2008 Taipei Cycle: Interview with Fma International about the design of "Champion Cheongsam"

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

John Murphy (center), a yellow jersey leader, with one of the Miss Ettiquettes.
Image: Rico Shen.
The leader jerseys, showcased during the 2008 Tour de Taiwan.
Image: Rico Shen.

The leader of the 2008 Tour de Taiwan gets a yellow jersey. But every tour winner gets assistance from a "Miss Etiquette," a tour assistant and a brand new part of the Tour de Taiwan. Miss Ettiquette has become a key feature at the awards ceremonies for every stage. Fma International Co., Ltd., the jersey sponsor of 2008 Tour de Taiwan, and a participant of the 2008 Taipei Cycle, has designed 4 different cheongsams (dresses) for "Miss Etiquette," each matching the colors of the four leader jerseys. These cheongsam made a big hit with the Taiwanese and international media in Taiwan.

But what led to these champion jerseys and cheongsams? Wikinews Journalist Rico Shen visited the booth of Fma International and interviewed Martin Hsueh-po Cheng, General Manager of Fma International, to uncover the background of their design at the 3rd Day of Taipei Cycle, just after the finish of the 7th Stage of the Tour de Taiwan (March 15).


Interview Audio in Chinese language.
Four "Miss Etiquettes", the Belles of the 2008 Tour de Taiwan.
Image: Rico Shen.

 ((Wikinews )) Why did you cooperate with the Chinese Taipei Cycling Association (CTCA) to design the leader jerseys and cheongsams?

Martin Cheng: We [Fma International] are proud of our sponsorship of the 2008 Tour de Taiwan. Before the race, we contacted Tour executives and in conjunction with the Taiwan Textile Research Institute (TTRI), the well-known research academy,...were able to contribute a brand new material for CTCA's design. Because the Tour de Taiwan is a famous world-class competition, we can get this wonderful chance to market our brand and our design to the world.

 ((WN )) Usually designs such as the champion cheongsam for "Miss Etiquette", are only available at world-class competitions such as the Olympic Games or the World Games. Why did Fma International think to design these champion cheongsams?

Martin: The champion cheongsams, whose colors matched the four leader jerseys, are exclusively designed for the award ceremony to make these simple ceremonies more vivid and colorful...

 ((WN )) Before the design, did you coordinate with the CTCA on the design?

Martin: Coordination was a necessity because the design had to be approved by the Union Cycliste Internationale. Only after their approval, it could these designs be part of the Tour de Tawain awards ceremonies. of the race. By the way, we also did a number of alterations to customize these important champion cheongsams for each "Miss Etiquette" chosen by the CTCA.

4 cycling jerseys, symbolized as 4 different classes.
Image: Rico Shen.

 ((WN )) Do you do trial runs with these new products and designs that your industry produced?

Martin: We cooperated with the TTRI for a long time on rematching and rearranging new materials when designing and did several trial runs with our newly-designed jerseys and jerseys produced with similar materials. Generally, these materials have been certified by the TTRI other some other international verification group including from Taiwan.

 ((WN )) Other comments? Or some other significant feature?

Martin: We [the public] know that an emperor in China dressed a yellow robe to symbolize as the royalty. Originally, our company [Fma International] hoped our design would include not only our brand new fabric technology but also a traditional element, well-known as part of Taiwanese high fashion. After discussions with several senior designers, we introduced the "dragon", an animal symbolizing our traditional culture here in our Chinese-language countries, into our design and created a logo symbolic of a coiled dragon. In general, we hope this new design can be of great significance.


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.