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Aug 23, 2022

The rise of a new Chinese style

When it comes to Chinese style, what kind of impression and image will pop into your mind? Of course, it’s all about the dragon and the phoenix, motifs with a strong sense of nationality, high contrast colours such as red and gold, and Cheongsams, embroideries, buckles and tassels.

From left to right, three looks by Hesheme and two outfits designed by Cothurnus

International brands have always drawn inspiration and design elements from traditional Chinese styles: some references are the iconic Chinese totem, the Huabiao, the representative silhouette of the Cheongsam and mythological creatures such as the Fènghuáng. Perhaps these elements once represented China’s traditional style, but not today.

Various details from Chinese style looks

Over the past two years, with the Chinese government’s promotion of Chinese culture, the fashion industry has also been influenced by this, setting a national trend. The embodiment of Chinese style in the fashion industry is no longer a stereotype of the country’s traditions from the outside world, and the public’s acceptance of Chinese elements is also increasing.

Chinese millennials’ aesthetic is a harmonious blend of urban style, casual wear, exquisite details, modern accessories, and traditional elements. Because of this contemporary take on it, we call it the new Chinese style.

Two complete styled looks

The new Chinese style softens the sense of traditional Chinese solemnity and makes it more casual. The elements have not changed, just how they are translated into fashion. Personally, I think the keywords of the new Chinese style are “modern”, “practical”, and “urban street style”.

The new Chinese style trend is divided overall into two small branches. People in the 18-28 age bracket prefer a young, flamboyant style. They opt for unique details, tailoring elements or even Chinese-style fabrics, such as the mandarin collar, cheongsam button placket, buckle, jacquard, embroidery and other materials. Still, everything comes together in a more geometric, cleaner, modern taste. There is also an interesting “sense of conflict” in accessories made of modern materials.

Mia Han Ccollection 2022

Women over the age of 28 prefer a low-profile style, more or less similar to that of Uma Wang, but do not have a strong sense of nationalism in the literary sense. Their clothes are mainly made of cotton, linen, satin and jacquard fabrics, most of them in the same colour. They can go to work or attend events wearing the same garments.

圆缺 ingko

The new Chinese style is still anti-mainstream, but we will see how it will evolve in the future, whether it will gradually attract more people or remain a niche.



Jialu He
Undergraduate Fashion Design tutor, Shenzhen