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Striving beyond the impossible: Success Story of Gao Qingzi (BA 2018)

ITC alumna Gao Qingzi (BA 2018) is originally from Hubei, China. She ventured to New York City in the USA for postgraduate studies at the Parsons School of Design. Qingzi recently graduated and is now planning to work on her own brand in New York City.

Studying at ITC

Qingzi has always dreamed of becoming a fashion designer. Among all of the fashion institutes around the world, she chose Hong Kong because as an international city, it is the best place to study. “ITC is the best fashion education institution. They have great resources and different platforms that enable young designers to grow their skills,” says Qingzi.

Qingzi also praises ITC for its well-rounded curriculum, which helps students to enhance their interpersonal and critical thinking skills through different channels such as internships, service learning, and exchange programmes. Apart from that, Qingzi has learnt many essential techniques in her lessons that contribute to knowledge required in the field of fashion design and textiles. These include for example, pattern making, sewing techniques, illustration skills, as well as design philosophy and concept development. Qingzi notes: "The ITC professors have provided me with a strong fundamental knowledge of the fashion industry."

Unforgettable moments at ITC

When asked about her most unforgettable moments at ITC, Qingzi recalled many events that are still vivid in her mind. For example, when she won the Hong Kong Best Award at the Ecochic Design Competition, tutorials with her thesis supervisor, Ms Basia Szkutnicka, and many more. However, one particular event stands out among the rest. “But the most unforgettable one is the graduation show at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.” says Qingzi. It was the first time that Qingzi presented her collection on a runway. This is the most precious and significant moment for each design student. From the beginning of the concept stage and learning the skills to the garment making process and ultimately the completion of a full design collection, the project was a long and difficult journey. Nevertheless, the hard work paid off as “Through the graduation fashion show, I was able to materialize my design concept into a real garment and present it to the audience.” It was definitely a 'dream come true' for Qingzi.

BA final year collection by Qingzi

Qingzi (middle), winner of the Hong Kong Best Award at Ecochic Design Competition 2017

 “Continuously challenging myself and learning can improve my design work or myself as a person towards bigger and better things”

The Parsons School of Design is one of the world’s most renowned design schools which boasts talented fashion students from different countries. However, Qingzi did not attend Parsons because it is a well known institute but because "I believe I can explore more of my personal identity in a new environment, and New York City would be an excellent platform  to showcase my design work and talent."

Qingzi’s final collection at Parsons School of Design, 2020

Aspirations of Qingzi in design and future plans

For Qingzi, fashion gives her the means to express her thoughts, “I love to tell my own stories through my designs or my observations about my surroundings.” Not only does she express herself through the design pieces, but Qingzi also strives to incorporate aesthetics and invoke meaningful discussion through her work. Her latest work at Parsons aims to redefine what ‘Made in China’ means in fashion. 

To obtain a more hands-on experience in the industry, Qingzi plans to work as an intern in the coming year before starting her own brand with her friends.

Qingzi’s final collection at Parsons School of Design, 2020

 Advice for students who wish to pursue overseas studies

Qingzi is adamant that if others would like to pursue studies abroad, “Early preparation is the key.” Qingzi completed her Bachelor’s degree at PolyU in 2018, and subsequently enrolled in postgraduate studies in the U.S. She did not wait until she finished her studies at PolyU, but started to prepare her portfolio for interviews in Year 3. Qingzi advises ITC junior students that: "If they are committed to embark on a career path of a designer in the future, they need to be well prepared in advance to make sure that they are fully equipped and ready for the journey of studying a Master’s of Fine Arts programme. It is not easy to get into these programmes and complete them, so potential students would undoubtedly need perseverance."