The Booming Market After the Rise of Hanfu Horse-Face Skirts

The Booming Market After the Rise of Hanfu Horse-Face Skirts

In 2024, the girls' "Spring Festival jersey" will have an additional keyword - horse-faced skirt.

The "2024 Douyin E-commerce Women's Consumption Trend Data Report" shows that in the past year, women's orders for new Chinese clothing on the Douyin platform increased by 195% year-on-year, and orders for horse-faced skirts increased by 841% year-on-year; during Double 11 in 2023, 730,000 horse-faced skirts were sold on Taobao alone, and in December it was selected as one of Taobao's top ten products in 2023. On Xiaohongshu, the keyword "#马面skirt" received 1.28 billion views. Horse-faced skirts have become popular from the Spring Festival to early spring, and have become a favorite item for young women throughout the year.

Also suddenly popular is the live broadcast room. From February this year to the present, Bilibili, a platform with a large number of young users, has suddenly appeared several live broadcast rooms selling skirts, with titles often containing keywords such as low price of 9.9 yuan. The shape of horse-faced skirts is fixed, and the pattern design can best show the style of a store. However, plagiarism and imitation have led to the frequent occurrence of low-quality knockoffs of Hanfu.

The dispute between "Shan Zheng" and "Shan Zheng" is what consumers see on the surface. The behavior of businessmen chasing profits and quitting after making a profit is not despicable. The essence behind it is that it is an emerging and explosive market, and there is a lack of supply in a short period of time. standard.

On March 24, Lin Qi, the founder of the brand Living on the Left, the intangible inheritor of horse-faced skirt making skills, and the China Textile Intangible Cultural Heritage Promotion Ambassador, took her horse-faced skirt brand to the China International Fashion Week to hold the "Fang Yuan" horse show. A special show of face skirts, and as the initiator of the "White Paper on Horse Face Skirts, China's Most Beautiful Clothes", launched the white paper compilation ceremony.

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The event invited Professor Bao Mingxin, a doctoral supervisor in the fashion art design discipline at Donghua University, who is also the executive director of the China Fashion Designers Association and a member of the International Textile and Apparel Society; Professor Jia Xizeng, a doctoral student at the Academy of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University Mentor and member of the Academic Committee of the China Fashion Designers Association; She Yanxuan is a senior arts and crafts artist who enjoys special allowances from the State Council and is known as the master of arts and crafts in Guangdong Province; Alexandre BERGER (Dashan), a fashion blogger from Paris, is Guangzhou ESMOD serves as a professor of advanced pattern making and is the director of BORDELAISE high-end clothing studio; He Bei, deputy director of Narada Culture and Sports News Department and others, jointly participated in the theme forum "Inheritance and Innovation of Chinese Horse Face Skirts" and the show scene Costume drama star Zhao Yazhi also took the stage to perform a rare intangible cultural heritage horse face skirt.

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01The rise of the horse-faced skirt: the perfect fusion of culture and beauty

In 2023, the "Athflow" style that combines comfort, commuting, and leisure will become popular, reflecting the market's higher requirements for clothing. Compared with serving in the beauty service-that is, sacrificing comfort and convenience of daily life to serve beautifully. ——The young man’s answer is, “I want them all” in terms of beauty and comfort.

At the same time, the horse-faced skirt has been pushed to the peak of public opinion this year because of the excitement brought about by two confrontations between traditional Chinese culture and the international community: Dior’s design of plagiarized horse-faced skirts, and a large number of Chinese students wearing horse-faced skirts on the streets; the British Museum’s story The short drama "Escape from the British Museum", which tells the story of the "escape" of Chinese cultural relics, became a hit. A large number of Chinese tourists and international students wore horse-faced skirts to visit the British Museum.

Impulsive consumption brought about by emotions cannot dominate a certain market forever. The popularity of the horse-face skirt comes more from its matchability and practicality: you can choose a shirt and other items for the top, and the skirt is ankle-length, and you can stuff thick warm pants inside; because the horse-face skirt itself has complicated patterns and is simple, The tops and shoes can also be matched to create a high-end and formal aesthetic. Therefore, it is not surprising that horse-faced skirts continue to detonate during the New Year Festival and early spring.

