Hanfu gives youth a sense of tradition and style

发布时间:2021-07-22 13:57:13 | 来源:China Daily | 作者: | 责任编辑:闫景臻

Wearing a long gown with loose sleeves and elaborate embroidery while touring the ancient city wall of Xi'an, Shaanxi province, Wei Fangbing could easily pass as someone from ancient times, were it not for the smartphone she carries in her hand.

Hailing from Northeast China's Liaoning province, Wei is a devotee of hanfu, a type of traditional garment of the Han ethnic group. In her early 20s, she bought the eye-catching outfit long before her trip to Xi'an, a historical city in Northwest China famous for being home to the Terracotta Warriors.

"On social media, I saw that many people visited Xi'an wearing hanfu. They look gorgeous," she says. "The outfit's retro style goes well with Xi'an."

Wei is among a growing number of young hanfu devotees in China who are charmed by the design of the traditional attire and the rich culture behind it.

According to a report by Chinese consulting agency iiMedia Research, the number of hanfu enthusiasts in the country will have surged from 2.04 million in 2018 to 6.89 million by the end of this year, with over 70 percent of them being Generation Z-ers aged between 16 and 24.

The growing popularity of the traditional attire is certainly palpable. In parks and at tourist spots in cities like Xi'an, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province and Nanjing in Jiangsu province, people dressed in such garments can often be seen taking selfies or recording short videos.

To tap into the trend, some tourist attractions have held themed events and offered discounts or waivers for admission tickets to visitors wearing such dresses.

Last year, the ancient town of Xitang in Zhejiang province attracted some 187,000 tourists during its hanfu cultural week, including more than 86,000 visitors dressed in a traditional style.

Zhu Keli, a researcher on new economy with the Development Research Center of the State Council, says the growing popularity of such attire among young people arises from their increasing appreciation for traditional culture and their need to express their individuality.

The new economy and e-commerce platforms have further spurred the development of the niche market, Zhu says.

The report by iiMedia Research predicted the sales volume of China's hanfu market to exceed 10 billion yuan ($1.54 billion) this year.

The booming market has attracted an increasing number of young, hanfu-loving entrepreneurs.

Wu Qiuqiao, 27, owns a shop on Taobao, China's major online shopping platform, which mainly sells specially designed traditional costumes for pet cats. Wu opened the shop in 2019 after quitting her previous job in Beijing to pursue her real interests-hanfu and cats.

"I was trying to do something different, and the idea of hanfu for cats is so original and combines my two favorite things," she says.

The novel idea has turned out to be a big success. To date, Wu's shop has garnered over 16,000 followers on Taobao, with her highest monthly sales topping 70,000 yuan.

Wu says her main concerns when designing hanfu for cats are how to make the clothing more comfortable for the animals and how to retain the essence of the traditional attire.

"I'm happy that my special hanfu can win the hearts of so many cat owners," she says.


Entrepreneur Wu Qiuqiao in Changsha, Hunan province, last August, with her cat wearing a traditional hanfu gown that she designed for the pet. CHINA DAILY