K-Pop girl band (G)I-dle’s cheongsam inspired outfits spark criticism from Chinese netizens
Published: Feb 03, 2021 10:32 PM

Photo: Weibo

 Clothing worn by K-pop girl band (G)I-dle has recently become a hot topic on several Chinese social media platforms such as Sina Weibo and Douban as netizens have noticed they incorporate obvious elements from China’s cheongsam, but not in an “elegant way”. 

Three separate outfits drew Chinese netizens’ attention. The first one uses white and red as its main colors. The six members each wear their own varied style such as a white shirt with red mini shorts or a red off-the-shoulder top with a white skirt. 

Netizens noticed that the red fabric looks very similar to Chinese jin duan, a type of rare silk commonly used in making the traditional Chinese cheongsam. Similar to the first outfit, the second and third outfits also use this fabric in its design, while being decorated with pankou, a distinctive type of knotted button that is considered the soul of the cheongsam. 

“They look like neither fish nor fowl,” said a netizen on China’s popular media review site Douban to describe the outfits. 

“They look so cheap,” said another. 

“The fabric is like silk, but is not silk. Well-made Chinese silk has a kind of soft shine especially as the wearer moves, it is rather subtle. The design [of the band’s clothing] exposes too much. They are not elegant enough. Traditional Chinese cheongsam shows a woman’s sexiness, but it comes from a good tailoring job, using the fabric to portray the curves of their bodies,” Zhu, a Chinese fashion researcher in Paris, who specializes in oriental women ’s wear, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

“It is too revealing in this case, which can lead it to look vulgar.” 

While some focused on what they considered the cheap look of outfits, others said that they led to them having an “epiphany” about the uniqueness of the cheongsam.

“Pankou is so special; you can still associate it with the cheongsam even when it is on some other clothes,” said a netizen on Sina Weibo. 

“I use a lot of classic [cheongsam] elements in my own designs as well, but I add them to modern designs to create a playful feeling. Like my designed sweater; one side is plain white wool and the another side is complex looking cheongsam patterned silk fabric,” Zhang, a Chinese designer and tailor who specializes in women’s wear, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 
“My opinion about the K-pop band’s outfits, I think they are great. I’m definitely a supporter of creative derivations of classic Chinese clothing. But the quality though, the design is lame and they won’t be comfortable wearing it too, judging by how it looks.”