Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / China / Newsmaker

Designer turns hobby into horse-face skirt business

China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-14 09:07
Share - WeChat
Liu Wenyue (right) checks production of horse-face skirts she designed at a factory in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on March 7. KONG LINGHANG/XINHUA

HANGZHOU — Standing in front of a horse-face skirt on display in a garment factory, Liu Wenyue, 24, meticulously elaborated on the inspiration she drew from while designing it.

"I drew inspiration from the shell carving process used to create mother-of-pearl lacquer, an intangible cultural heritage in China. I chose the chromatic silver thread and images from traditional Chinese paintings — birds, flowers, hills and rocks — as the motifs. I also added window-frame patterns on the edge to give the entire piece the appearance of lacquerware," she said.

"It is the best-selling piece in our store, with 20,000 pieces sold so far," added Liu, a young hanfu designer who majored in pre-school education and switched to a new profession, riding the boom in popularity of traditional Chinese culture.

Having designed nearly 500 sets of hanfu in just four years, Liu has managed to turn what was once a hobby into a stable source of income. She now runs a studio located in Xucun township in Haining, Zhejiang province, and focuses on designing horse-face skirts.

The horse-face skirt is a type of hanfu that features a high, flat front and pleated sides. It originated during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and maintained its popularity during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911).

The more wearable traditional clothes are, the likelier they are to become popular and be passed down to future generations, Liu said.

"I hope that the hanfu pieces I designed can easily blend into people's everyday lives. This is why I have prioritized horse-face skirts as my flagship product," she said, adding that the skirt is very versatile, as it can be matched with tops and fits all age groups.

Liu's passion for hanfu started during her college years, when she was enthralled by the traditional attire but could barely afford it. After seeing hanfu design blueprints shared on the internet, she felt confident in her ability to design the outfits and attempted to create her first design blueprint.

To her astonishment, a hanfu merchant bought her design for 300 yuan ($42). Even though the design had not yet been produced, the buyer provided her with valuable professional guidance, recommending that she learn computer-aided design, which ultimately led to her entry into the industry.

She opened her own hanfu studio in 2019 with a partner who is also a hanfu enthusiast. However, her parents, belonging to a generation to which hanfu remains a novelty, were skeptical about her career choice.

Their skepticism faded as her business prospered. In July, she relocated her studio to the current site in Xucun, which is closer to her textile source.

In her new studio, horse-face skirts featuring a variety of patterns are prominently displayed. They include patterns of fireworks, herbal medicines, blue and white porcelain, and Year of the Dragon images.

"I draw inspiration mostly from traditional Chinese cultural elements while designing the skirts, and at the same time I integrate modern aesthetics into the design to highlight the younger generation's understanding of hanfu," Liu said.

She has not only built a fan base domestically, but has also received orders for her skirts from overseas Chinese and international students. Orders have also been placed by foreigners who are interested in hanfu culture.


Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349