Last week, a catwalk show in Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province in Southwest China, showcased the hand-made Miao costumes created by Pan Yuzhen, a 77-year-old embroiderer. The event was part of the 17th Guizhou Tourism Industry Development Conference, which opened on April 6 and featured a fashion show that highlighted local ethnic cultures. The delicate Miao embroidery on display was captured by numerous camera flashes, showcasing the latest collection.
Pan, who belongs to the Miao ethnic group, hails from Taijiang county in the Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture. She learned the art of embroidery from her mother when she was just five years old, as it was a tradition in her ethnic group. Although she never expected it, the folk craft has now found a place on stages at world-famous fashion weeks, and her creations can be seen in households across China as everyday products.
The Miao people are renowned for their embroidery, which is known for its intricacy, beauty, and cultural significance. This type of embroidery is often used to decorate traditional Miao costumes, which are an essential part of their cultural heritage. Pan’s work is particularly impressive, given that she is a septuagenarian who has been practicing the art for more than seven decades.
Pan’s participation in the catwalk show was a testament to the role of elderly artisans in preserving traditional crafts and promoting cultural heritage. In China, where the government has been actively promoting traditional culture, such artisans play a critical role in preserving the country’s intangible cultural heritage. They are an essential link between the past and the future, passing down ancient knowledge and skills to younger generations.
In recent years, there has been growing interest in traditional Chinese culture, particularly in areas such as art, literature, and fashion. This interest has created a market for traditional crafts such as embroidery, which are now finding their way into mainstream fashion and everyday products. This trend has not only helped to preserve traditional crafts but has also provided economic opportunities for artisans like Pan.
The catwalk show was also a platform for promoting Guizhou’s cultural and tourism industries. Guizhou province is known for its stunning natural landscapes, diverse ethnic cultures, and rich history. The government has been actively promoting the province’s tourism industry, which has led to the development of new infrastructure and the creation of new jobs.
The fashion show featuring local ethnic cultures was a unique way of showcasing Guizhou’s cultural heritage, promoting tourism, and supporting traditional crafts. The event received widespread media coverage and generated interest in Guizhou’s cultural and tourism industries.
Pan Yuzhen’s participation in the catwalk show was a significant achievement and a testament to the importance of traditional crafts and cultural heritage. The event also highlighted the growing interest in traditional Chinese culture and the role of artisans in preserving it. Finally, it was a unique way of promoting Guizhou’s cultural and tourism industries and supporting local communities.
Pan Yuzhen, the 77-year-old embroiderer from China’s Miao ethnic group, has gained international recognition for her exceptional embroidery work. She has even traveled to five foreign countries, including the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, where she has showcased her intricate designs.
Pan has found that foreigners have a deep appreciation for Chinese embroideries, often queuing up hundreds of meters long during Christmas just to buy an embroidered notebook or ornament for their families. This highlights the growing global interest in traditional Chinese crafts and cultural heritage.
One individual who has been devoted to promoting China’s embroidery industry for more than three decades is Xia Hua, the chairman of Eve Group, a Chinese clothing brand. Over the past ten years, Xia and her team have been committed to the digitalization of ethnic handicrafts and have established databases on Chinese traditional embroidery patterns and ethnic artisans.
So far, Xia’s company has collected more than 8,000 embroidery patterns and information about more than 22,000 embroiderers, providing a solid foundation for building a digital industrial base for embroidery. This has enabled global designers to find appropriate cooperative partners to design and create relevant products.
The digitalization of embroidery patterns and artisans has allowed for the preservation of traditional Chinese embroidery while also promoting economic development. It has also helped to bridge the gap between traditional crafts and modern design, making it easier for designers to access traditional patterns and create innovative designs.
Through the digitalization of embroidery patterns, Xia and her team have made it easier for designers to create products that incorporate traditional Chinese embroidery. This has allowed the craft to find a place in modern fashion, interior design, and other creative industries.
Furthermore, the preservation of traditional Chinese embroidery has important cultural significance. It allows future generations to appreciate the rich history and cultural heritage of China and ensures that traditional crafts are not lost to time.
Xia’s work is not just focused on the digitalization of embroidery patterns, but also on the promotion of ethnic handicrafts. Her team has organized a series of exhibitions showcasing traditional Chinese embroidery and has collaborated with designers to create innovative products that incorporate traditional patterns.
