How to Apply Traditional Culture to Modern Fashion? A View of a Costume Designer

Introduction: This session will repeatedly emphasize the importance of traditional culture to the design of comprehensive universities. Unlike domestic art institutions and foreign art institutions, market recognition is the most important to schools, so innovation should also be rooted in Chinese tradition, closer to life. Hope to chat with students in major colleges and universities about the difference between courses, look forward to the industry predecessors to share ideas.

Subject: How to apply traditional culture to modern fashion

Participants: Lengyun Group No.9

Time: 2021-5-22

Moderator – Yutong – Wuxi – Fashion Design Student – China 211 colleges Jiangnan University clothing design undergraduate students, the fashion industry has a lot of love. Participated in the “Alshan Wenzheng”, “Vance Cup” and other design competitions. Hope that can engage in clothing design work for the domestic outstanding independent designers, and stylists.

What Elements Are Included In Traditional Culture?

1. Pattern design

(1) Guizhou from the river non-residual poverty-relief creative design works

The Miao Yi Autonomous Prefecture in southeastern Guizhou Province from Jiang County is a designated poverty alleviation work linked county of Jiangnan University, a university directly under the Ministry of Education. According to the characteristics of the non-material cultural resources from Jiangxian, following the specific requirements of the Ministry of Education for poverty alleviation work, Jiangnan University poverty alleviation work, in particular, listed a piece of cultural (non-residual) poverty alleviation work, guidance, and training from all ethnic groups in Jiangxian non-genetic inheritors, non-relict traditional process products innovative design and production and sales.

These are the uses of the transformation of the pattern by the schoolmaster’s sister. The first picture we can see from the original local pattern to secondary creation, design theme: “non-residual integration into contemporary life”, before and after brewing and design for up to 8 months, and finally completed more than 70 pieces from Jiang Wencheng product design program, design program involving about 300 sets of creative products specific design effect map, to provide from Jiang non-genetic inheritor in product design and innovation reference and application.

Concept: the concept of product design into landing products that can be sold in various tourist destinations In Guizhou, transforming into production. To design inheritance and development of the new era of traditional technology, to design and guide the market from the river cultural creative product consumption, to design and enhance the production efficiency and product added value from the traditional process, to design and improve the economic income of traditional process practitioners, to attract more embroidery ladies engaged in innovative traditional process products production and sales. I think you must have a certain understanding of local folklore, as well as history and culture, you can make secondary creations of local products, to help them achieve poverty alleviation. But in fact, many people should be on the pattern of deformation, because if it is completely original, it is unlikely, after all, to combine folk traditions.

Audience Linchong:

I think the pattern design must first have traditional cultural elements, and secondly, we need to consider how to combine with the layout of clothes. Wouldn’t it seem a little simple to print a picture of these ethnic minority winds directly on a T-shirt in a square or rectangular shape?


Some people extract colors from local works, and then some based on the colors of the original work, are fine-tuned by lightness and purity to become another whole new set of design pieces. It may be that the teacher asked for the form of creation is the deformation of the pattern, and then just a simple collage on the prototype, this is just a basic scheme. Because it’s just a competition, but if you’re going to design, to help with local products, it’s going to take more research.

Audience Wangqian:

The culture behind it is also a medium of communication with consumers, but the good-looking graphics will inevitably appear thin.

Dr. Lengyun:

So how to apply the traditional pattern to contemporary design? Through secondary creation?


I think secondary creation is an aspect because it just becomes more modern, in line with the modern aesthetic. But if you want to help the local economy, think more diversely. Traditional patterns can be applied to home textile clothing, because with distinct national cultural characteristics, so it can be more closely integrated with the feelings of the nation while protecting the heritage of non-relict culture. China has more nationality, and we have a responsibility to pay for reflecting the cultural diversity of all ethnic groups.

Should be the cause of this year’s COVID, from WGSN, COLORO, and other well-known color prediction platform can be seen with the previous years less light saturation of the epidemic color, this year’s popular color is more inclined to saturation of the color. This year’s revival of the Art Nouveau movement has also given more designs geometric and streamlined forms. The aesthetic transformation of the Art Nouveau movement ranges from Baroque complexity to modern minimalism. This “less is more” style is becoming more and more popular.

This is the spring and summer of 2021 Shenzhen International Home Textile Art and Home Decoration Exhibition. I think a lot of the works inside have a distinct art nouveau movement form expression, can see the Chinese Pattern and Western colors, and some patterns of the combination is very perfect.

Audience Linchong

The application of traditional culture to modern clothing, the purpose is to focus on the transmission of culture, or as a blue sea, in the commercial development of a type of clothing style?


