From The Straits Times    |

#HerWorldHerStory is a collection of 60 women sharing their successes, passions, challenges, inspirations, hopes and dreams. Together, they give a snapshot of what it is to be a woman today.

Every month from March till August, we present 10 women navigating their lives now – and in their own words. Here’s Hu Ruixian’s story…

Hair John Chew/Arc salon Makeup Angel Gwee, using Armani Beauty

I started my cheongsam business Studio HHFZ in 2018, four years after graduating from Temasek Polytechnic’s Fashion Design course, as I felt that millennials have forgotten their roots. I wanted to celebrate the Chinese heritage, focusing on custom dressmaking service.

I also want to encourage more people to don the cheongsam other than on special occasions such as weddings and Chinese New Year. I’m a one-woman show at the studio because I want to be 100 per cent involved, walking my customers through the entire dressmaking process. Many people have asked me, “Ruixian, why do you go through all these steps by yourself?”

Some of my industry peers think it’s too “ley cey” (troublesome). But to me, it’s not about how many clients I have or how fast I get the work done. My job is my life!

Every night before I go to sleep, I think about the pieces I’ll be making or working on the next day. It’s really a labour of love, and each piece I make is unique to the wearer.

I meet with my customers to understand what they’re really looking for in the dress, and they can also choose the fabric at the studio. Sometimes, I’d bring them to the fabric suppliers to find the most suitable piece. I then create a draft of the final product, before working on the cheongsam. It takes me about three months to complete one.

I’m so happy when I see many of my young customers swop their T-shirts and jeans for my cheongsams. When the girls look in the mirror and feel beautiful in the dresses I’ve made for them, I get a lot of satisfaction. That feeling is invaluable – and makes all my time worthwhile.

This article was first published in Her World’s April issue. Grab a copy today!