Modern Clothing


Since the Nationalist Revolution of 1911, there was a generally belief that after the suffer of foreign invasions and national decline for a century, the state needed to break away from the old shackles in order to survive and compete with the outer modern world. Therefore, the nation began to look for new styles of clothing which were both modern and Chinese. The simple adoption of Western clothing was not a popular choice. Foreign dresses were reminded to Chinese employees working in foreign companies who were ridiculed as unpatriotic. The so-called fashionable Western women's clothing, were rejected by many Chinese for being arrogant and eccentric. In some missionary schools, loose Western clothing were modest but unattractive.





Until the middle of the 20th century, a large number of men still wore traditional dresses which were ordinary, blue, long gowns for academics and seniors men, jackets and pants dyed with indigo-cotton for workers. But in the group of urban elites, a new outfit, based on the Prussian military dress, emerged in the 1910 's and first appeared in schools and military cadet uniforms; this had a fitted jacket fixed with button in  the front, decorated with four pockets, and presented its Chinese character by using a stiff, high mandarin collar, worn over matching trousers. This suit, in Western-style, was often made in woolen cloth. It was the first time that wool was adopted as the basis of China's important clothing types. The dress was called Sun Yat-sen's suit, after the father of the Chinese revolution.






Few of the suggestions of creating a specific modern dress for China met with enthusiasm, but in some cities, especially Shanghai, women and their tailors were experimenting with a modern change in the Manchu gown, which would have a long-lasting effect. The Manchu banner robes , or Qipao, and long gowns, or Cheongsam, adapted fashion by fashionable women to be a bit more fitting, with a closure folded left to right on the shoulder, and then along the right seam, often with decorative frog, or cloth button and loop,  fixed, sometimes with a slit to the knee height. 






This new style, adopted materials like silks, rayon, or printed cotton, was widely advertised in advertising prints in the 1920s and the 1930s, and soon became firmly entrenched as China's appropriate modern ladies. In the 20th century, the Qipao continued its evolution into a more suitable form and was widely accepted, both in China and in the west, as a Chinese "traditional" ladies dress.


In the years after the establishment of PRC in 1949, vintage dresses, including men's long "scholar's robes" and women's Qipao, continued to be wore through the country. But by the end of 1950s, strong political and social pressure laid on people to dress in a "humble, revolutionary" style-Sun Yat-sen suit, or as a substitute, moderate blouse and calf length skirts.






The fashion industry returned cautiously to China in 1978, as Mao Zedong promulgated the Four Modernization economic reform plan. At the beginning of the 1980s, fashion magazines were published again and  fashion shows were held in major cities. Fashion design and related subjects were once again taught in high schools and colleges. The Chinese traditional dress Cheongsam also had a revival in both mainland China and overseas Chinese community, because as a formal dress, it expressed a sense of national pride, and become a woman in the hotel industry wear "traditional" clothing. But on the whole, Chinese garments are now a reflection of global fashion. At the end of the 21st century, famous international brands were commonly seen in the shopping area of Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and other major cities. Chinese consumers were also participating in the international stage. At the same time, China had become the world's largest clothing manufacturer and exporter.




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