From rustic to chic: Chinese dama inspires intl designers

Updated: 2014-09-09 10:01


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From rustic to chic: Chinese dama inspires intl designers

Hot water bags were widely used by people who didn't have heating, especially middle-aged women and the elderly. [Photo/First Finance Daily]

Outdated items can fast become the latest fashion - all they need is a little push from Chinese dama, or middle-aged women.

Apart from weighing on the gold price, Chinese dama seem to be increasingly important players in the fashion sector, with quite a few international designers inspired by the daily items they use or things they wear.

Hot water bag

"I still remember the hot water bags my granny used to warm my feet with when I was little," says 25-year-old Dai Ming.

These bags are usually made of rubber in a dark reddish color, about the size of a banquet clutch. In the past, they were widely used by people who didn't have heating, especially middle-aged women and the elderly.

Dai said his grandmother would even put a tiny sweater on the bag so that it wouldn't be too hot.

The bags may look funny to you, until you see them as designer items. Italian luxury brand Bagigia launched its hot water bottle bags a couple of years ago, and so did Chanel. Stylish people have been carrying them under their arms ever since.

Grocery basket

These plastic baskets were an essential item for dama in the 90s when shopping at the food market. Usually in bright red or green, they were easy to clean if stained by meat juices.

Unlike hot water bags that are still on sale with a slightly improved look, these grocery baskets have become near extinct. Some people, such as Liu Jia, even miss the baskets, as "they're more environmental-friendly than today's plastic bags."

It was this dowdy item that caught the eye of MIU MIU designers, who were inspired to create a plastic tote that looks exactly the same.

Braided polyester bags

Braided polyester bags, usually with red, blue and white stripes, conjure the image of unfashionable dama or rustic people from rural areas. These strong, rough and long-lasting bags are used to haul the heavy stuff.

Now, nicknamed the "Chinatown bag," they have been mixed into the design of famous brands such as Louis Vuitton and Celine. During the 2014 fall and winter fashion shows, features resembling these bags were seen on various handbags, coats and shoes.


Face masks with holes in the eye area have been recent hits in fashion circles thanks to Carine Roitfeld, former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. With the "Masking in the Sun" photo shoot featured in her CR Fashion Book, Facekini wowed the world.

The face mask was invented by a 58-year-old woman named Zhang Shifan. It's most used in China's coastal city Qingdao by middle-aged women who like sun bathing, but hate getting tanned.


International fashion designers blending more and more Chinese elements into their products is a sign that the world is paying increasing attention to Chinese culture.

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