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Ten years ago, Hanfu was only a subculture, popular among small circles. At that time, some Hanfu enthusiasts would receive side glances from passers-by when they wore Hanfu, and even thought they were wearing Japanese kimonos.

At that time, Japanese and Korean fashion was popular, European and American fast fashion gradually gained a foothold in the domestic market, and "international style", "Kazakh-Japanese" and "Kazhan-Korean" became the mainstream fashion among young people. In such a market environment, Lin Qi sees more possibilities for Chinese traditional culture.

Compared with the domestic market at that time, the international market valued clothing quality and style more, which also gave Lin Qi the opportunity to come into contact with the best fabrics and designs in the world. In 2014, in order to create her own brand "Living on the Left", she had in-depth exchanges with well-known foreign fashion designers and traveled to France, Japan, and Italy to find design inspiration. However, she found that some domestic brands used foreign names and looked similar. Big foreign brands rarely create brands that represent Chinese cultural genes.

Therefore, she focused on the local area and explored the traditional and inclusive cultural genes and cultural background of this land to discover outfits that are more suitable for Chinese girls. In the past ten years, she has traveled throughout China's countryside, visiting villages and inheritors of traditional handicrafts, and integrating traditional Chinese intangible cultural heritage crafts such as plant dyeing, blue printing, fragrant cloud yarn, Song brocade, grosgrain, and silver flower pots into the brand in the design. At the same time, she opened a traditional handicraft village in Dongyang, Zhejiang, organized craftsmen in the village to build traditional plant dyeing workshops and weaving workshops, and sold them in the Zuodaohui live broadcast room, so that traditional skills can truly be brought to the craftsmen. to gain.

Lin Qi described her feeling of encountering the first horse-faced skirt as love at first sight. 2024 is Lin Qi’s tenth year of research and innovation on horse-faced skirts. As of today, she has amassed hundreds of antique horse-faced dresses.

"How can I say that I have no clothes and wear the same robe as my son?" This is the most simple yearning of the Chinese people for clothing. Hanfu enthusiasts will call each other "tongpao" to express their recognition of their peers. The "comrades" of Linqi's team share the same vision and mission. The team's designers and even suppliers have recognized her love for traditional culture since the brand was founded, and have often cooperated with Lin Qi for 10 years. Compared with traditional clothing brands, this team is more like creating pieces of cultural art., the techniques and culture behind a skirt often have a history of more than a hundred years, which are all manifestations of the craftsmanship of the Linqi team.

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Linqi fully gives designers space for creation and design. She believes that "no matter how noisy the world is, I think the hearts of craftsmen are definitely quiet and stable." At the same time, she hopes that brands can provide the clothes that consumers need, and they design clothes that they think consumers may need. In daily communication with customers, the team will provide exclusive services, but compared to matching designers, they are more like customers' best friends, providing daily dressing suggestions and answering their confusion about fashion.

On New Year's Day this year, on the Douyin platform, Living in Zuo-Linqi's horse-faced skirt continued to be at the top of the popularity list of horse-faced skirts. It ranked first on the "Douyin embroidered skirt most popular list" and ranked on the "horse-faced skirt" during the March 8th Festival. No. 1 on the "Fast Skirt Popularity List"; at the Zuozou flagship store, DSR's three word-of-mouth scores have remained at 4.9 points since the brand was founded, continuing to lead its peers.

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02 The rise of the horse-faced skirt and Lin Qi’s dream of oriental aesthetics: Chinese girls’ “new national costume” has entered the international stage

At first, Hanfu was only a subculture, popular on Bilibili, Xiaohongshu and other platforms. Hanfu, Lolita dresses and JK uniforms are collectively known as the "three pits" and are a niche subculture hobby. Horse-faced skirts are only purchased by those who prefer Ming Dynasty Hanfu.

Nowadays, the horse-faced skirt has become the “Spring Festival jersey” for girls.Chinese people are willing to wear horse-faced skirts to show the charm of traditional Chinese culture around the world, and also demonstrate strong cultural confidence and cultural value. More and more young people are willing to wear horse-faced skirts to graduation ceremonies, visiting relatives and friends, etc. The consumer group of Linqi horse-faced skirts has also gradually expanded from overseas Chinese and state-owned enterprise executives to younger groups. I will wear Linqi horse-faced skirt when traveling, taking photos, and participating in business activities, adding a unique sense of Chinese ritual.

