Good Chi Empowers Health and Science Professionals with High Fashion Uniforms

What is fashion? Aprevailing custom or style of dress, etiquette, socializing, etc is what dictionary.com says, but really fashion is wearing anything more than your birthday suit – yes even Adam and Eve were fashionable and pioneered an entire spinoff line for the leaf. Simply put,  fashion acts as a way of defining one’s identity through apparel and explains who we are visually and physically without verbal communication.

Tristan Men's Tunic - Breathable Rayon Poly-spandex Blend $75.99 and Aja Women's Jacket - Eco Recycled Virgin Poly-organic Cotton Blend $98.00, both avalible from Chi Couture Uniforms.

What is fashion?

A prevailing custom or style of dress, etiquette, socializing, etc is what dictionary.com says, but really fashion is wearing anything more than your birthday suit – yes even Adam and Eve were fashionable and pioneered an entire spinoff line for the leaf. Simply put,  fashion acts as a way of defining one’s identity through apparel and explains who we are visually and physically without verbal communication.

Take uniforms for example, fashion worn to categorize members of society based on what they do to make money. Traditionally uniforms are made en masse using one pattern adjusted for size to be worn by a company’s employees – they are not individuals but standardized workers defined by clothes. The older the profession or company the more traditional the uniform for easy identification by the public.

But wait, we now live in a post feminist era where liberated and intelligent women work alongside their male counterparts in what were once exclusively male roles.

But has the uniform shifted in response? Not really, they’ve just decreased the pattern size. Nowhere is this more recognizable than in the scientific and medical fields. Having worked as a lab rat myself and with a bachelor’s degree in science under my belt I know firsthand all too well the problems of wearing lab coats built for men. Firstly the lab coat is heavy, too long in the sleeve, shapeless and incredibly boring.

Yes there is a feeling of empowerment, responsibility and purpose when you put one on but there is also an ominous sense of fighting for a place in what traditionally has been a man’s role. But not anymore, move over boys Agnes Dalisay has come to the rescue of women working in the dentistry, laboratory, health, beauty and medical professions. Say hello to Chi Couture Uniforms – turning the concepts of what is fashion on its head by pioneering Uniforms of customized tailoring, style and comfort.

Chi Couture Uniforms is a boutique business founded by Agnes Dalisay, a petite medical laboratory technician turned fashion designer. Her store located on 254 West Broadway is a quiet and calming place with hints of provincial France for women to find empowering uniforms for themselves and co-workers.

Down to earth and honest, Agnes tired of wearing lab-coats designed for men embarked on the quest to adapt her daily apparel to fit and suit her body type.

She was not looking for a fashion career; she was looking for comfort and a friendly alternative to her daily uniform. However, what started as a personal endeavor soon began to get noticed by her co-workers and elderly patients who liked the style of her clothes. It was the beginning of a new career and the birth of Chi Couture Uniforms. I visited Agnes at Chi Couture uniforms to learn about her business and all that is good chi.

When did you recognize the need for flattering female apparel for women working in medical, scientific and health based industries?

I recognized the need for flattering female apparel for women working in medical, scientific and health based industries when I started my job as a medical laboratory technician.

You originally worked in the medical field what was your role and are you still an active participant?

I have been a lab technician for 15 years; I took a year off in 2008 to concentrate on my business and returned to work on an on-call basis for the last six months. I currently work 20 hours a month so that I can reconnect and network with colleagues and patients.  My idea was so that I can also introduce new styles to potential clients.  Having said that, I will be devoting my time solely to the expansion of operations of chi locally and outside of Canada in 2010.

Your designs came from your frustration with what was only available at the time in terms of uniforms. Why do you think it has taken so long for a designer to come along and encourage change?

This is such a niche market and would seem to be a very risky segment to any fashion designer.  I on the other hand experienced the challenge of finding uniforms that fit and flatter.  I think that one has to live it in order to appreciate the need for a viable alternative.  I took a risk in building a business around it because I personally believed in it and appreciated the intangible feeling of having tailored uniforms that were both comfortable and fashionable.

Did you go to fashion design school, or are you fully self educated?

No, I did not go to fashion design school.  I have always been intrigued  with fashion and I have always followed the trends which inspired me to create my vision for Chi. I love fashion and my petite stature created a welcoming challenge of finding uniforms that fit which prompted me to create my own couture uniform line.

Do you believe fashion school is necessary if you’ve got passion and self-motivation to learn independently? Why?

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