Exploring Hanfu

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Fashion Clothing and Textile Design
Hanfu used to be the everyday dress for the ethnic Han Chinese group before the late sixteenth century. Due to historical reasons the clothing disappeared. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, Chinese costumes reappeared in the modern society. Nowadays, the Hanfu or Hanfu movement study is mostly based on the traditional culture and clothing construction. However, very little research has associated Hanfu culture with a modern youth culture, undergoing a change. This thesis studies a new emerged youth culture, known as Hanfu culture. The main focus of the thesis is to analyze Hanfu culture from the sociocultural perspective, while simultaneously introducing one possible interpretation of Hanfu culture through textile design. The objective of the study is to point out that Hanfu is no longer confined to the practical or aesthetic function in the traditional sense. In other words, the role of Hanfu has gradually changed from being national symbol, to a fashionable item that both men and women choose for themselves. This project aims to reveal the diversity of Hanfu culture and introduce it in a textile collection. This thesis is divided into two parts: the theoretical part and the design process part, including an interview analysis and the collection of textile designs. The theoretical part of the thesis is focused on the socio-cultural concept of Hanfu. These topics are researched through a literature review. The first portion briefly introduces and outlines the differences of Ancient Hanfu and Contemporary Hanfu. It also examines the current limitations of Hanfu research. The second portion of the theoretical part is focused on the cultural aspect, discussing the developing process of Hanfu culture. Additionally, it describes the changes in the role and significance of Hanfu clothing in the process of the Hanfu movement. This change has enabled the rise of the Hanfu as a fashion choice. The last theoretical part concludes with the influence of other foreign cultures on the Hanfu culture. It maps out a variety of Hanfu products in the market, which reflects the cultural impact. The concept of the collection is created based on cultural integration and the results of the interview survey. A character board is used as a tool to conceptualize the collection. My aim was to capture the essence of the traditional Chinese culture, as well as elements of the modern youth culture in the textile collection. From a textile designer perspective, the current industrial Hanfu textiles mainly focus on the traditional pattern. I hope that this collection shows the path to a new way to design Hanfu textiles.
Salolainen, Maarit
Thesis advisor
Zhong, Hong
Leppisaari, Anna-Mari
Hanfu, fashion, youth culture, traditional culture, textile collection, weaving
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