Kean University hosted the second annual China in the World conference on Wednesday, March 29. China in the World featured Ruiping Guo’s fluid designs in a fashion show choreographed and directed by Kean University’s Michelle Mossay. Guo also lead a panel discussion on Chinese fashion at the event along with noted fashion scholar Valerie Steele, the director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Guo explained her creative process and how she translates mythic archetypes into textures and patterns. Her designs frequently reference China’s rich visual history, including the nuance and meaning of China’s symbolic language.
“Design is a type of language,” said Guo. “The spirit of Chinese fashion is mobile, it is not still.”
Valerie Steele addressed common misconceptions about Chinese fashion at China in the World, charting the evolution of Chinese style from the Shang to Ming dynasties. As an author, curator, editor and public intellectual, Steele has been instrumental in creating the modern field of fashion studies and in raising awareness of the cultural significance of fashion.
Both Steele and Guo shed light on the ongoing cultural exchange between east and west at the conference, highlighting various market forces that propel trends. Steele also referenced the growing body of scholarship about Chinese fashion and the limitations of looking at Chinese fashion purely in terms of its impact on the west.
China in the World was organized by Kean professors Xurong Kong, Ph.D. and Sue Gronewold, Ph.D. and co-sponsored by the Kean University Asian Studies program and the Confucius Institute of Rutgers University (CIRU).
“Unique among our sister institutions,” said Gronewold, “Kean offers a degree in Asian Studies.” To learn more about Kean’s Asian Studies program visit http://www.kean.edu/academics/college-liberal-arts/asian-studies.