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China-chic inspires warmup to France fashion week

Updated: 2024-02-19 08:19 ( XINHUA )
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In bright sunlight, a 3D-printed blue-and-white twin lotus graces a down jacket, evoking the elegance of fine blue-and-white porcelain.

It is a collaborative creation by tutors and students from the Textile and Garment Industrial Research Institute at Wuhan Textile University in Gongqingcheng city, Jiangxi province, where China's first down jacket was made.

The design has been made for the 2024 China-France Week, which is scheduled to take place in Paris this autumn.

"Our objective is to infuse additional traditional Chinese cultural elements into our creations, including the exquisite blue-and-white porcelain of Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province. By showing the wealth of ceramic culture and classical patterns to a global audience, we aim to breathe new life into ancient Chinese civilization through contemporary and stylish clothing," says Wang Qiuhan, head of the institute.

These "China-chic" down jackets blend modern design seamlessly with traditional elements. Designers make use of traditional textile techniques, embroidery, and decorations like Chinese buttons and collars, while integrating abstract patterns of ink, mountains and rivers with mosaics. The result is fashionable and distinctly Chinese.

"We are also promoting cooperation with the inheritors of Xiabu embroidery, a form of intangible cultural heritage, for our down jackets," Wang adds.

This year, China and France are celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties, and are also observing the occasion as the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism. This milestone year promises a plethora of bilateral cultural exchange activities.

With captivating images of waterfalls and ridges on its collar and belt, the down jacket resembles a Chinese landscape painting, and blends abstract ink patterns with the serene images of mountains and rivers. The institute made its debut on the fashion runway during the China-France Week in Paris last autumn, with 30 sumptuous down jackets, which took center stage and captivated the audience.

"The clothes were very pretty. It would be great to see more traditional Chinese elements in fashion, because it's a change from the type of fashion we have in France," one of the spectators says, recalling the show.

"The down jackets got attention from major European media and fashion magazines, sparking numerous order inquiries after their international debut. This highlights the attraction of traditional Chinese culture, with clothing serving as a powerful medium to share it with the world," Wang says.

"I really liked the show, especially the cut and fabric of the designs, and some of the elements from nature, such as birds and mountains, are classic Chinese concepts. The mixing and stitching of fabric materials was amazing," says Isabelle Lawson, executive director of the French International Art Salon.

One of the designers, 27-year-old Wang Ran, says that, in the 1970s, when down jackets made their way to China, they were humorously known as "bread suits" because of their coarse fabric, minimal down stuffing, unexciting styles and drab colors. Over the years, they have evolved to embrace lightness, fashion and variety.

"Nowadays, these China-chic down jackets are not only visual feasts, but also embody traditional culture," she adds.

High quality and superior design have invested made-in-China products with confidence and strength. The connection between China and France through the fashion industry is becoming increasingly close.

French designers are keen on collaborating with China, acknowledging its leading position globally in garment production and processing. With strengths in both design and cost-effectiveness, the fashion industry sees significant potential for cooperation between China and France.

"In recent years, China has made great progress in the fashion industry. We are very willing to expand cooperation with China," says Xavier Romatet, dean of the French Fashion Institute, a leading fashion institute in France.


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