The popularity of horse-faced skirts has made Lin Qi's team's horse-faced skirt business popular. More and more customers are willing to pay for the design and come to Lin Qi's team to customize horse-faced skirts. However, Lin Qi’s vision does not stop there. It is to move Eastern aesthetics from museums to the international stage and become mainstream aesthetics, redesign Chinese traditional intangible cultural heritage crafts with current aesthetics, and integrate them into modern life—that is, into domestic in the foreign clothing market.

In fact, Hanfu has tried to integrate into the mainstream clothing market, but it has experienced a relatively difficult process. Hanfu has complex techniques, low output, and low gross profit margin. Therefore, in the early years, relatively low-cost e-commerce became one of the soils that nurtured the commercialization of Hanfu. According to data from the China Business Industry Research Institute, from 2016 to 2020, the size of the Hanfu market has rapidly increased from 370 million to 8 billion.

However, Hanfu’s e-commerce story seems to end with the epidemic. Three years after the epidemic, at least 20 Hanfu brands have announced closure or closure of stores for reorganization, including many old brands that have been in operation for 10 years, as well as brands with millions of fans and good reputations in the industry. Compared with the high-premium Lolita dresses next door, the Hanfu market is locked in a price war. Some people in the industry jokingly call some Hanfu clothes "cabbage prices". You can buy a set of Hanfu for less than 200 yuan, which makes insiders and "newbies" who are new to the industry ecstatic, but it puts Hanfu brands in endless trouble. in a price war.

The Linqi team, which has been established for 10 years, has never been involved in a price war. They position the brand as a "cultural luxury product" with an average price of more than 1,000 yuan. Some foreign customers are even willing to wait for several months and spend 210,000 yuan to customize a horse-faced skirt. This horse-faced skirt was jointly embroidered by many intangible cultural heritage inheritors. It took about 10,000 man-hours to embroider. It uses pure natural silk as raw material and uses flat embroidery, gold plate embroidery, seed embroidery, needlework embroidery, etc. Various embroidery methods, embellished with hand-knitted nets with copper coin graphics and Suzhou dragon beard buttons, are rare items that combine a variety of intangible cultural heritage techniques.

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The confidence of Linqi Horse Face Skirt's product value comes from the team's ten years of persistence, and also from the foundation of Chinese traditional culture. In the past few decades, Lin Qi has visited and studied the culture related to horse-faced skirts across the country. She has collected hundreds of antique horse-faced skirts and incorporated the knowledge and inspiration she learned into Linqi's horse-faced skirts. In the design of the skirt. She hopes that every woman who wears a horse-faced skirt can feel the vitality and warmth of Chinese culture. She hopes that customers will buy a horse-faced skirt worth collecting.

In addition to vertical inheritance, the Linqi team also hopes to prove the cultural value and market value of horse-faced skirts in the current market. The price of a leather bag can increase thousands of times with the logo of LV and Gucci. This is the brand value and investment value that the brand accumulates for consumers to celebrate the New Year; a trendy brand clothing linked to a celebrity or IP can be sold The high price that shocks passers-by is the emotional value that the idol effect brings to a specific group. The Linqi team believes that the horse-faced skirt not only combines practicality and fashion, but also can surpass international big brands in terms of fashion and market value with the beauty of Chinese culture.

Since the establishment of the brand in 2014, Lin Qi has held no less than 20 national style shows. Since 2018, Linqi horse-faced skirts have been invited to major international shows, including London Fashion Week in 2018 and Paris Fashion Week in 2023, spreading the beauty of traditional Chinese clothing to the world.

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On the day of the Paris Fashion Week event, which coincided with the Mid-Autumn Festival, when the show came to an end, Lin Qi cried and hugged every model. "For me, 'circle' means both reunion and the realization of dreams."

03Inheritance and Innovation of Horse Face Skirt: Finding Fashion Balance While Respecting Tradition

"A woman's wardrobe is always missing one piece of clothing." This joke not only proves the prevalence of consumerism, but also reflects the rapid changes in today's fashion trends. In 2023 alone, at least 6 styles will be popular in the domestic clothing market: summer dopamine, Barbie style after the release of the movie "Barbie", Maillard, old money style, outdoor style, Athflow, etc.

