At 12 a.m., the lights are still on at Zhi Yue Hanfu Studio. “Chengdu Hanfu cultural event to be considered our debut, we had to come up with a masterpiece and try to make a splash at the exhibition.” Lan Xiu said, one of the founders of Zhi Yue Hanfu.
She took out a tape measure and measured on the finished hanfu garment. She mentioned that Zhi Yue has not been investing much in publicity, and that they have participated as judges in almost all of the past few major national hanfu shows, so this year has been an extraordinary year for them as well. “We intend to participate in this Hanfu Festival as merchants and kind of give ourselves a chance to showcase it.”
Lan Xiu and others founded Zhi Yue Traditional Clothing in 2018, whose hanfu product patterns and shapes are mainly based on cultural heritage materials as reference, insisting on focusing on original hanfu development.
“Although our brand was established not long ago, we almost all have more than ten years of experience in making hanfu”. Lan Xiu’s team has been deeply rooted in the hanfu industry for many years since the early days of its creation, and now has its own hanfu studio in Chengdu and its own hanfu factory in Guizhou.
Through Lan Xiu and her team’s more than 10 years of experience in making hanfu, she has found that not only domestic hanfu consumers, but also overseas Chinese customers often prefer the traditional forms of hanfu they produce, “It shows me that no matter where you are, no matter how different the environment you grow up in. There is a consensus among Chinese people around the world about hanfu, and that is to preserve what is most traditional about us, so Zhi Yue Hanfu’s design philosophy has always been to insist on restoring hanfu from heritage materials.” Lan Xiu said.
Bonded by love of hanfu
“I have loved reading since I was a child.” Since Lan Xiu’s teenage years, she has been studying various ancient books, “Since I was a child, I wondered what it would be like if we put the clothes of the ancient people on our bodies.”
Lan Xiu majored in art during her college years, and after graduation, she started her own clothing factory. As one of the earlier manufacturers of hanfu, one of Lan Xiu’s factory’s businesses at the beginning was making costumes for the drama crew.
Lan Xiu recalls that at that time, the hanfu industry was relatively uncommon, so her factory had a wide range of business, making not only hanfu, but also other traditional costumes. But it was through meeting a group of friends in the hanfu circle early on that her life quietly took a turn.
“At that time, we went to study the costumes in the ancient books purely out of interest, and discussed with each other how to restore them and design them so as to bring them to life. This was originally a hobby of us in our free time. Then we saw that hanfu was slowly gaining popularity, so we started discussing how to make traditional hanfu form.”
Perhaps it was the China-chic trend that ignited her dream of Chinese costume. In 2018, Lan Xiu and her partners hit it off and started their own hanfu brand. “We are a group of people who have been hanfu enthusiasts for many years, all with a love for hanfu that makes us a team.”
Insist on making hanfu in heritage materials
As a team with more than 10 years of experience in research, design and production of hanfu, the positioning of Zhi Yue Hanfu was clear from the beginning. “Our hanfu product version shape is mainly based on cultural heritage materials as a reference, relatively combined with modern aesthetics and garment-making techniques, and we insist on focusing on original hanfu development.” Lan Xiu wondered about the future development of hanfu, both the technology and the design will definitely see some adjustments and changes, but the most important part of hanfu, that is, the shape of hanfu, must retain this traditional charm, which is the core competitiveness.
Despite its extensive experience in garment making and hanfu research, Zhi Yue Hanfu still had a lot of difficulties in the early stages of opening. “The main thing is the fabric. Hanfu fabrics are very crafty and more delicate than fashion. So at that time, many factories thought it was too complicated and were not willing to take orders.”
Looking back on the early days of the business, Lan Xiu was overwhelmed with emotion. At that time, she ran all over the country just to find an ideal hanfu processing factory. Because the process of making hanfu is very complicated, the selection of fabrics, dyeing, cutting and so on all need layers of gatekeepers, and even some places need to be done purely by hand.” After the hanfu became popular, more and more factories started to accept orders for hanfu production.
Now Zhi Yue Hanfu has its own hanfu factory, with a complete and mature system from design and development to production. “Not only that, but we also provide hanfu development work for other hanfu merchants”.
For some merchants who have designs but struggle with no experience in developing hanfu, Lan Xiu’s team will work with them to finalize the selection of fabrics, provide advice and help them with product development. From Lan Xiu’s point of view, this is also an effort to reinvent the renaissance of Hanfu.
Since the 2nd Chengdu International Hanfu Cultural Event 2021 was launched on August 26, a series of events have attracted a lot of attention and active participation from hanfu merchants and hanfu enthusiasts. Lan Xiu’s team is also pumped up to take part in the event and is fully prepared for it.
“These events are actually guiding companies to pay more attention to originality, which means emphasizing the core competitiveness of their products. We hope to continuously improve our team’s originality and brand exposure through participation.”
As a fairly “low-profile” hanfu brand, Lan Xiu says she doesn’t put much thought into publicity and marketing on a regular basis, so this hanfu event is a challenge that they are “full of freshness, expectation, and confidence”. “We are actively preparing for the event, and the hanfu we choose to exhibit is naturally of the highest craftsmanship, and we intend to have our newest models debut as well.” Lan Xiu said with a smile.
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