Why are there more and more girls wearing Hanfu horse-face skirts

Why are there more and more girls wearing Hanfu horse-face skirts

The horse-faced skirt can be called “the first skirt in spring”.

Previously, #400 college students returned to Caoxian town to sell horse-faced skirts# became a hot search topic. As one of China's major Hanfu production bases, Cao County in Heze City, Shandong Province, has ushered in a "tremendous wealth" with the popularity of horse-faced skirts this year.

According to reports, starting from the year before, as of February this year, the sales of the Year of the Dragon New Year greeting clothes mainly produced in Caoxian County have exceeded 300 million yuan. A Hanfu horse-faced skirt merchant in Cao County said that offline sales increased dozens of times during the Chinese New Year, and a single online live broadcast account could also have an average daily sales of 200,000.

After the Spring Festival, the popularity of horse-faced skirts has not diminished, and it has become a fashionable item for many people’s daily shopping and commuting.

Why are there more and more girls wearing Hanfu horse-face skirts - Image 1

Picture source: Tu Chong Creative

So, how did the horse-face skirt become so popular? Why is the horse-faced skirt “out of the circle” among so many styles of Hanfu? How did Caoxian County catch this "vast wealth"?

The particularity of horse-faced skirt

First of all, we need to make it clear that the Hanfu we usually talk about does not refer to the clothing of the Han Dynasty, but the national clothing of the Han people, paying more attention to the national attribute of "Han people". For example, the cheongsam evolved from the Manchu robe. Although it belongs to traditional Chinese clothing, it does not belong to Hanfu.

The horse-faced skirt we are talking about is a type of Hanfu. It usually refers to a skirt with pleats on both sides, four skirt doors at the front, inside and outside, overlapping in pairs, with a skirt waist and a lace-up skirt.

Why are there more and more girls wearing Hanfu horse-face skirts - Image 2

Basic structure diagram of horse-faced skirt|Source: Reference [1]

Because the inner and outer skirt doors are not sewn together and are easily exposed, you need to add a pair of trousers or petticoat inside when wearing a horse skirt.

This kind of structure with front and rear slits can be traced back to the spiral skirts of the Song Dynasty. The spiral skirt is a kind of "crotch-open skirt" designed to make it easier for women to ride donkeys in the Song Dynasty. Its skirt pieces can be separated, and when closed, it presents a rectangular structure with a flat surface. Later, the spiral skirt was integrated with the pleated skirt, and pleats were added on both sides of the skirt to increase the movement space of the skirt and establish the basic structure of the horse-faced skirt.

As for why the horse-faced skirt is called "horse-faced", the academic community has not yet reached a definite conclusion. In fact, the term "horse-faced skirt" only appeared in works after modern times. There are only words such as "horse-faced" and "horse-faced pleats" in ancient books and documents, but there is no clear definition of the term.

At present, the most widely accepted theory is that Ma Mian Tong fake "Ma Mian" refers to the piers used for military defense in ancient times. The pier is tall and protruding, with undulating defensive walls on both sides that resemble skirt pleats. The rectangular facade of the pier is similar to the smooth surface formed by the skirt door in the middle. In other words, the horse-faced skirt is still a "code-faced skirt".

In addition, most of the popular horse-face skirts on the market are one-piece, and some are two-piece. In fact, horse-faced skirts from the Ming Dynasty and even the early Qing Dynasty were almost all one-piece, two-parted waist-sharing horse-faced skirts, that is, sharing a waist, with the left and right skirts overlapped in front of the body to form a "front horseface". Until the late Qing Dynasty, the two pieces were sewn into one piece, but the skirt door structure was still retained.

The horse-faced skirts worn by everyone now are mainly based on the styles of the Ming Dynasty.

The shape of the horse-faced skirt in the Ming Dynasty and the horse-faced skirt in the Qing Dynasty did not change much. The difference lies in the pleat style, pattern production and color.

In terms of the style of pleats, the horse-faced skirts of the Ming Dynasty folded rectangular fabrics into pleats. The pleats on the sides of the skirts were large and living pleats (pleats that could expand under the action of external force); while the horse-faced skirts of the Qing Dynasty were made of triangles or trapezoids. The fabrics are directly spliced ​​into a skirt and decorated with thin strips of ribbon (襕干). The pleats at this time are fixed dead pleats.

Why are there more and more girls wearing Hanfu horse-face skirts - Image 3

The picture above shows a horse-faced skirt from the Ming Dynasty, and the picture below shows a horse-faced skirt from the Qing Dynasty|Source: Reference [2]

In terms of patterns and colors, horse-faced skirts in the Ming Dynasty were made of brocade with patterns woven into them, while horse-faced skirts in the Qing Dynasty were usually patchworked with various solid-color satins and then embroidered with different patterns, and most All concentrated on the skirt below the knee.

The horse-faced skirts of the Ming Dynasty were simple in style, with elegant colors and simple patterns, making them look calm and elegant when walking; while the horse-faced skirts of the Qing Dynasty pursued complex pattern designs and rich and bright color combinations, and also paid attention to the decoration of the skirt doors and skirt sides, and every detail The pleats or quills may be decorated with exquisite patterns, making them look gorgeous and rich.