OverviewThe popular style of clothing in the past, or a certain clothing element (such as puff sleeves, etc.), or a style and item popularized by a certain star, KOL or even film and television works, or a color system suitable for a specific season (such as suitable for Maillard style in autumn and winter), or to cater to the rise of another major market (such as the rise of jackets and overalls, which cater to the prosperity of the outdoor market in 2023).

Popular styles change too quickly, making it difficult for each style to establish a corresponding brand that can operate in the long term. The same is true for the popular category of horse-faced skirts and even the popular style of national style: a large number of merchants lack the ability to brand. Although the market size is rapidly expanding, there is still a lack of merchants who adhere to long-termism and brand horse-faced skirts. But in the view of Linqi’s team, national style should not just be a short-term fashion style, but should be integrated into the current market and passed down from generation to generation as an aesthetic. Linqi Horse Face Skirt has been in business for 10 years. Based on its strong original design, manufacturing level, stable supplier and designer team, and the ability to operate online and offline on all platforms, Linqi Horse Skirt has grown into a relatively mature national style brand.

At the same time, the team is also actively thinking about the "myths" about the entire industry: when traditional culture and modern clothing are combined, behind which are China's rich cultural traditions and modern people's high-standard clothing and functional needs, how to respect tradition Under the premise of being determined to innovate and lead the fashion trend?

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Because of the popularity of the horse-faced skirt market, many merchants have emerged in the market to take advantage of the popularity. There have been a lot of graphic and text content on the Xiaohongshu platform that says "horse-faced skirt shops are lightning protection". Consumers may complain about the poor quality of the horse-faced skirts they bought, unclear patterns, or non-standard shapes. Similar to the wave of bankruptcies of Hanfu involution back then, some horse-faced skirt merchants are now also caught in a price war with low-price involution. In order to save costs, some businesses choose to copy original pattern designs and reduce product quality. At the same time, some businesses fail to clarify the boundaries between innovation and tradition, and design products with abrupt patterns that violate tradition.

Behind these phenomena is the lack of industry standards and requirements for horse-faced skirts, a newly popular category. Where is the boundary between inheriting tradition and striving for innovation? How to avoid getting involved in a price war? likeHow to balance product quality and production costs? This is a question that merchants chasing the horse-faced skirt craze have not considered. As practitioners of traditional clothing inheritance and innovation, brands that hope to make horse-faced skirts and even new Chinese-style clothing need to sit upright when facing this problem.

The Linqi team has been thinking about this issue. After Paris Fashion Week, the team received a lot of criticism and doubts. Some people thought that the horse-face skirt in the catwalk was overly innovative, and some argued about the attributes of Ming Ma and Qing Ma. Some of the criticism made team members frustrated and even temporarily lost their confidence in inheriting the horse-faced skirt and traditional Chinese culture.

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"We want to protect a craft. The correct way is to put it on the market and find a balance between tradition and fashion in design. Let customers feel its beauty, and at the same time, it should be enough for daily use and meeting people. Things, life." Since the establishment of the brand, Lin Qi has always adhered to the balance between tradition and fashion. On March 24, at China International Fashion Week, Lin Qi Horse Face Skirt released its new products: cool horse face skirt and two-in-one horse face skirt, which can adapt to a variety of wear needs.

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In fact, when faced with this problem, the Linqi team, which has been operating national fashion brands for 10 years, has rich experience: the traditional skills of making horse-faced skirts living in Zuo have been confirmed as a national intangible cultural heritage protection project, and the standards have been certified by the country; Lin Qi himself was selected as the first intangible inheritor of horse-faced skirt making skills in China, won the title of China Textile Intangible Cultural Heritage Promotion Ambassador, and was invited by CCTV to shareChinese horse face skirt. In 2024, she herself also received official certification as an intangible inheritor of horse-faced skirt making skills.

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On March 24, Lin Qi, as the initiator of the "White Paper on China's Most Beautiful Clothes Horse-faced Skirts", held a launch conference for the compilation of the white paper on China's Horse-faced Skirts. The answer to the question of the balance between activation, inheritance and innovation will be found in this white paper, which brings standards and new propositions to the market.