Fashion Week | Focus on Sino-Africa Innovative Fashion Show

Publisher:徐晓冬Release time:2018-04-08Browse the number:10

On May 22, the China-Africa Cultural Exchange Creative Fashion Show was held during the Greater Donghua Fashion Week. Liu Chunhong, Vice President of Donghua University (DHU), Fan Jintu, Head of the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design of Cornell University and Director of Shanghai International Fashion Innovation Center, Simiyu Sitati, Dean of School of Engineering at Moi University, Timothy Sulo, Dean of School of Agriculture at Moi UniversityPhillip Chemwok, Council of Agricultureat Moi University, Yuan Menghong, PartySecretary of Fashion • Art Design Institute and Zhao Mingwei, Vice Director of International Cooperation Office participated in the show.

Tracing Sino-African Traditional Culture

“My work is primarily inspired by African primitive tribal elements and Chinese mythological images.For instance, I’ve studied African totems and read ancient Chinese works including Shan Hai Jing, Strange Stories from A Chinese Studio and Soushen Ji for reference, aiming to demonstrate the similarities and differences between traditional Chinese and African cultures.” Students Huang Yu and Zhang Rong from the Fashion • Art Design Institute shared their creative thoughts with regard to their serial works Guaitan(tales of the strange and mysterious).

The whole show reflects an interpretation of Africa from the perspective of Chinese teachers and students through fashion design. Indeed, traditional Chinese and African cultural elements serve as the creative inspiration for the exhibited over 70 works of 12 groups, ranging from Africa’s natural scenery, national totems, daily customs to the traditional Chinese patterns, historical books and drama. For example, the work Ndebeleextracts the characteristic patterns, natural and artistic elements of Ndebele and displays a unique contemporary style in the collision between African cultural symbols and China’s stylish fret elements. Besides, the work Sacrifice features the integration of dots, lines and planes of African carving tattoos with Chinese Peking Opera elements, the order and disorder of which is manifested by tapestry satin fabrics.

China-Africa Exchanges Rely on Mutual Learning

This show is the report performance of Cross-Major Creative Practice, the pilot course of teaching reform in the Fashion • Art Design Institute intended to integrate related majors to take advantage of respective strengths while expanding professional knowledge.

Its also a follow-up activity of “Maritime Silk Road in Africa: Kenya Textile Art Exhibition” co-sponsored by DHU and Moi University last year, the purpose of which, according to the Confucius Institute of Moi University, was to make fashion culture work positively in the communication between the two peoples based on mutual learning through curriculum cooperation. To this, teachers Luo Jingjie and Ni Ming from the Fashion • Art Design Institute went to the Confucius Institute for seminars and investigational studies. After returning, they led students to integrate African elements into the phrases including research, proposals, fabric design and re-making, costume design, pattern making and garment making, resulting in such a fashion show characterized by collision between African regional characteristics and Oriental elements as well as deconstruction and integration of traditional symbolization and contemporary trends.

Distinct CharacteristicsAssist B&R

In recent years, DHU has been engaged in international educational cooperation with both overseas and domestic universities and institutions to comply with national development strategies by virtue of strengths in characteristic disciplines such as textiles, fashion and materials, playing a positive role in promoting mutual understanding between peoples, national exchanges, industrial development and capacity cooperation under the Belt and Road(B&R)initiative.

Kenya is the destination of Maritime Silk Road in Africa. Owing to the “20+20 Cooperation Plan for Chinese and African Institutions of Higher Education,” DHU and Kenyas Moi University co-founded the world’s first Confucius Institute characterized by textile and costume education in 2015. In 2016, DHU and Moi University jointly hosted the Sino-Africa International Symposium on Textiles and Apparel and Sino-African Cultural Exchange Forum. The first “B&R” Advanced Seminars for Textile Industry International Cooperation in Production Capacity was held in DHU this March. In addition, the Studio of Creative and Cultural Exchange andResearch of Cities along the B&R Routes was unveiled in the base of DHU in 2016.

According to Vice President Liu Chunhong, costume culture itself is botha language and a symbol. This event enables Chinese and African peoples to strengthen the understanding of each other's culture and undertake the responsibility of cultural inheritance. It is said that Luo Jingjie and Ni Ming will take these works to the Confucius Institute for exhibition and exchanges, hoping to present the unique charm of costume culture, rendering costume to be the widely accepted “language” of the two peoples.