Across China: Gen Z injects new life into traditional Tibetan costumes

Photo taken on March 2, 2022 shows traditional Tibetan costumes in a gallery run by Tobjor Drolma's company in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northwest China's Gansu Province. (Xinhua/Du Zheyu)

Yangkyi Zhoima often shares her outfits, which combine traditional Tibetan clothing with casual wear, with her 4,000-plus followers on the Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo.

"I love the traditional elements of Tibetan costumes, and also leisure wear which is very convenient," the 23-year-old said, displaying on camera her Tibetan clothing embroidered with green thread, styled with a pair of jeans and boots.

For young generations today, traditional Tibetan costumes are no longer simply festival dress, but a new fashion trend.

Yangkyi Zhoima is from the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gannan in northwest China's Gansu Province. There, newly established Tibetan costume brands have mushroomed in number and gained popularity among young people.

Gannan Nuri Original Clothing Sales Co., Ltd, which was established by four Tibetan women born after 1995, is one of the most influential companies. Its accounts on the short-video platform Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, have about 50,000 followers.

Chimchim, 25, is one of the brand's founders. She said their products have not only been selling like hot cakes in their prefecture, but have also gained popularity in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, and in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province.

"Traditional Tibetan costumes are very particular when it comes to color matching and workmanship, which provides continuous inspiration for my design work," Chimchim said. The company's highest daily turnover was 20,000 yuan (about 3,136 U.S. dollars).

Chimchim said her clothes are made using traditional Tibetan costume materials such as cashmere and leather, but the designs are more fashionable and personalized. "The price of each piece of clothing does not exceed 500 yuan, which is good for young consumers."

Tobjor Drolma, 38, has been promoting traditional Tibetan costumes and culture for many years.

"My company has seen an increasing number of designers and models born after 1995 in recent years," she said. And each year, the company holds themed fashion shows, which have become important platforms on which Tibetan costumes and culture are popularized.

In the eyes of Tobjor Drolma, Gen Z has a passion for tradition, and for fashion as well.

"They dress according to their own wishes, they make tradition more fashionable, and they're turning the Qinghai-Tibet plateau into a fashion highland," she said.

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