I think there is a need to inherit and innovate on traditional culture. Therefore, international trends are also an essential factor, which will be more able to carry forward our traditional culture, rather than stick to their own. I think every brand will change to a certain extent after coming to the Chinese market to meet the needs of the local market. Therefore, the degree of traditional culture ratio should be different degrees of differentiation, some brands may be more trending, some brands may be the older audience, so it will be more traditional. So, if you want to create a brand yourself, will you choose a more traditional element, or will you be a little trendier?

Audience Wangqian

Combine local culture with design forms that are more in line with market demand. Culture is content, design is the carrier. It depends on the market in which it is sold.

2. Traditional Chinese colors

On the study of Chinese color, what we did at that time was to study the color of Tangka, which may not be the same as the general sense of Chinese color, because it is a very distinct regional ethnic characteristic. I think everyone’s impression of Chinese color should generally be the color of Chinese painting. But the color of the nation, the characteristic of the nation is also an essential part, which is also I think the national style.

Color Tang is painted Tang card, and color Tang in the green Tang set elegant and beautiful, giving people a clear and peaceful, natural, and beautiful enjoyment. Green Tang often uses a variety of techniques on a picture for multi-level, multi-step depiction, the composition is complex and undisturbed, rich in color, and unified. Its traditional drawing method is all-natural plants, mineral pigments, rich colors, dense lines. Green Tang contains blue, turquoise, red-green Thangka. And the blue tone is the largest painting school of Sichuan-Tibet Tangka – the common color of the Ying-Tang faction in drawing the Green Tang Dynasty, so the market is widely circulated is the blue Tangka, turquoise, red-green, respectively, Sichuan-Tibet three Tangka painting school of the remaining two factions – qin-Ze faction and the Green-Tang common color of the Chi faction. This is my summary of the Green Thangka, this kind of thing can not be painted on the clothes, so only through the color on the canvas to understand it, if you want to apply it to the clothes can only be created by yourself.

Audience Wangxinzhi

It’s very creative to use local culture to melt into clothing.


This is the color difference between the major painting schools, can anyone see the difference?

Audience Linchong:

It feels visually different.

Audience Wangqian:

The color scheme is very different. The first one is very bright and has high contrast.


It can have different effects on different media, and that pigment is mineral pigment, so the overall purity looks very high.

It represents a very rich meaning, so this may also be his color characteristics are very distinctive.

Audience April

The Ying Tang painting school had a bit feeling of a Qing Dynasty Qianlong period.


Because different schools of painting are a process of historical evolution, it happened to be a point in time when the Qing Dynasty worshipped Buddhist culture.

These are the production process; this process has a great impact on color. Is anyone very interested in the history of Tibetan Buddhism? Thangka’s history can be comparable to Chinese painting, the history is also very long, and at present, no one is used in clothing, I know only Mr. Guo Pei. Mr. Guo Pei had an haute couture show before, inspired by Thangka. But I think in today’s world, we can apply these elements to clothing because there is a lot of minority clothing in the Southwest region is affected. People are not very impressed with Thangka now, but I believe there are a lot of people who know it because it influence on Chinese culture is very far-reaching. If we can apply it to clothing, I believe there will be a certain audience. In addition, there are so many inspirations and elements that can be tapped into Chinese culture, not just Thangka.

Audience Wangqian

Yes, some traditional color schemes are also international.

Audience Linchong

I’m thinking about how to apply traditional culture to clothes and how to make more customers like them.

Audience April

Commercial thinking is needed, not just artistic.

3. Traditional Dyeing and Weaving Process In China

Next is the traditional process of dyeing and weaving. Has anyone learned to dye?

Audience Wangqian

I’ve done a cultural project that combines blue dyeing with embroidery.

Products and dyed fabrics were converted from the project at that time.


Tie-dyeing has a long history in Chinese folk, it is the dyeing fabric part of the stranding so that it can not be the unified coloring of a printing and dyeing technology. The technique of lidding is ever-changing and interesting, people can use yarn, wire, rope, and other forms of fabric combination after dyeing, and then the stranded lines one by one removed, thus forming a different shade, layers of color halo, and wrinkles. The picture above should be a picture of the teacher leading his classmates to dye and weave in the elective course. Because this course is not my own experience, I would like to do such a process, but there is no opportunity.

Audience Linchong

I’ve seen some dyed T-shirts at some stalls in Four Seasons Qing, Hangzhou, and I feel the color of the fabric is like a rainbow.

4. History of Chinese clothing

History of ancient clothing

  • The history of Qin and Han clothing 
  • The history of social clothing in the north of Wei Jin City 
  • The history of the five generations of clothing in the Tang Dynasty 
  • Song Yuan clothing history  
  • The history of clothing in the Ming Dynasty 
  • The history of clothing in the Qing Dynasty 
  • The history of modern clothing 

Do you know the characteristics of Chinese clothing history? Han clothes, cheongsam is very hot. Today I would like to focus on the cheongsam, have you ever heard of “province”? This does not pronounce as “sheng”, read sang three sounds, this is a part of the cheongsam.