All in all, the horse-faced skirts of the Ming Dynasty were relatively less cumbersome and exaggerated. After improvement, they may be more in line with the aesthetics and needs of modern people.

How did the horse-faced skirt become so popular?

When it comes to horse-faced skirts, many people's first reaction must be the incident in July 2022 when Dior's new product was suspected of plagiarizing horse-faced skirts, which made many people begin to learn about horse-faced skirts.

In November of the same year, actor Xu Jiao wore a horse-faced dress and walked on the red carpet at the closing ceremony of the Golden Rooster Awards, sparking heated discussions again. In 2023, Xu Jiao appeared in the circle wearing a horse-faced skirt many times. Her classical and fashionable outfits attracted attention.

Why are there more and more girls wearing Hanfu horse-face skirts - Image 4

Source: Weibo

Later, Fujian Quanzhou hairpins became popular all over the Internet and provided a wave of traffic for the horse-face skirt. Many netizens like to wear hairpins with horse-face skirts when taking photos.

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Picture source: Visual China

In November 2023, Yang Mi appeared at the airport wearing a horse-faced skirt, which aroused controversy among netizens about whether her dress was standard. The popularity of horse-faced skirts continues to rise.

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Yang Mi appeared at the airport in a horse-faced skirt|Source: Weibo

During the Spring Festival this year, Guan Xiaotong stood on the stage of the 2024 CCTV Spring Festival Gala wearing a bright horse-faced skirt and performed the program "Nian Brocade" with the theme of traditional Chinese patterns.

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The first one on the right is Guan Xiaotong wearing a horse-faced skirt|Source: Weibo video screenshot

It can be said that the popularity of the horse-face skirt is inseparable from the publicity of celebrities and online bloggers. The long-term momentum has made the popularity and popularity of the horse-face skirt reach a peak during the Spring Festival this year.

In addition, the horse-faced skirt can stand out among many Hanfu styles, not only because it conforms to the trend, but also because it is suitable for mixing and matching, is not particular about body shapes, and requires low makeup requirements.

One of the reasons that prevents many people from wearing Hanfu on the streets is that daily makeup cannot support a grand set of Hanfu. However, the horse-faced skirt can well combine modern and traditional elements. In addition to traditional tops, suitable shirts, T-shirts and sweaters etc., as well as coats and jackets, which can be mixed with horse skirts without looking too gorgeous and alternative.

In fact, compared to the pleated skirts and swirling skirts made in the Song Dynasty, the horse-faced skirt is not considered a daily wear, and it is easy to cause various inconveniences when commuting due to the length of the skirt.

However, it is precisely because of the obvious Chinese elements that it looks good when mixed with modern clothing. It is not as low-key as a plain skirt, but makes people feel bright.

Moreover, horse-faced skirts have lower body requirements. The traditional way to wear a horse-face skirt is to cover the skirt (that is, the longer top is not tucked into the skirt), which has an excellent effect of covering the flesh and making you look slimmer. It is more suitable for people with a large waist-to-hip ratio or thick legs; The wearing rule is suitable for people with a waist and thin body. It can be worn with a belt to make the waist appear taller. For shorter people, they may be worried that they cannot control the length of the horse skirt. In this case, they can choose a more friendly eight-minute length style.

Why Cao County?

The popularity of horse-faced skirts has brought Caoxian County into the public eye. As a small county in Shandong, why can Caoxian County be able to absorb this overwhelming wealth?

Caoxian County, nicknamed the "Center of the Universe", started out as a performance costume company. Data shows that in 2021, 70% of the national performance costumes will come from Caoxian County. One reason for Caoxian County’s tradition of making performance costumes is that Heze City, to which it belongs, is the famous Chinese peony capital, the hometown of opera, and the hometown of folk art, and has a profound historical and cultural heritage.

More than ten years of development of the performance costume industry has allowed Cao County to form a systematic and sophisticated market division of labor. The industrial cluster in Caoxian County is equipped with pattern making, fabrics, cutting, printing, sewing, ready-made garments, etc., which improves efficiency while reducing costs.

By 2017, the Hanfu market gradually began to prosper. So Caoxian County, with the support of the local government, vigorously developed the Hanfu industry. Zhang Longfei, director of the Cao County E-commerce Service Center, once told Jining News that in 2023, the Hanfu industry in Cao County will create more than 100,000 jobs and sales of 7 billion yuan. There are 2,282 Hanfu enterprises in Cao County and 2,053 original Hanfu processing enterprises.

The business intuition and accumulated clothing production experience cultivated over more than ten years have enabled Caoxian people to quickly seize business opportunities and adjust the direction of the industry under the craze of horse-faced skirts this year. It is understood that about 40% of merchants in Cao County did not have a holiday during the New Year, and their sales have quadrupled compared to usual times.

In addition, people in Caoxian County also realize that in addition to ensuring the quality of horse-faced skirts, they must continue to innovate and integrate culture to keep up with market trends, bring continuous sales, and go further and further on this road.