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A fusion of ancient and modern fashion

China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-12 09:04

A fusion of ancient and modern fashion

A model presents Danmang. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Chinese designers are setting themselves apart from the global competition today by turning to China's rich history for inspiration to create their contemporary apparel

Long before the invention of the qipao, or the cheongsam, there was a similar-looking type of clothing that most Chinese wore starting from as early as the 26th century BC.

Known as hanfu, or Han clothing, this traditional robe-like attire featured loose lapels and long flowing sleeves and was often adorned in vibrant colors. While the details found on the clothing changed through the centuries, the style of the hanfu has endured even till today, with a growing number of Chinese designers turning to it for inspiration and infusing elements of it into their contemporary designs.

"The old style is monotonous and makes people think of elaborate embroidery patterns featuring dragons and phoenixes. To make it appealing to today's crowd, we need to get rid of the original frame and be innovative," said Cai Wenqiao, an integrated design undergraduate student at Parsons School of Art and Design in New York.

For her final-year project, Cai designed eight pieces of clothing that were inspired by the Chinese prose called Peach Blossom Spring by Tao Yuanming, a famous writer of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420). Four of the designs are meant for daily wear while the rest are suitable for formal events.

Cai used pink as the main color for all the pieces as it represents the peach blossom. She has also included classic hanfu elements such as embroidery featuring flowers and butterflies. Silk, a common material used to make Han clothing, was also the choice fabric for the project.

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