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Tailor to the stars

By Yu Ran | Shanghai Star | Updated: 2014-11-16 04:01

Tailor to the stars

Star power: Hu Haixia offers fashionable, tailor-made down jackets for people to dress up in winter. Photo provided to Shanghai Star

When Hu Haixia moved the family tailoring business to Hengdian, Zhejiang province she had little idea she would soon find herself in the middle of China's Hollywood. Yu Ran chats with the accidental celebrity style maker.

Setting up a tailoring business in a neighboring town was meant to be a way to get away from the fierce competition.

Instead it thrust 28-year-old Hu Haixia and her down jacket brand Moon Swan into the spotlight as a tailor to the stars.

When Hu and her mother moved to Hengdian, a small town in Zhejiang province 10 years ago, she never thought the region would become a huge center for the movie industry, attracting nearly 30 film crews every day. Nor did she ever imagine she would become the down jacket maker of choice for some of China's biggest stars.

Dubbed the "Chinese Hollywood", Hengdian World Studios, the 3.3-square-kilometer area is host to 13 studios, and is where thousands of TV series and films are shot.

It was in the middle of this milieu that Hu and her mother suddenly found themselves and their modest business making down filled winter coats and jackets.

"It turned out that celebrities are more interested in tailor-made down jackets than the locals, who need to work outdoors even on the coldest days of the year," says Hu, who developed her talent in fashion design and tailoring thanks partly to the influence of her mother, who has been a professional tailor for decades.

Hu says she was not interested in pursuing a career in tailoring until 2009, when she lost her job in a trading company and became a full-time staff member in her mother's workshop.

Unlike her mother's vision for the brand, Hu was keen to raise the reputation of Moon Swan to be a high-end tailor-made brand instead of a small local tailor shop.

In order to fit the varied requirements of a growing number of celebrities at the giant studio during the freezing winter, Hu offered customized services, designing a batch of fashionable, thick down jackets.

Many of the actors working in Hengdian started to visit Hu's shop to order their warm down jackets.

Hu says that in the first five to 10 years of business, more than 80 percent of her regular customers were film and TV stars.

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