Tang dress


Tang dress
(Tangzhuang)
The craze for Tangzhuang (Tang[-dynasty] dress)—a fad for wearing Chinese traditional clothing—swept China around the New Year of 2002, unexpectedly creating an economy of scale. By a conservative estimate, over 2 million Beijing residents alone spent 200–1,000 yuan per person, resulting in a total of 500 million yuan that benefited retailers, wholesalers, tailors, manufacturers, silk factory owners, silkworm farmers and even dry cleaners. Some were even saved from bankruptcy. The fad was attributed to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum convened on 21 October 2001 in Shanghai, where twenty world leaders were dressed, as they customarily do, in the traditional apparel of the host country.
China provided Tangzhuang, so named by its designers after ‘People of the Tang [dynasty]’, the self-designation of the Cantonese (and Cantonese immigrants who settled Western Chinatowns, called Tangrenjie). A group photo of the leaders in Tangzhuang lent great beauty to the attire and simultaneously fuelled the pride of the Chinese in their culture—a pride generated by their country’s economic success and the prospect of reliving the glory of the great Tang dynasty.
The appeal of Tangzhuang lies in the marriage of a traditional theme with fashionable style. Based on the vest worn during the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC), Tangzhuang is characterized by a propped collar, sleeves seamlessly integrated with the body, and a buttoned front with knotted decorations. The garment material is mostly silk—blue, red or brown in colour—with elaborate designs of dragons, peonies or the Chinese characters for fu (happiness) or shou (longevity).
See also: Shanghai Tang
YUAN HAIWANG

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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