Meet the Girl: Grace Choi, Founder and Designer of Yi-ming, Model & Show Producer
Posted on 23 March 2017
The energy of spring is in the air — we have something fresh on this week's Meet the Girl series to put a little spring in your step! We chat with the founder of Yi-ming, former supermodel and a very close friend of ours, Grace Choi, about being a woman entrepreneur, designer, wife, model and her inspiration behind Yi-ming.
Prior to her modelling career, Grace studied fashion design and business. Whilst she was modelling, she started her own production company, Gorgeous Productions, which organises fashion shows and promotion events in the city. With a keen design sense and desire to run her own fashion label, Grace launched Yi-ming in 2012, aiming to re-introduce the classic Chinese cheongsam to a modern generation.
Ahem... take a sneak peak behind the scenes on the set of Yi-ming x ESEMBLĒ shoot and stay tuned for more coming out next week!
Yi-ming has found its position in the development of contemporary East-meets-West style garments. Tell us about your background and what inspired you to start Yi-ming?
I have always been passionate about Chinese culture and especially the Cheongsam, however I found when searching for Cheongsams in the market, the choices were limited and often geared to a more mature market. I wanted to add a contemporary feel to the traditional and open the market to a more diverse audience where the Cheongsam can be fashionable and chic, instead of merely a 'costume' for theme parties.
We really like how you describe Fashion in a previous interview, “Fashion entails viewing historical styles from new and different angles.” Have you always been fond of Chinese history & culture?
I've always been interested in Chinese culture, especially on clothing and architecture, colours and patterns, and this has really been the inspiration behind the founding of Yi-ming.
What does it mean to you to be a ‘modern girl’? What vision and values do you have for yourself, as a woman entrepreneur/ wife/ designer of Yi-ming?
I think it is important that women are not viewed simply as stay-at-home wives, but rather women can juggle their own career and family. It can be challenging when a working woman is filling so many roles, but there are so many inspiring female role models out there succeeding and doing it so well.
How do you juggle between different roles?
Sometimes it is tough, but when I consider the freedom I have to build a brand I am so passionate about, and seeing it grow day by day is inspiring and motivating enough for me to keep going!
We love your effort in promoting women empowerment. Being an advocate of Golden Bauhinia Women Entrepreneur Association, what has been your biggest hurdle as a woman entrepreneur in Hong Kong? What kind of support to you receive from the community?
Gender equality is an issue everywhere, however I believe Hong Kong has been better in this area than many other places. It really is possible in HK to achieve whatever it is you put your effort into. Being part of the women group, it strengthens our power to support different women in our community and their business and also learned from each other.
The quote “The world is your oyster” encourages girls to be fearless in their endeavors - What do you aspire to for your future?
My philosophy is quite simple really – you can never win if you never begin. So we should always be brave and put ourselves out there for challenges. I hope Yi-ming will continue to grow and introduce people around the world to our beautiful oriental culture. We are very excited to be opening our first exclusive retail outlet in the coming month, and I believe that this is just the beginning for Yi-ming. Stay tuned!