During this year’s Qingming Festival, the first Hanfu Flower Festival was held in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. Hanfu enthusiasts in groups of Chinese traditional costumes, with pretty makeup, walked among the hundreds of flowers, or heroic, or delicate and soft, attracting the attention of tens of thousands of visitors.
In the 2021 Spring Festival, a program called “Tang Palace Night Banquet” became popular. In the program, actors wearing Tang costumes in a delicate dance, recreate the culture of the Tang Dynasty in its prime, and also let the traditional costume of hanfu once again penetrate the hearts of people.
Hanfu ushers in a new wave of boom
The main character in the picture is called Chu Qi (楚淇), a hanfu fan. For more than two years, with exquisite ancient style styling and stunning contrast, it has rapidly become popular on the Douyin (Chinese regional version of Tiktok), gaining nearly 7 million fans.
“Wearing hanfu has made me more confident and enabled more people to understand and like hanfu.” Chu Qi said. At the end of last year, he decided to become a short-form videos blogger full time. From hanfu enthusiast to hanfu promoter, he admits that he wants to spend his limited energy on the most important thing, which is to promote hanfu and inherit traditional culture.
Driven by such hanfu promoters as Chu Qi, hanfu is becoming a new popular trend. Taking Douyin as an example, the total number of video plays on the topic of hanfu has reached 48.23 billion times so far. in 2020, the number of hanfu-related video plays on Jitterbug increased by 292% compared to 2018.
While hanfu has become a trend, it has also unleashed huge business potential. According to data from e-commerce platforms, as of March 9, on Taobao and Tmall, the search volume of “Hanfu” this year has reached 530 million people, with sales of nearly 2.8 billion yuan, of which young people have become the main force, accounting for nearly 70%.
Chong Hui Han Tang Hanfu store is one of the leaders. Open the sales bill, is a continuous rising curve graph. From only about 200,000 yuan in annual sales at the beginning of the company in 2009 to breaking 100 million yuan in 2019, the brand leader Lü Xiaowei believes that behind the continuous doubling of sales of hanfu products is the continuous increase in people’s recognition of hanfu.
Around 2005, Lü Xiaowei and her team founded the hanfu brand “Chong Hui Han Tang” and became the first group of hanfu design, production and sales entrepreneurs in Chengdu, Sichuan.
“The development of hanfu in recent years was beyond our expectations.” Along the way, Lü Xiaowei has witnessed the rise of hanfu.
In the early years, hanfu was considered a “strange costume” and was not accepted by people, but after years of persistent promotion by hanfu fans and commercial opening by hanfu entrepreneurs, this round of “Hanfu Boom” was ushered in.
According to a related industry report, China’s hanfu market sales reached 4.52 billion yuan in 2019, up 318.5% year-on-year. Industry analysts say that in the next 2 to 3 years, China’s hanfu market will continue to grow, and driven by the new consumer groups growing up, the coverage of hanfu to consumers is expected to accelerate further.
The reason of the “Hanfu boom”
Traditional culture revives, short-form videos rise, and hanfu fans continue promoting. Hanfu shows debut at fashion weeks, wearing hanfu for festivals, special cultural weeks focusing on hanfu …… Both leading trends and going into thousands of households, what is behind the hanfu boom?
“Hanfu boom is rooted in the revival of our traditional culture.” Yang Na, executive director of the Costume Professional Committee of the Chinese Traditional Culture Promotion Association, believes that advocating hanfu is not only an inheritance and respect for traditional culture, but also a concrete expression of enhancing national self-confidence.
The high importance attached to the inheritance and development of the excellent Chinese traditional culture provides a good environment for the rise of hanfu boom.”
The development of the mobile Internet, especially the rise of short video platforms, has helped promote hanfu into the fast lane. “It can be said that this round of hanfu boom is a product of the Internet.”
In Yang Na’s view, today’s social media and short videos, with the help of multi-channel image dissemination, have allowed hanfu to cross time and space and connect a wider group of people. ”
In recent years, more ordinary people have shared their experience of wearing hanfu with the help of short-form videos, accelerating the integration of hanfu as a cultural symbol into everyday life.”
In fact, the popularity of hanfu is not a one-time achievement, but the result of long-time efforts by hanfu societies and fans. “The young people who are physically promoting the revival of hanfu, although they are not researchers in the professional field, are putting a lot of energy into running around and calling for it to become an important force in reviving hanfu culture.” Chu Yan, an associate professor at Beijing Fashion Institute, said.
Deeply involved in promoting hanfu for many years, Lü Xiaowei told reporters that the core circle of hanfu has grown from a few dozen people at the beginning to more than 3 million people covering a dozen important cities across the country today. It is because hanfu fans have been rooted at the grassroots level for years to do promotion at traditional festivals that the group of hanfu lovers has continued to grow.
How does hanfu fit into the public better?
In Yang Na’s opinion, the revival of hanfu has provided a development path for the excellent traditional culture to go to the modern society. After returning to the public eye, how to fit into ordinary people is becoming a new test question in the development of Chinese costumes.
“Unlike fashion, adhering to the mission of reviving traditional culture, hanfu design pays more attention to originality.”Hanfu designer Yuan Yi said, that the patterns and forms of hanfu are not simply aesthetically pleasing, but have a cultural meaning behind them, and they are either derived from frescoes in ancient tombs or treasured in museums, all of which have their own lineage of heritage. Only by keeping the righteousness and innovation can traditional culture really be retained and spread.
In Chu Yan’s opinion, as a hanfu designer, one cannot simply imitate some superficial patterns of the costumes, but must first go back to the root, starting from the traditional Chinese culture, understanding how to use the traditional weaving, dyeing, and embroidery techniques, sewing techniques, mastering the rich pattern symbolism, and on this basis, combining with the modern lifestyle and dress concept, so as to create new Chinese patterns and thus reproduce the cultural heritage.
“The lack of industry standards is the biggest dilemma facing the promotion of hanfu at the moment.” Yang Na said. What exactly is hanfu? How to design a standardized Hanfu? These questions have long failed to form a consensus.
Some industry insiders believe that the norms of hanfu include the norms of form, production, and wear, and that the role of experts and scholars in history, aesthetics, and the clothing industry should be given full play to develop relevant standards as soon as possible, which will not only help to mark the historical and cultural value of hanfu, but also help the hanfu industry to get on the right track.
After transforming into a full-time self-publishing blogger, Chu Qi is planning to launch a long video, “The short video gives people a rough intuitive feeling of the hanfu, and the long video will add explanation and analysis to help people better understand the deep historical vein and give cultural meaning to the beauty of the hanfu.”
Yuan Yi has been working on hanfu design for many years, and has started to try to integrate modern elements into hanfu, respecting the traditional form and integrating it with fashion design to make it more suitable for daily living, and truly becoming a daily wear option in people’s closet.
Source: April 21, 2021, “People’s Daily International Edition”, Editor: Qing Jiu
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