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Shanghai photo exhibition chronicles Chinese clothing

Reporter: Yuan Chenyue 丨 CCTV.com

04-28-2016 01:00 BJT

A photo exhibition at the Shanghai Museum of Textile and Costumes shows how fashions have changed over the past several decades.

The exhibition features 200 pictures taken by amateur photographers from 1949 to the present. It shows what Chinese people wore to school or work. It also shows wedding and leisure attire. Some visitors say they were startled by the changes over the years.

“Clothing since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China has changed so much over the years. When I saw these pictures, I felt like I was experiencing these moments. The pictures are close to life, like the photos in my home. The wedding photos of my parents are also black-and-white,” said Zhu Chen.

“When you see some pictures from your parents or grandparents, sometimes you laugh because their clothes are completely different, but sometimes you also see fashions come back. Maybe my mother had worn it,” said Eneis Castel.

Organizers of the show say they selected the photos from 3,000 pictures taken by people in about 30 cities across China. They say over the years, clothing has become more colorful and that styles are catching up with the pace of global fashion. Organizers also explained why they did not choose pictures from professional photographers.

“The pictures can show the exact situation in life. This is what we hope to portray. Many of the pictures have stories behind them. For instance, a designer offered a wedding photo of his grandmother. The gesture was very unique as most of the wedding photos at that time were half-length portraits. So it shows a spirit of challenging traditions back then,” said Ma Wenjuan from Donghua University Press Co.

Organizers say they plan to publish a book based on the photos. They also plan to compare photos of Chinese residents with those in neighboring countries. They say the photos offer something for fashion designers to study and show societal changes through the decades. The exhibition runs through June 11 and admission is free.

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