The location is probably on the side of the cheongsam there. Today’s cheongsam is usually improved, so the requirements for body size are very high, but the traditional platform cheongsam province is very loose and belongs to the body of all girls can be applied to the flat cheongsam.

Audience Linchong

So, at that time, the cheongsam audience did not pick people.


Now everyone’s misunderstanding of the cheongsam is too deep, always feel that we must be particularly good-looking people to wear.

Audience April

Traditional Chinese clothing is wide and large, will not highlight the figure and there is no tailoring.


Now the cheongsam form is very rich and diverse, you can choose according to their own hobbies profile.

In these pictures, we can also see a form of cheongsam change, influenced by Western culture. Sleeve tailoring, as well as provincial tailoring, have all changed dramatically becoming more in line with women’s curves. The article is also from the original peony, including some large flowers into some abstract lines and graphics, these are influenced by the Western Art Nouveau movement.

People’s minds are also a certain leap from the previous kind of broad cheongsam. Chinese women’s tradition is not convenient to show their bodies to outsiders, but now we dare to show their bodies, wear somebody shape clothing, can see the beauty of women’s curves. Just now a lot of people are talking about Chinese clothes, but I think Han clothes and cheongsam meaning is very different. Cheongsam has more political connotations, and our Zhongshan dress is the same, but the Han clothing I feel more like the Chinese nation’s traditional complex. And I think, for example, in the diplomatic occasion to negotiate affairs, Chinese can wear cheongsam Zhongshan clothes, but the Han clothing is open to discussion, this is only my personal opinion.

The Presentation of Traditional Culture In Clothing

1. Folklore Museum Exhibition Display

These are old-fashioned cheongsam, Zhongshan dress, as well as water country clothes and new Chinese clothes. Water town clothing should be the characteristics of Jiangnan culture. This side looks like rivers and lakes are particularly dense, and then there are a lot of bridges.

2. Graduation works show


The show above is the graduation work of our undergraduates, and then the separate photos taken below are graduate students’ graduation works. The theme of this graduation design is “melting”, culture and natural ecology harmonious blend, the use of silk in the hands of weaving life’s beauty and health. On the one hand, its diffusion is “integration”, which means that the society learns to integrate and keep pace with the times based on inheriting excellent traditional culture. On the other hand, “melting” is the understanding of the meaning of the word “melting”, meaning that the events of the past year brought to people’s trauma, will eventually be healed by the healing of time.

Audience Linchong

I think these photos are more of a reflection of what you say about the second paragraph, there are some obvious elements of traditional culture.

3. Excellent Domestic Design Brand on The Traditional Cultural Elements of The Use

Finally, back to the definition of Chinese tradition, I think many designers have been in the definition of the Chinese style in a very superficial degree, such as just to give examples of some figuring elements, such as dragon bamboo fans. Have you ever seen Rauf Laurens’ dress designed for Fan Bingbing? That dress should be very famous.

I don’t think a Chinese designer can understand the Chinese style the same way as a foreign designer. Just the use of some very figuring elements. It is not only the use of elements but also deep into the like clothing layout, tailoring. And I think if you pile up this so-called Chinese element, you will end up making the garment look bad, that is, it will not achieve the desired effect.

Audience April

This pursuit is to attract attention, how to let others remember how to come so that a dragon robe like this foreign think of the Chinese elements.


This is the 2015 Armani show, I think their understanding of the Chinese style at that time, although stuck on a more superficial basis, the made is still very good-looking, there is Chinese low-key connotation.

Audience Linchong:

I think girls wear it to show a modern sense of classical Chinese temperament.


Overall, for the Chinese trend, my advice is not to build too much, not to gimmick too big on design.

Audience April:

Don’t be Chinese for the sake of the Chinese trend, don’t turn upside down.

Moderator’s Conclusion

I. What elements are included in traditional culture?

The culture behind the design is also the medium of communication with consumers, and we need to multi-faceted in-depth research on the background of consumer life, to make meaningful and temperature patterns. Color is not only the color of Chinese painting, but Chinese color is also the need for multi-faceted extracted from all ethnic groups.

2.  The Presentation of Traditional Culture in Clothing

The exhibition of outstanding graduates’ works of the school, and the exhibition of folklore halls and so on. Excellent brand: Xia Zi Chen, Jiangnan cloth. For the future development of Chinese style, designers should improve the aesthetic art working with western techniques. Chinese clothing brands should be younger and create fashion topics.

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