These days, hanfu, the folk outfit of China, is in trend. A lot of Chinese young people started to wear traditional dress in public in day-to-day life. But will it change the attitude of ordinary people around them? And, in general, how do the Chinese usually react to youngsters wearing hanfu? Do they support or judge it? Here is a cool experiment – three volunteers put hanfu on and went out in the streets of Shanghai to see the reaction of locals. And some of the respondents’ answers might surprise you.
If you walk the streets of Beijing or Shanghai today, you might see someone wearing a long, silky robe. Recently, young people in China are reviving hanfu, the traditional clothing of the Han people. This recent trend of wearing the traditional Chinese attire has been coined “The hanfu movement”. But those part of the hanfu movement are still a small minority.
What do normal Chinese people think about hanfu? Would they be willing to wear hanfu in public? Asian Boss media asked people in the streets these questions.
– Could you describe to us in just a few words what hanfu is?
– It’s the traditional Chinese attire from before the Qing Dynasty.
– I think it’s something that’s been passed down from traditional Chinese culture.
– Have you seen people walking down the street wearing hanfu?
– Yes, I have. I’ve seen a lot of young women looking really pretty wearing them.
– How do you feel when you see people wearing hanfu?
– I think it’s great. But it’s not convenient.
– I’m envious. They look pretty, and sometimes I even take photos of them.
– If this were a smaller city, wearing hanfu would feel kind of strange. But I think in Shanghai, people can do things like that more often.
– Even though traditional clothing has been part of our culture for a long time, why do you think some people feel awkward rather than proud when they wear it in public?
– It’s mainly because hanfu is uncomfortable, and people don’t wear it often.
– Hanfu is kind of annoying. It’s not practical to wear outside.
– How often do you wear traditional clothing each year?
– I haven’t worn it yet.
– Once or twice.
– Very rarely.
– Maybe once or twice.
– I’ve never worn hanfu.
– I’ve never worn it before. – Why is that? – I’ve never had the opportunity. – Would you wear it if you had the chance? – Yes, I’d like to.
– Today, we have a challenge where we’ll give you US $30 if you wear hanfu in public. If you have time, would you like to do it?
– No, thanks.
– Well, I’ll give it a shot.
– I’ll give it a try!
They go to the Traditional Hanfu Workshop, a shop that provides a hanfu wearing experience.
“Many people who’ve never worn hanfu before, come here and choose an outfit that they’d like to wear. Then, we give them a makeover. We also have a variety of backdrops which they can use for their photos. They can also go outside wearing the clothes”, says Lan Yang, hanfu shopkeeper.
“Hanfu” literally means “traditional Chinese clothes”. Hanfu originated from the ancient Chinese emperor Huangdi, and was worn until the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. So hanfu has thousands of years of history.
– Why do you think hanfu has gotten so popular within the last couple years?
Because kids from the 90s have grown up. It’s also a way to revive the traditional attire of the Han Chinese.
– How do you feel wearing hanfu?
– I’m extremely satisfied with it. It’s my first time wearing hanfu and it feels fresh. I love it.
– It feels pretty good. It’s cool and refreshing, it’s very comfortable.
– I think this hanfu is really pretty, and I thought it’d be too hot, but it’s not.
They hit the streets to see what kinds of reactions the public will have to 3 models in beautiful hanfu clothing.
– Is this your first time seeing people dressed like this in public?
– No, I’ve seen it a lot.
– No, I’ve worn it.
– How do you feel when you see it?
– I think they must be hot.
– I don’t feel anything special.
– It feels really fresh and new.
– Do you hope knowledge of hanfu will spread to more people? Or does it not really matter to you?
– It depends whether the wearer really likes it, or if they’re just following trends. For example, a lot of people in Hangzhou and Xihu were in the news recently for wearing inaccurate or improper hanfus on TikTok just so they could jump on the bandwagon.
– I don’t think it can revive the hanfu culture. It has no practical use.
– I think it’s possible. First, young people need to think that it’s fun and interesting. They have to really want to wear this attire to promote this culture.
– Well, I feel as though it might help a little bit because if you want dramatic results – to be honest – I don’t think their shoes match their clothing. But if the shoes did match, it would really feel as though they came from the past. Like time travelers! Most importantly, the clothes are close enough. At least they’re China’s signature clothing. It’s good enough.
– What were some reactions that people had when they saw you wearing this in public?
– Actually, it wasn’t bad. I didn’t feel as though anyone stared that much.
– I think the Internet made hanfu really trendy and popular over the last couple of years, so people don’t really react or stare that much.
– Some thought it was interesting, while others didn’t think much of it. Most just took a quick look, but some took photos with their phones. Originally, I thought there’d be a lot of people turning around to look, but actually, it’s already being widely accepted. So people don’t find it to be too odd.
– What would you say to people who want to wear hanfu around but are too shy to do so?
– If you really like hanfu, you can just try it out, like I did. It’s really very comfortable, now that I’ve worn it.
– Just go for it. Take some good photos to look back on when you’re old. And share them on social media. Yes, share them with your friends!
– I think you should let go of your inhibitions and try it out. As long as you like it, there’s no need to worry about others judging you. Nowadays, people are also becoming more accepting.