Shanghai culture, fashion and technology comes to Edinburgh
More than 80 Shanghai-style cheongsams or qipao, including classic collections and new designs incorporating the latest fashion trends and technologies, will be shown at the Edinburgh Art Festival on August 25.
It’s the second year for Shanghai-based Donghua University and the University of Edinburgh to display the body-hugging one-piece dress considered a stylish expression of Chinese feminine charm.
With the theme of “From Shanghai With Love,” the qipao will be presented in three parts to show the history, current situation and future development of the traditional Chinese clothing, according to Donghua.
The future part will incorporate modern fashion technologies, such as optical fiber and memory wire, as well as laser cutting and engraving, said Chen Yuehua, deputy director of Shanghai’s promotion office for cultural creativity industry.
The designs were created by over 60 teachers of students at Donghua’s various departments in cooperation with local technology, fashion and textile companies.
One series adopted the idea of a Shanghai morning with yellow, orange and red as its basic colors to create comfortable and elegant knitted cheongsams with simple and smooth lines. Another series shows qipao that shine in the dark as they contain optical fibers "to show the image of the busy life and prosperity in Shanghai."
“Technical development, cultural immersion and other changes in society, economy and lifestyle all show obvious influence on fashion," said Li Jun, executive deputy dean of the Shanghai International College of Fashion and Innovation at Donghua.
The history of cheongsams will be shown with an exhibition with about 30 classic qipao from the collection of Donghua’s Museum of Textile and Costume, including some from the Qing Dyanasty (1644-1911) as well a classic versions popular from the 1910s and 1940s.
“Modern China, from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, witnessed the transition of Chinese fashion culture from tradition to modernity under the influence of the clash of the Chinese and western civilizations,” said Bian Xiangyang, president of the museum.
“This exhibition sketches out such transition with cultural relics and pictures,” he added.
A show of 28 modern qipao for formal wear, which were produced by designers from Donghua and Shanghai companies, will also be staged to display the current situation of the special fashion style.
The designers have integrated five elements — metal, wood, water, fire and earth to show Chinese ancient philosophy in their designs.