The integration of Chinese historical costumes and contemporary women’s fashion: with special reference to the Shuitianyi

Huang, Ching-Yu (2011) The integration of Chinese historical costumes and contemporary women’s fashion: with special reference to the Shuitianyi. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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This study investigates the potential for integrating Chinese historical costumes with modern fashion with particular reference to shuitianyi (水田衣), a historical dressing style of China. The shuitianyi was worn by ordinary people in the Ming and Qing dynasties (Ming: 1368-1644; Qing 1644-1911); made of patches, the composition of various colours and fabrics made this style distinct from the other Chinese costumes. However, this style has disappeared from Chinese dressing culture with little historical or material reference left. The investigations undertaken for this research into the cultural and social background of the shuitianyi have established a new and relatively comprehensive understanding of its history; further, the discovery of new visual references during the course of this study has offered a clearer depiction of this style of garments. The discoveries and analyses undertaken by this research overthrow previous misapprehensions and errors about the origin, history and style of the shuitianyi. An investigation into the history and status of the Chinese qipao enabled a better understanding of Chinese dressing culture. Furthermore, the comparison of the qipao and the shuitianyi has resulted in a greater understanding of the disappearance of the shuitianyi. Based on the theoretical study, a series of practical works was produced, aiming to demonstrate the intended integration of historical reference through an embodied outcome. Taking inspiration from the shuitianyi, patchwork design became the central theme of a fashion collection, showing a new approach to integrating various materials and fabrics. Further, a three-dimensional effect was sought in the Chinese inspired collection, as Chinese traditional clothing and patchwork appeared to be structurally flat. To demonstrate the new patchwork designs and technique, an initial work was made as design statement; it inspired the production of a ready-to-wear collection that integrated Chinese dress forms and other sources of inspiration such as Art Deco style, within a contemporary womenswear collection.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
November 2011Completed
Subjects: CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-04 - languages and area studies > CAH19-04-06 - Asian studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-05 - others in creative arts and design
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Jewellery, Fashion & Textiles > School of Fashion and Textiles
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Richard Birley
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2017 15:37
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 17:20

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