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Pre-LV Designer: Chinese Characters Spark Interest Among My LV Colleagues, Spotlighting Cultural Heritage | Realpreneur Tales

By Dai Yuan|Mar 20,2024

Chongqing - In the serene ambiance of a Chongqing high school dorm, Ding Youqiao's ambitions took flight. With nimble fingers, she penned her aspirations on the misty window: "To attend Tsinghua University and become a remarkable costume designer." 

Today, those dreams have come true as Ding proudly holds the role of independent designer and the distinction of being the first Chinese designer to set foot in Louis Vuitton's Paris headquarters.

Ding Youqiao works at LV's Paris headquarters as the first Chinese designer. (Photo/Ding Youqiao)

Revolutionizes fashion with LV bestselling Speedy bag design

Ding's journey into the world of design began in junior high school, ignited by a passion for painting that sparked her creative spirit. Her studies at the prestigious Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University and Central Saint Martins (CSM) allowed her talent to flourish.

She compared the two universities to architectural marvels: CSM, the facade, and Tsinghua, the foundation. The robust education she received at Tsinghua enabled her to unleash her creativity at CSM.

Ding Youqiao's graduation works at Central Saint Martins Press Show. (Photo/Ding Youqiao)

A pivotal moment in Ding's career occurred when she won a top prize in a competition co-hosted by CSM and LV. This win propelled her into a year-long residency at LV's Paris headquarters. Ding left her mark by creating the bestselling Speedy bag with an added belt.

Her graduation projects at CSM attracted Lady Gaga's styling team, but Ding preserved them as treasured keepsakes. "Living abroad made me realize the true beauty of the Orient," she said. "Writing in Chinese characters drew attention from my colleagues at LV, reminding me of our rich cultural heritage." 

Ding Youqiao created her own brand, Jo Qiao Ding, with traditional Chinese elements. (Photo/Ding Youqiao)

Each piece is not just a garment but a narrative

Motivated to share Chinese culture globally, Ding declined post-graduation offers from LV and returned to China to create her brand, Jo Qiao Ding, infused with traditional Chinese elements.

Ding Youqiao's design works when working at LV. (Photo/Ding Youqiao)

Ding's philosophy goes beyond aesthetics; it's about creating a bridge between the past and the present, offering wearers a sense of identity and belonging through fashion. Jo Qiao Ding is characterized by its innovative approach to design, where each piece is not just a garment but a narrative.

Launching her business in Beijing, Ding drew inspiration from its historical sites, frequently visiting the Forbidden City as a creative sanctuary. "Finding joy in the trees, bricks, peeling walls, and calligraphy is a true pleasure," she stated.

Ding excels in creating Chinese-style fashion, enriching each design with cultural depth. Her pieces stand out for their detailed craftsmanship and include cards detailing their inspiration and history. To her, fashion is a platform for sharing profound cultural stories.

Ding Youqiao designs the uniform by collaborating with tea'stone. (Photo/Ding Youqiao)

Ding views design as a service, aiming for her creations to meet their perfect match, highlighting her commitment to minimizing waste. This has steered her towards specializing in bespoke uniforms, ensuring every item fulfills a specific need. Back in Chongqing, her focus on tailored solutions reflects her values of efficiency and intentionality.

Ding has collaborated with tens of Chinese enterprises, including prestigious brands tea'stone and to Summer. She finds deep fulfillment in seeing her designed uniforms worn outside work and customers wanting to buy them.

"I believe the greatest praise a creation can receive is the desire to own it," she said. "For me, true success lies in resonating with people, particularly the younger generation, by incorporating oriental elements." 

Situated in  Chongqing's fashion block, Ecool, her studio radiates warmth with creations that carry stories waiting to be told. Focused not on personal acclaim but on elevating Chinese brands globally, she commits to a distinctive design ethos for broader recognition.


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