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Overseas returnee spends two years designing costumes of China’s 56 ethnic groups

(People's Daily Online)    16:16, March 09, 2021

Zhong Yetang, a post-95s girl from east China's Zhejiang province, has made exquisite costumes of the country's 56 ethnic groups and displayed them in a video she made herself to showcase the charm of Chinese clothing culture to more people.

Photo shows Zhong Yetang in traditional Chinese costume. (Photo/

It took Zhong two years to design and create the stunning attire of China’s ethnic groups after she returned to the country from the U.S., where she got her bachelor's degree at the University of California, Berkeley and her master's degree at the Johns Hopkins University.

To make the ethnic costumes more authentic, Zhong not only referred to historical documents on each ethnic group, but also sought advice on dress-making craftsmanship from intangible cultural heritage inheritors, as some traditional cloth-making techniques and fabrics are China’s intangible cultural heritage items.

After designing the clothes, she entrusted the job of producing them to a local garment factory. The last item was completed in mid-January this year.

Photo shows Zhong Yetang in a video clip about Chinese food culture. (Photo/

Zhong was most impressed by the difficulty involved in making fish skin clothes of the Hezhe people, one of the smallest ethnic minority groups in China.

"After peeling the fish skin off, Hezhe people used to dye it with different colors using a special processing technique," said Zhong. However, she eventually employed alternative fabrics to make Hezhe clothes, as fish skin is gradually being replaced by silk and cloth and there aren’t many people left who know how to make clothes with fish skin.

Photo shows Zhong's graduation photo. (Photo/

"I didn't expect that it would be so time-consuming and so difficult," said the young woman, who came up with the idea of filming the collection of the 56 ethnic groups’ gorgeous costumes in early 2019.

Zhong said that while studying abroad, she found that her foreign classmates were very interested in Chinese culture, such as the twelve Chinese zodiac signs, and asked her what Chinese zodiac signs corresponded with the year they were born.

This experience motivated her to design ethnic Chinese costumes and spread traditional Chinese culture through videos. "I want to fully explore traditional Chinese culture with my limited capacity in order to let more and more people better understand Chinese traditional culture and China," Zhong said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)

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