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What's behind the revival of the ancient Chinese fashion hanfu?


Source: CGTN   Published: 2019-6-30

Hanfu, or Han Chinese clothing, is back on the streets. Across the hustle and bustle of modern life, an increasing number of Chinese people, mainly the young, are dressing in ancient Chinese clothing of long-sleeve silky robes in their daily lives.

While China is becoming increasingly integrated with the world both economically and culturally, why are young people looking to the past for their fashion inspiration? What are the cultural symbols behind the resurgence of Han Chinese clothing?

Harvey Dzodin, senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, believed that "wearing the hanfu is a reaffirmation of the Chinese Dream" and it could also represent "resurgence in Chinese culture and bridge the Chinese culture from long long time ago to today."

As each Han-dominated dynasty had its own style, hanfu has gone through many transformations throughout history and is generally characterized by loose, flowing robes with sleeves that reached the knees. It may not be much different from the Japanese wearing the kimono and Koreans wearing the hanbok, but it can be an expression of young Chinese people's hopes and dreams.

Han Hua, research fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University, attributed the surge in the wearing of the traditional Chinese garb to popular cultural products like TV dramas, films, as well as online media.

She emphasized that online social networks may have played an important role in inspiring people to wear Han Chinese clothing and connecting people interested in the same hobbies.

Still, Hanfu outfits have not gained mainstream acceptance in the world yet. Harvey pointed out that "integration is a two-way process," which means "China needs to study what's going on outside its borders, and people outside the borders need to study China as well."

Han Hua is a research fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Key Words: Hanfu   culture   tradition   Han Hua  

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