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Fashion show boosts China-France ties

By ZHAO RUINAN in Gongqingcheng, Jiangxi | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-24 09:57

A model displays designer Wang Ran's China-chic down jacket creation in Paris last year. CHINA DAILY

Last autumn in Paris, the air was filled with music as models gracefully walked down a runway to showcase over 30 Chinachic down jackets. The Parisian fashion community was captivated by the collection.

One of the designers, Wang Ran, created a series of down jackets that were mainly military green and fresh red. Her inspiration came from the history of Gongqingcheng city in Jiangxi province, where China's first down jacket was made.

The 27-year-old is a student designer at the Textile and Garment Industrial Research Institute at Wuhan Textile University, located in Gongqingcheng. The fashion show was the institute's debut on the runway during China-France Week in Paris.

"In the early years, a group of young people from Shanghai came to Gongqingcheng and built the city. They toiled through the winters in their military green coats, and that spirit of pioneering inspired me," she said.

"I hope to bring this spirit of Gongqingcheng to the international stage."

The fashion showcased at China-France Week in Paris was a collaborative effort between teachers and students from the institute.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of China-France diplomatic ties and has also been declared the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism.

"Participating in the fashion show is a great cultural exchange for young Chinese and French people, fostering connections between the two countries," said Wang Qiuhan, head of the institute.

Established in 2021, it aims to enhance the design standards of the down jacket manufacturing industry in Gongqingcheng, thereby supporting its industrial development. "We have trained several batches of graduate students and are promoting creative and stylish design," Wang said, adding that the China-chic style has become a buzzword in the fashion industry in recent years.

Dai Yanmei, who graduated from the institute last year, designed a series of Chinese-style down jackets inspired by the famous Chinese painting A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains.

She extracted the painting's two main colors — cyan and green — and used embroidery to create waterfalls and mountains on the lapels and belts.

Dai said the inspiration for the clothing also came from a climbing experience on Lushan Mountain in Jiangxi.

"While I was climbing the mountain in April 2022, I received a call from my teacher asking me to design a Chinese-style down jacket. The magnificent and ever-changing shapes of Lushan Mountain reminded me of that famous painting."

Wang Qiuhan said that the institute is planning to mass-produce designs created by students for the market.

"This is also the purpose of Wuhan Textile University, to co-establish a research center in Gongqingcheng with the local government, cultivating talent in fashion design," Wang said.

He and his team are preparing for the 2024 China-France Week, which is scheduled to take place in Paris this autumn.

"Our objective is to infuse additional traditional Chinese cultural elements into our creations, including the exquisite blue-and-white porcelain of Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province," he said.

"By showing the wealth of ceramic culture and classical patterns to a global audience, we aim to breathe new life into ancient Chinese civilization through contemporary and stylish clothing."

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