China Daily European Weekly - - BIG PICTURE - - ZHANG LEI

Re­form and open­ing-up has made peo­ple bolder when it comes to their sar­to­rial choices

This year marks the 40th an­niver­sary of the re­form and open­ing-up process. From 1978 to 2018, China has wit­nessed many changes and ex­pe­ri­enced great suc­cess across gen­er­a­tions.

Cloth­ing is like the ex­ter­nal skin of hu­man be­ings, and it is also the most in­tu­itive vis­ual ex­pe­ri­ence. So, dress of­ten di­rectly re­flects the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic con­di­tions and cul­ture.

Be­fore re­form and open­ing-up, blue, black, gray and green were the “main melody” of Chi­nese clothes.

But on March 19, 1979, iconic French fash­ion de­signer Pierre Cardin held a fash­ion show at the Bei­jing Na­tional Cul­ture Palace, which opened the eyes of the Chi­nese peo­ple to dif­fer­ent man­ners of dress.

Soon, the 1970’s green uni­forms, tu­nic suits and over­alls were re­placed by flared pants, body­build­ing pants and bat shirts. In the 1990s, in­ter­na­tional cloth­ing brands be­gan to en­ter China, and peo­ple got bolder in their choices.

Now, this year’s pop­u­lar styles may be out­dated in just a year.

And in the new cen­tury, dress has grad­u­ally be­come a way for peo­ple to ex­press them­selves. The dress­ing men­tal­ity of “as long as I like it, there is noth­ing wrong with it” is be­ing ac­cepted by more peo­ple.

In the past, many were afraid to dress dif­fer­ently from oth­ers. Later, peo­ple was afraid to dress like oth­ers.

Cur­rent so­ci­ety is more tol­er­ant, and peo­ple are show­ing more in­di­vid­u­al­ity.

Cloth­ing is the weather vane of cul­ture, and the his­tory of Chi­nese cloth­ing is the his­tory of Chi­nese cul­ture.

There were not many choices in dress in past decades. But nowa­days, all kinds of cos­tumes flash be­fore our eyes. And they can be se­lected on­line with­out leav­ing the house.

The change in cloth­ing styles in the past 40 years of re­form and open­ing-up vividly demon­strates the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the times.

Al­though there are dif­fer­ent fash­ions in vogue at dif­fer­ent stages, a con­stant is the pur­suit of beauty. Re­form and open­ing-up opened up a win­dow that al­lows Chi­nese to in­te­grate with the world, not only with re­gard to cloth­ing but also in the deep-seated pur­suit of beauty and self­ex­pres­sion.

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