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.
If you plan to design for someone else, then fashion school is definitely necessary even if you've got passion and self-motivation to learn independently. It is a very competitive world out there especially in this industry. On the other hand, if you are planning to run a business, with a solid plan and a healthy capital, you have the power to hire co-designers and pattern makers who will be able to execute your vision. Know that when you run your own business, you would be spending most of your time running the business and less time designing.
Either way, you learn from your mistakes which in itself are invaluable. Also they say that sometimes ignorance is bliss. It is amazing how you can discover the potential you never knew you had because you never knew the rules to begin with.
What was the original inspiration behind the Chi Couture designs?
My designs were inspired by the white starched nurses uniforms that were worn by the nurses in the Philippines when I was growing up. In my mind they were symbolic of power, strength and status which embodied femininity. Even at an early stage, I had high respects for the nurses back then. I always thought that it was their version of the women's power suit with nursing being the first female profession in history.
Your Ella trench lab coat (pictured) is the first of your designs to be manufactured on a large scale. Has this trend continued since 2006?
Yes our Ella trench coat continues to be one of our most popular designs and we are introducing a shorter version of it for Spring/Summer 2010.
How much has your company grown since inception? Has the economic downturn affected your business this year?
Since September 2006, the company has grown by 200%. Chi has grown by 100% this year in spite of the economic downturn. Ironically, during an economic downturn, I found that more companies became more conscious about their image. Upgrading their existing uniforms or buying uniforms to compliment their contemporary offices or clinics was an investment they were willing to make.
One of the core objectives of Chi Couture is to enhance the image of female professionals working in the health and sciences based industries and thus improve their self-esteem, what is some of the most memorable feedback you’ve received from clients and patients?
When clients come back and tell me that their patients ask if they have lost 15 pounds just by switching from scrubs to wearing chi uniforms that is a big compliment to both the client and the company. When my own patients are impressed that I look professional in my own uniforms, I feel that is beyond the aesthetic benefit. Looking professional gives patients’ confidence in the quality of service and care that they will be receiving. It is even more crucial in a hospital setting where cleaners wear the same uniforms as Registered Nurses.
How do you keep your eye on the pulse to continue to create new and fashionable designs and where do you get inspiration from?
The Asian and European fashion industry keeps me abreast of the ever changing fashion trends. My designs evoke both European and Asian flair. Winter 2009 collection is inspired by the city I live in. Vancouver - youthful yet peaceful, modern yet sophisticated.
What was the response to the Fall / Winter 2009 collection?
The response was overwhelming. The introduction of our men's line was definitely positive. Because of the success of the show I knew I had the right balance when there were orders placed by women who were not even in the industry and comments made by women who were inspired to be in the industry.
Do you feel Chi Couture is reaching its goals and what are your hopes for the future?
Yes chi continues to aspire to reach its goals. We had a goal in 2007 to open a boutique in order to offer a unique shopping uniform experience to our local clients. We successfully achieved it in 2008 and celebrated our first year anniversary in 2009. We have been recognized as the fashionable uniform company locally and in the US. At chi we set our standards high and are constantly measuring our own performance so the client can be confident and rest assured that they are getting great value, product and great service every day.
Based on our philosophy of bringing good chi and balance in a work environment, I am continuously inspired to be able to empower women. Chi itself has greatly evolved in the last three years of its operations. Looking back, the response to a challenge of finding a basic need that was not being fulfilled by the fashion industry has actually opened many great opportunities for Chi. Chi organically continues its growth and I am very excited of what is to come for 2010 and beyond.
For more information regarding Chi Couture, please visit http://www.mychi.ca/