The baby name Qiana, which was very trendy during the late 1970s, can be traced back to a silk-like nylon fabric called Qiana (pronounced kee-ah-nah).
DuPont developed the fabric over a period of “20 years at a cost of $75 million,” and, during that time, referred to it simply as “fiber Y.”
In 1968, DuPont finally put the fabric on the market under the name “Qiana.” The company told Time that Qiana’s exotic-sounding name was just “a computerized combination of random letters.” (In fact, DuPont had started with a computer-generated list of 6,500 five-letter non-words and, after a full year of research and testing, finally settled on “Qiana.”)
Qiana first appeared in the SSA’s baby name data in 1970:
- 1973: 25 baby girls named Qiana
- 1972: 9 baby girls named Qiana
- 1971: 16 baby girls named Qiana
- 1970: 6 baby girls named Qiana [debut]
- 1969: unlisted
It didn’t become trendy until the second half of the decade, though.
Qiana was a popular fabric for disco clothing, especially faux-silk men’s shirts. According to one writer, “Qiana materialized disco…as flannel materialized grunge.”
Remember John Travolta as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever (1977)? The black shirt he wore beneath that iconic 3-piece white suit was made of Qiana.
So as disco peaked, so did the usage of the fabric (along with the number of advertisements that mentioned the fabric, which is important). And as the usage of the fabric peaked, so did the usage of the name. In fact, “Qiana” was boosted into the top 1,000 in 1977 and stayed there for five consecutive years:
- 1982: 96 baby girls named Qiana
- 1981: 159 baby girls named Qiana [ranked 939th]
- 1980: 209 baby girls named Qiana [ranked 789th]
- 1979: 331 baby girls named Qiana [ranked 556th]
- 1978: 370 baby girls named Qiana [ranked 509th]
- 1977: 251 baby girls named Qiana [ranked 649th]
- 1976: 115 baby girls named Qiana
- 1975: 88 baby girls named Qiana
- 1974: 50 baby girls named Qiana
A number of spelling variants (including Quiana, Quianna, Qianna, Quiona, Quionna, Queana, Quiyana, and the one-hit wonders Qiuana and Qiona) also appeared in the data in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
What are your thoughts on the baby name Qiana?