On October 26th, A NIU A GA, a representative of Yi people’s costume inheritance and innovation, an inheritor of Yi embroidery intangible cultural heritage, and an original independent designer from Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, presented a gorgeous performance with her personal work “WHITE CLOUDS” in Beijing Hotel’s Banquet Hall.
There are 33 sets of costumes in the “WHITE CLOUDS” series, which are inspired by the rolling hills in the living environment and the millennial wool products of Yi people – “Ca Er Wa”, a transliteration of Yi nationality’s language, meaning “a shawl made of wool felt” which is a traditional costume of the Yi people. During the day, “Ca Er Wa” is a shawl, and in the evening, it is a quilt against the cold, and it is a must-have item for the lives of the Yi nationality. The series is based on “Ca Er Wa”, which is to integrate the most common ethnic elements in the local into modern clothing.
The whole work is mainly white, and the fabrics are all made of Yi Nationality Wool Textiles and Rolling Techniques — national intangible cultural heritage. Designers made perfect combination of the elements popular in the traditional costumes of the Yi people, such as tassels, Indigo dyeing, silver, and the popular international fashion elements, such as accordion pleats, asymmetrical design and wide shoulders. The straight-type draped coat placket is decorated with the classic horn pattern of the Yi nationality, with a high-necked solid color sweater inside; the sling dress made of pleated felt is simple and elegant; the wide-leg hem is dotted with a hollow pattern, and the tough jacket is matched with the tower-shaped gradient dress... After the designer’s transformation, “Ca Er Wa” has become a fashion item that adapts to the trend of change, and it also shows the great potential of ethnic fashion.
The design of the accessories in this release is also a highlight. The accessories used in the works are mainly traditional Yi silver ornaments. The Yi people’s silver ornaments are exquisite in workmanship and excellent in craftsmanship. There are more than 20 processes, forming a complete set of processes such as casting, blowing, knitting, washing, carving, inlaying and hanging. This set of handicrafts has been included in the list of national intangible cultural heritages. In the creation of this series of works, A NIU A GA broke the pattern combination and wearing method inherent in the Yi silver jewelry, and tried to present new communication and interaction between silverware, clothing and people.
A NIU A GA said in an exclusive interview at the press conference that the work released this time is to use the powerful platform of China Fashion Week to uncover the mystery of national culture and art. National costumes are not old objects that can only be shelved.
“What we saw today can be seen everywhere in the lives of the Yi people. As an ethnical independent designer, I have the responsibility and mission to let the world appreciate the wisdom of Chinese national culture and feel that national art has not fallen behind in the fashion trend.”
In fact, A NIU A GA has been making efforts in this aspect, and is committed to tapping the traditional culture of the Yi nationality to build a “bridge” for communication of the essence of national culture, commercial market and community development. Since 2004, she has conducted in-depth research and meticulous research on Yi costumes. In 2013, she established Liangshan Nuosu Culture Investment Co., Ltd.; in 2014, together with with Liangshan Prefecture Agricultural School, she established the “National Weaving Embroidery” major, the first major focusing on Yi embroidery in China, which has trained a large number of hand-embroidered professional talents. Moreover, she has successively established a number of intangible cultural heritage protection and inheritance bases.
All of this not only allows more consumers to understand the traditional handicrafts and traditional culture of the Chinese Yi nationality, but more importantly, it allows more local Yi women to take the initiative to transform traditional skills into modern fashion, which helps them get rid of poverty, and truly inherits and protects traditional handicrafts.
“WHITE CLOUDS” is a new chapter. A NIU A GA will continue to write about the life gifts that mountains and sheep have endowed to the Yi people, adding the most powerful national fashion color to Chinese fashion.