▲Chen Suyue (right) at the festival.
Chen Suyue, in a comic book called Jiao Ni Xue Guiju ("Teach yourself social etiquette"), has characters dressed in hanfu discuss in a humorous way how to behave appropriately on certain occasions, especially by adopting traditional social niceties that most people are unaware of.
Weaving culture and clothing into these stories makes them more interesting for people of different ages, Chen says.
Chen says she started working with the third Hanfu Cultural Festival in Xitang in 2015 and needed to learn about the standard shapes and structures of Han attire.
"I thought designing and painting the cartoon posters for the festival would be a synch, but the organizers saw things completely differently."
Just how difficult her job was became clear to her when she prepared the main illustration for the festival: 16 men in feiyufu, clothes worn by the imperial guards of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
"There was so much detailed stuff I had to learn. The hats, the collars, the patterns. … I revised them again and again based on instructions from three hanfu experts."
Chen says the organizers' and experts' scrupulousness about every detail of hanfu impressed her, and she put hours into researching hanfu and then putting it to practical effect.
"I used to care only about whether the piece fitted me well or not. I couldn't name its type and didn't know anything about its cultural background.Three years of working with hanfu has turned me from a hanfu layperson into a real tongpao."
She is now a member of the organizing committee of the hanfu cultural festival and says it is a great opportunity to bring greater cohesion to the tongpao group nationwide.
▲The Hanfu Cultural Festival held in the ancient scenic town of Xitang, Zhejiang province
"I have really been encouraged to see so many people who share my passion get together to dress in hanfu. Some tongpao traveled thousands of kilometers to take part. Some came with their parents and children and some worked as volunteers day and night, all because of the hanfu and its glamour."
Sometimes when Chen travels she wears her hanfu attire, and once when she went to Japan, some of the locals mistook her garb for Korean traditional clothing, she says.
"In my view, hanfu should be developed into a Chinese cultural symbol that can be given currency worldwide."