Enlightenment followed the end of a period that was oppressive towards women. With the creation of a new society, women across China became more emboldened to shout out for liberation and equality.
What they wore was included in this protest. Influenced by the West and other teachings, the empowered women shed the two-piece robes they were previously told to wear. They cut their hair, unbound their feet, and adopted the men's one-piece chang pao as part of their daily clothes - a feat they were once forbidden to do.
Very quickly, the qi pao became a political statement for the promotion of gender equality. It was so widespread that by the 1930s, the qi pao was normalised and had ceased to be a political tool. It was now worn by women from all walks of life, from Shanghai to Hong Kong to foreigners that were attracted to the style.
And it's still being celebrated to today, evolving with the times and forming different versions such as a qi pao top that could be worn with jeans, or even a qi pao-influenced baju kurung that is able to cross cultures and borders.