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PhD: Chinese diaspora dress
I am currently a PhD student at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. I won an Arts & Humanities Research Council Technē studentship to fully fund my research.
My PhD working-title is Chinoiserie Outside China 1945-present: an exploration of how British Chinese people have experienced and demonstrated their relationship to their Chinese heritage through dress.
‘Chinoiserie’ is a term used to refer to ‘Chinese-style’ goods consumed by European markets, from the 18th century onwards. It commonly refers to the decorative arts: furniture, interiors, and porcelain, as well as fashion. Chinoiserie goods might be produced by Europeans inspired by fantastical visions of ‘Cathay’; or, might be produced in China, specifically for the export market.
My thesis poses that the consumption of Chinoiserie fashions in the UK is complicated by the presence of the Chinese in Britain. This small, spatially dispersed ethnic minority group’s views of their familial cultural heritage is arguably coloured by their local experiences as simultaneously British people and diasporan subjects. I research British Chinese people’s relationship to Chinese-style clothing, interrogating notions of authenticity and ethnic identity.
Click here for my Techne student research profile.
My research combines multiple qualitative methods. Analysis of visual and material culture is underpinned by a series of semi-structured interviews with British Chinese individuals.
My research is strongly influenced by my practice-based background as a designer and maker of performance costume, through my BA in Performance Costume, and 10 years’ industry experience. Prior to commencing my PhD, my work incorporated the study and re-creation of historical tailoring and dressmaking methods.
- Currently: conducting interviews
- Fashion, Costume & Visual Cultures, France Conference presentation
- British Chinese Women: Interdisciplinary Workshop, Kings College London Conference presentation
- Fashioning Inclusivity Symposium, LCF Conference presentation & symposium organiser