Man Fashion designers are remodeling the traditional Mao suit in the hope that it will once again become a popular item of clothing.
The gray "Zhongshan", or Mao suit, that President Hu Jintao wore when he stood on the rostrum in Tian'anmen Square for the 60th anniversary celebration of New China, caused a stir both at home and abroad. It had a Western-style slim cut, but all the suit's characteristic elements, including pockets, buttons and color.
Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), first president of the Republic of China, introduced the Zhongshan suit.
It dominated local menswear for six decades - from 1920 to 1980 - during which time Western media portrayed China as a "gray society" as all the men wore them and looked the same. Chairman Mao Zedong popularized it and this is why it is known in the West as the "Mao suit".
When President Hu wore his Mao suit it signaled its rejuvenation and designers busied themselves creating new patterns for the new millennium. The modern Mao suit is an expression of one's personality.
According to Liu Yuanfeng, dean of Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT), Mao suit firstly made an appearance when Western culture was brought into China in 1920. The Mao suit was a fusion of fashion and culture. It had the outline of a Western suit, but had Chinese elements.
There are redesigned Mao suits on the market now that have a casual look. Kevin Kelly, Eve and Notting Hill are three menswear brands that have produced new styles that are currently only available in Beijing and Shanghai.
The modern Mao suit has shiny copper buttons instead of gray plastic ones, and is slim-cut. The four pockets have been cut out. The suits are made from synthetic fibers and silk rather than just cotton. It can also be embroidered and accessorized with scarves, leather bags and boots.
With mixture of Chinese and Western culture, would you believe, Mao suits, inheriting both, will become popular again?