Design ethnography and inheritance: the revitalization of Hakka tradition in fashion collection

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Design ethnography, Cultural inheritance, Hakka tradition, fashion design


This fashion collection is part of larger design ethnographic study exploring the possibilities of extending design ethnography from “informing design” to engage more participants in community-based activities that allow the preservation and inheritance of cultural knowledges and design-related practices. We aim to examine how learning and inheriting cultural traditions can move beyond the “in-group only” boundary under a design ethnography setting. In collaboration with a local social enterprise, this study presents an innovative way to preserve traditional Chinese folk culture as well as the techniques and knowledges in design practices. We involve some Hakka mentors with a group of design students in a 3-day intensive workshop on Hakka band-weaving techniques together with a sharing session on Hakka cultures, traditions, and lifestyles in 1950s. Students are asked to re-interpret the traditional Hakka clothing and apply the band-weaving techniques in producing their own fashion collection. Based on the analysis of the interviews and observation, three aesthetic themes, namely ‘new authentic’, ‘urban contemporary’, and ‘refined elegance’, emerge and are presented in the fashion collection. The Hakka project contributes to demonstrate how the inheritance of design practices offers an empowerment agenda for both individual (i.e. design students) and the Hakka community in social change (i.e. the cultural appreciation and preservation of Hakka tradition in a reflective manner).

Source Publication

Cumulus Hong Kong 2016 Conference

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