Category Archives: Cultures

Chinese Fashion Waiting for International Recognition

While China is known as an origin of manufacturing fashion products, people in Chinese fashion industry never lose confidence in their own brands.

“It’s not that we don’t have first class manufacturing techniques. It’s not that we can’t afford genius designers. The key problem is, at the moment, Chinese culture is not highly valued in the world stage.” said Mr. Wu, chair of a large Chinese fashion groups, after his visit to a fashion fair in Milan, Italy in 1997.

In March, 2010, he made another speech at a fashion forum in China, “Now our country is stronger. Our culture will be gradually recognized by the world. As a result, our design and fashion products will be gradually accepted, and our adds-on value will show.”

For over 20 years, Mr. Wu and his group have had the dream of building an international fashion brand with Chinese cultural characteristics. In each of their retail stores, they would display two delicate china plates. The culture can also be found in the design. For example, they would use Chinese lucky knots as buttons, or embroider tiny red dragons on the shirts.  

At the end of the speech, Mr. Wu explains the concept of his brands to his audience, “We shouldn’t say that ‘Chinese’ means ‘traditional’. You’ll have to smartly put the elements of your culture into an international context.”

Happy Mid-Autumn Day

It’s the Mid-Autumn Festival in China today. I almost forgot it until one friend sent me festival wishes from China. Sometimes people forget their hometown festivals. One of my friends from the US is working in China, and he almost forgot about the Labor Day.

There are lots of memories about this festival. I first learned to talk about it in English at our English class in junior high school. There was a lesson about this festival in the English book, and I learned the words like Mid-Autumn Day, moon cakes, family get together, etc.

Last year, I talked about the culture of Mid-Autumn Festival to my students of Chinese as second language, and they found it very interesting. It really is, if you believe the fairy tale that there is a laurel tree on the moon, a beautiful lady is living in the magnificent palace on the moon, alone with her snow white rabbit… and she used to be a lovely young woman living on earth.

( lady named “Chang Er” of the fairy tale, pictures from http://www.oklx.com)

In China, it’s difficult to ignore this festival. You would find advertisements of moon cakes everywhere, in super markets, department stores, and hotels. Even if you don’t buy them yourself, it is highly possible that you might receive some as gift from others. Companies give moon cakes to employees, clients, and other important contacts. I think everybody in China eats some moon cake during this festival.

Oh, one more thing, there will be full moon tonight, or tomorrow night, if according to the saying, “the moon on the 15th is not so full until the 16th” (The day is calculated as Aug. 15th with Chinese lunar year calendar).

(moon cakes, photos from http://www.2dayblog.com/2009/09/16/starbucks-mooncake/ , http://fashion.ef360.com/Articles/2009-7-29/132650.html )