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ITC contributes to legacy of the cheongsam

Mr Chi-wo Ng, Curator of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office

Prof. Jintu Fan, Head and Chair Professor of ITC

Dr Brenda Li, advisor of the Hong Kong Cheongsam Association

Dr Brenda Li with Mr Chi-Wo Ng and Prof Jintu Fan in cheongsam and ma-kwa

(from left): Prof. Jintu Fan; Ms Vicky Sung, Vice Chairman of Hong Kong General Chamber of Textiles; and Mr Chi-wo Ng

The “Hong Kong Cheongsam Making Technique” was added to the “National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage” in June 2021. As the leading fashion institute in Hong Kong, the Institute of Textiles and Clothing (ITC) responded to this honour by organising the first ever cheongsam seminar called “Deconstructing Male and Female Cheongsam: Aesthetics and Craftsmanship” after the monumental inscription.

The seminar was held on 25 June 2021 in a hybrid format with in-person attendance at PolyU and delivered simultaneously online as a webinar. Nearly one hundred participants attended the event. The seminar was a gathering of likeminded parties who are passionate about preserving the legacy of the cheongsam, including the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office (ICHO), Hong Kong Cheongsam Association (HKCA), South China Research Centre (SCRC), Cheongsam Connect (CC), Shanghai Tailoring Worker General Union, veteran cheongsam masters, fashion designers, researchers, academics, and students from fellow fashion institutes. They had the opportunity to network and share knowledge on the conservation of this textile art.

Dr Brenda Li, advisor of the HKCA, gave an informative and inspiring lecture on “Deconstructing Male and Female Cheongsam: Aesthetics and Craftsmanship”. She deliberated on the history, development, aesthetics, authentic forms, and wisdom of the craftsmanship of the cheongsam for both men and women. Dr Li specifically addressed the risk of extinction of tailoring techniques of authentic men’s cheongsam and the urgency to train and cultivate successors to carry on the tradition.

ITC has been at the forefront of research work, projects, and teaching not only in fashion design, technology, and business, but also in fashion culture and traditional craftsmanship. The Hong Kong Cheongsam is one of the areas that the department has been supporting and contributing to its legacy. Since 2011, ITC has been cooperating with the Hong Kong Museum of History, researchers of fellow universities and institutes, and the ICHO in a variety of cheongsam related projects. In 2021, ITC joined the HKCA as an institutional member and proactively contributes to efforts in preserving the cheongsam. With the aim to connect different entities, the Deconstructing Male and Female Cheongsam: Aesthetics and Craftsmanship seminar took the lead in initiating a comprehensive network among cheongsam enthusiasts and related authorities, which marks the start of ITC in advocating for and supporting this national cultural heritage legacy.

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