Explore Chinese fashion during ‘Sumptuous Silks’ workshop

 SPECIAL GUEST INSTRUCTOR YUNRU SHEN MODELS ONE OF HER LATEST DESIGNS, A MODERN TAKE ON THE TRADITIONAL QIPAO (or CHEONGSAM) DRESS POPULAR IN CHINA AND THROUGHOUT THE WEST.  Shen explained of the concept behind her dress' design: "It is inspired by the beautiful musical tones of the Chinese ancient stringed instrument, the guzheng. I learned to play this instrument during my childhood. It has deep meaning for me. Musical tones are very similar to daily life — sometime we are up, sometime we are down. At end, it is our beautiful and meaningful life with happiness and pain."

SPECIAL GUEST INSTRUCTOR YUNRU SHEN MODELS ONE OF HER LATEST DESIGNS, A MODERN TAKE ON THE TRADITIONAL QIPAO (or CHEONGSAM) DRESS POPULAR IN CHINA AND THROUGHOUT THE WEST.

Shen explained of the concept behind her dress' design: "It is inspired by the beautiful musical tones of the Chinese ancient stringed instrument, the guzheng. I learned to play this instrument during my childhood. It has deep meaning for me. Musical tones are very similar to daily life — sometime we are up, sometime we are down. At end, it is our beautiful and meaningful life with happiness and pain."

The Arts & Science Center invites the community to explore traditional and modern Chinese fashion during its next adult education class, Sumptuous Silks and Ancient Traditions: Exploring Chinese Fashion,” on Thursday, Sept. 20, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Special guest Yunru Shen, fashion designer and instructor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and will lead an engaging discussion on traditional and modern Chinese fashion. Participants will then have their turn to be creative as ASC Public Programs Coordinator Leonor Colbert guides them through making their own hand fans. Inspired by a variety of traditional Chinese hand fan designs, the silk brocade fans can be personalized to the makers’ taste. Participants can also enjoy a complimentary wine or beer while making their fans.

No experience is required, and all materials will be included. Advance registration is required and attendees must be at least 21 years old. The cost is $10 for ASC members or $15 for nonmembers.

Shen, who is originally from Shanghai, China, is a faculty member in UAPB's Merchandising, Textiles, and Design Program.

“I will talk about Chinese fashion from the 1920s qipao dress to today though history and culture change,” Shen explained. “I will also discuss three fashion cities: Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong in order to introduce today’s Chinese fashion trends with different major cities’ environmental influence.”

Shen will also show her own spring/summer 2019 collection.

“I created my newest fashion collection with new qipao style. It is a new Oriental/exotic American style,” she explained. She plans to wear the modern silk qipao dress for the event.

 "Sumptuous Silks and Ancient Traditions" Attendees will be guided in making their own personalized fans like the one shown. Inspired by a variety of traditional Chinese hand fan designs, the silk brocade fans can be personalized to the makers’ taste. They can also enjoy a complimentary wine or beer while making their fans.

"Sumptuous Silks and Ancient Traditions" Attendees will be guided in making their own personalized fans like the one shown. Inspired by a variety of traditional Chinese hand fan designs, the silk brocade fans can be personalized to the makers’ taste. They can also enjoy a complimentary wine or beer while making their fans.

The qipao (and the similar cheongsam) first became popular in 1920s Shanghai. Characterized by its close fit and brocade fabric, the dress style can still be seen in 21st-century eastern and western fashions.

Shen has studied and worked in fashion on three continents. She earned a Bachelor of Design degree in fashion and apparel design in 2010 at Raffles College of Design and Commerce in Sydney, Australia. She worked in Shanghai — China’s the fashion and economic center — at KISMET+, a women’s fashion studio. She moved to the United States in 2011 to study at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, where she graduated in 2014 with a Master of Fine Arts degree in apparel design. She has also worked in a design team for Edun Americas Inc., a New York City-based fashion brand founded to promote fair trade in Africa by sourcing production within the continent.

Shen joined UAPB in 2014, and teaches classes covering textiles, apparel design, fashion illustration, fashion buying and merchandising, and the fashion industry.