Stitching across time: heritage and history in contemporary Hong Kong

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Popular media celebrates the iconic Hong Kong dress - the cheongsam; yet, its existence is threatened as Hong Kong's population of master tailors is rapidly dwindling. Hong Kong's fashion identity is closely intertwined with the changing patterns of the global fashion industry. Hong Kong once buzzed with factories supplying the world's wardrobes, but recent developments resulted in the loss of its manufacturing base, and as fashions changed the once ubiquitous cheongsam was consigned to fashion history. With the recent focus on heritage and slow fashion, making has become a key component in fashion marketing. Companies in the United Kingdom and United States are reviving old brands and launching new ones, using abandoned industrial equipment and reinvigorating local economies. This increased focus on country of origin, artisanship and sustainability also offers opportunities for Hong Kong to reposition itself, and this article surveys the contemporary fashion landscape in order to inform a debate on cultural heritage in fashion and its marketing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-255
JournalClothing Cultures
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015


  • Hong Kong
  • cheongsam
  • tailoring
  • fashion marketing
  • intangible cultural heritage
  • city branding
  • country of origin


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