China's Yi embroidery shines at New York Fashion Week

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Yi embroidery, one of China's intangible cultural heritages, made a stunning appearance Wednesday at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), as Chinese designer Wang Tao brought the technique dating back thousands of years together with new urban fashion on the catwalk.

Models present creations from Taoray Taoray Spring/Summer 2020 collection during the New York Fashion Week in New York, the United States, on Sept. 11, 2019. (Xinhua/Qin Lang)

Some 40 looks were presented at the show, in which casual wear such as denim jackets were embroidered with traditional floral patterns in Yi embroidery and embellished with silver fish-chain trim.

"Most of the people buy Yi embroidery as souvenirs. We want to break the stereotype that traditional embroidery could not be fashionable," said Wang on the sidelines his runway show.

In the Spring/Summer 2020 collection, the youth line of Taoray Wang, the designer's namesake brand, incorporated exquisite patterns and bright colors typical of Yi embroidery into people's daily wear such as T-shirts and hoodies.

The collection was part of the effort to lift residents of Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China's Yunnan Province.

In Chuxiong, there are over 70,000 women doing embroidery. The industry is now worth over 100 million yuan (about 14.11 million U.S. dollars), according to Xu Xiaomei, head of the prefecture's publicity department.

Xu said Yi embroidery's appearance at NYFW was a successful attempt to promote the intangible cultural heritage on the world stage, adding as more people home and abroad learn to appreciate the aesthetic of the technique, the industry will grow at a faster pace and Chuxiong's female embroiders could live a more decent life.

Held in February and September, the semi-annual NYFW is one of the four major fashion weeks -- along with Paris, London and Milan Fashion Weeks -- in the world, collectively known as the "Big Four."

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