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Growing up in Hong Kong with my grandfather, who was a tailor specialising in suit-making for Chinese men, I witnessed my grandfather’s labour of tailoring suits for his Chinese clients every day in my childhood. I took it for granted that Chinese men were clad in western suits all along. However, one day when my grandfather showed me some of his old photographs where he and his friends were clad in long robes in the 1930s, I realised that this was a misunderstanding. I began to wonder when and why the Chinese gave up their ‘traditional’ clothing and opted for western fashion. I brought this question along with me to university, aiming to answer why such cultural changes emerged in twentieth-century China. My personal background has motivated me to explore Sino-Western cultural encounters and sparked my interests in working towards deciphering the meaning and value of the western elements in Chinese culture in the process of historical construction.
My PhD, in particular, focuses on Sino-western cultural interactions and cultural modernity in China’s port cities with an emphasis on western suits in colonial Hong Kong as a case study. The study pertains to Chinese acceptance of and resistance to western suit culture between the 1910s and the 1970s, highlighting the ambiguous attitudes (eager yet hesitant) of the Chinese communities in engaging with western clothing culture. I would love to have a chat and even some academic collaboration with you if you are also interested in the history of Chinese culture.
Activities per year