Special to China Pictorial


Chinese Jackets for APEC


    At the first Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in the U.S. city of Seattle in 1993, the participants were asked not to wear ties: the atmosphere was to be informal. Bill Clinton, then U.S. president, wore jeans. It has since become an unwritten rule that at APEC meetings, the host offers informal attire to the participants.
    In October 2001, the 9th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting was held in Shanghai. People were wondering what the participants would wear this time, and no one knew until the final moment, when Chinese President Jiang Zemin and the other APEC economic leaders appeared wearing traditional Chinese jackets at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.
    China is also known as the Kingdom of Hats and Clothes and the age-old clothing tradition is an important part of the nation's 5,000-year-old civilization. The clothing prepared for the 9th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting was composed of an updated version of the traditional Chinese embroidered silk jacket in royal blue, scarlet, burgundy, olive, or brown and an off-white silk shirt. The jackets had a round collar and were fastened down the front with traditional Chinese knot fasteners instead of buttons. They were embossed with gold or black embroidered round designs of peonies, the national flower of China, and were adapted to modern wear for comfort. They were designed and made by the Shanghai Garment Institute and the Qinyi Clothing Company.
    The APEC meeting in Shanghai has set a new trend in jackets, and traditional-clothing stores are enjoying a brisk business in Shanghai, Beijing, and Nanjing. Many Chinese government officials and foreign friends are going along with this latest fashion and ordering tailor-made traditional Chinese clothes.

Ordering tailor-made traditional Chinese clothes.
APEC sets the fashion: Shanghai residents shopping for traditional Chinese clothes.


Yu Ying, the designer of the traditional Chinese jackets worn at the APEC meeting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush, president of the United States, at the APEC meeting. (courtesy of the Photo Center of the APEC Host Economy)
The Qinyi Clothing Company in Shanghai: Making traditional Chinese jackets for the APEC participants.