The promotion of traditional Chinese embroidery has not only helped to preserve cultural heritage but has also created economic opportunities for ethnic artisans. It has enabled embroiderers like Pan to showcase their work on a global stage and has made traditional Chinese embroidery a sought-after product in the global market.
The digitalization of embroidery patterns and the promotion of traditional Chinese crafts have not gone unnoticed by the Chinese government. In recent years, the government has actively promoted traditional Chinese culture, recognizing the important role it plays in promoting cultural exchange and economic development.
In conclusion, Xia Hua’s work in promoting the intangible cultural heritage of China’s embroidery industry has been instrumental in preserving traditional crafts while also promoting economic development. The digitalization of embroidery patterns has made it easier for designers to incorporate traditional Chinese embroidery into modern products, making it more accessible to a global audience. Furthermore, the promotion of traditional Chinese embroidery has allowed ethnic artisans to showcase their work on a global stage and has created economic opportunities for communities across China.
Xia Hua’s company, Eve Group, has been instrumental in promoting the intangible cultural heritage of China’s embroidery industry for over three decades. Over the past ten years, Xia and her team have been devoted to the digitalization of ethnic handicrafts, collecting more than 8,000 embroidery patterns and information on over 22,000 embroiderers, providing a solid foundation for building a digital industrial base for embroidery.
The database of embroidery patterns and embroiderers enables global designers to find appropriate partners to design and create relevant products. Xia’s company has partnered with more than 400 world-renowned brands, including Burberry, and over 1,000 international designers, boosting the development of more than 400 small and medium-sized enterprises in China.
Since 2017, her company has helped over 1,700 embroiderers like Pan to showcase their handicrafts abroad. Xia still vividly remembers the first time she and her embroiderers walked onto London Bridge and into Buckingham Palace, where nearby tourists stopped to enjoy their ethnic costumes and folk song performances.
That day, ethnic minority women, once confined to China’s mountainous areas for generations, became “big stars” and attracted many people who rushed to take pictures with them. The handicrafts of the Chinese embroiderers are well-recognized and loved by tourists both domestically and internationally, giving them rising confidence.
Pan, of the Miao ethnic group, has been to five foreign countries, including the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. “Foreigners love our embroideries. They were even willing to queue hundreds of meters long at Christmas, just to buy an embroidered notebook or ornament for their families,” she said.
Xia’s company has been committed to the digitalization of ethnic handicrafts, providing a new market for traditional embroidery in China. Xia’s efforts have helped promote and preserve the cultural heritage of China’s embroidery industry and have given embroiderers like Pan the opportunity to showcase their skills to the world.
As a result, more small and medium-sized enterprises in China have developed, leading to economic growth and opportunities for ethnic minority communities. Xia’s company continues to collaborate with global designers to create more innovative and culturally significant embroidery products, bringing China’s rich embroidery heritage to the world stage.
few years ago, Pan Yuzhen participated in a bazaar in Wuhan, Central China where she sold her embroidery products worth over 600,000 yuan (approximately $87,255) in a single day. This experience further motivated her to continue promoting and innovating her traditional craft.
By collaborating with global designers and embracing creative innovation, local embroiderers like Pan have successfully integrated their old craft with modern fashion items, including clothing, high heels, bags, and household supplies. Through such efforts, they have launched over 10,000 varieties of products so far.
According to Xia Hua, chairman of Eve Group, such collaborations and innovations have laid a solid foundation for building a digital industrial base for embroidery. Her company has been committed to the digitalization of ethnic handicrafts and has established databases on Chinese traditional embroidery patterns and ethnic artisans.
By providing access to embroidery patterns and embroiderers, global designers can find appropriate cooperative partners to design and create relevant products, said Xia. Her company has teamed up with more than 400 world-renowned brands, including Burberry, and over 1,000 international designers, boosting the development of more than 400 small and medium-sized enterprises in China.
Through these efforts, the traditional handicrafts of China’s ethnic minorities have gained recognition and popularity among tourists at home and abroad, which has given the artisans rising confidence. Xia believes that by combining standardized product models with traditional crafts, they can roll out modern and fashionable products that will bring “China chic” from deep in the mountains to the global stage.