful city, but also a home for artists who have talent and passion. All the friends I made in the area are very supportive which help me to stay true to what I love and believe.

303: Who is your biggest style influence? 

QZ: “Coco” Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” It is indeed my strong belief. I hope my designs reflect our increasingly global society’s much-needed unification of eastern and western visionaries, philosophies and artistic expressions.

303: Where do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years?

QZ: I will continue to work on my creations in fashion. I also hope to share my collections with more people.

Zhou kimono

Photo by Zhihua Long. Model Maleah Marguiz.

303: Do you have any projects you are currently working on? What can you tell us about them? 

QZ: I am currently making performance outfits for a local choir group, and outfits for a community in Kentucky. At the same time, I am working on creating a stage program which will show a development of fashion in the last couple of hundred years in China, which will be for the next Chinese New Year celebration.


Photo by Dana Rogers.