The closest I'll get to China is Chinatown in San Francisco. While the boba is tasty and the fortune cookies are crisp, the traditional clothing is something one does not have the opportunity to see on a regular Thursday. One specific shop had the most intricate pieces of traditional clothing. Upon further research and questions to the tailor in the shop, I learned that the piece to the left, for women, is a Chenogsam. Such a top originated from Manchu women in the Qing Dynasty. The form fitting structure is a western design. However, the straight collar and coiled buttons show the traditional Chinese style carried for centuries. The top I was able to see had been worth a good portion of anyone's wallet, and rightly so. Now the piece on the right is a Chinese suit, usually for men. This was worn by Manchu men from the Qing Dynasty as well. The design is quite traditional albeit the tailoring being clearly western. In this specific suit, the collar is straight and the coiled buttons reach all the way to the bottom of the garment. The pattern was apparently copied after flowers during the nighttime. Both of the pieces were made of heavy silk.
It's no doubt that both tops are extremely beautiful on their own; I can only imagine what a complete traditional Chinese outfit would looks like. While I did not get a good picture of any of the kimonos, I realized that westerners imitated the style of the silk robes in cotton and started to sell them in more modern patterns. I can see how some would be angered by the thought of others snatching their traditional fashion and generalizing them. However, I think it's fascinating how two cultures can borrow each other's styles and modify already amazing pieces. I do hope us western people keep some things from China they way they should be, like oriental flavored ramen.
If you look at the style of gals like Simran Randhawa(@simisear_,) it's evident that there's a definite blending of culture. Being an Indian girl surrounded by only one or two other cultures, it's easy to lose the roots of oneself. Indian clothes, in conjunction with western clothing, gives a sense of identity. While both cultures contain exquisite pieces that should be left alone, blending the two was something that I had never thought of. In such a situation, Simran is a big inspiration to many people with more than one character. It's admirable to casually mix two identities and form one. As a child, I would get embarrassed walking out of the house with my mother wearing a little bindi. Now I realize that there's a concept of identity mixed in with what one wears. I finally understand that my mother was only trying to keep her culture alive in simple ways. Being completed fascinated by the idea of Indo-American style, I tried a bit of blending myself. While it's not a normal fixture in everyday life, it's empowering to wear both of my identities at once and being confident while doing so.
I think everyone is well aware that there's a lot of people in this world that don't wear shorts and a tee everyday. Most cultures have their own ethnic way of dressing with pieces they have created. However it doesn't stop there, cultures have started to blend their most known styles. Us westerners didn't invent the kimono, nor did we just adopt the concept of unnaturally long tops. The blend of trends and concrete styles that have stayed throughout generations are captivating to anyone, even if fashion isn't their groove. While living in a minimally diverse region, documenting fashion from the world would naturally be a challenge; however "no pain, no gain".