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[Memory of the past 40 years] People's "clothing tetralogy" and reform

Time:2018-08-14 19:10:00 Source: China Youth China Youth International

  Saddle is to horse, what clothing is to human. Clothes are refection of both people’s lives and social development. Looking back at the past 40 years, we experienced a “clothing tetralogy”, witnessing the great movement of reform and opening-up.

  A sad melody of “deficient clothes”. When I was young, there was such a jingle in our village, “The first child wears new clothes, the second wears old clothes, and the third rags”. In the past, children’s clothes were all transformed by adults, who were reluctant to throw even those ragged clothes, instead, they would tear them into pieces of rags for sole materials. At that time, the melody of “deficient clothes” was especially “resounding” during the summer days when the four- or five-year-old children were mostly of bare buttocks and the adults were shirtless. A father of five sons and two daughters in our village always had no shirt in the summer, and he consoled himself that summer was a season for saving. Be it sad and helpless, the melody of “deficient clothes” was a common occurrence in an era when eating was a problem. Clothes were for concealment, yet eating was more important at that time, which explains “Material determines consciousness”.

  A joyous melody of “enough clothes”. In the year when my nephew was born, our village implemented the land contract responsibility system. In the first year, steamed corn bread was changed into white flour buns. In the second year when my nephew could walk, my mother made him new clothes, thus the child in clean dress received much appreciation. After the reform and opening-up, as people’s food and pockets enriched, the joyous melody of “enough clothes” began work, revealing people’s enough energy and desire for the future. Borrowing clothes for blind dates became quite rare, and buying new cloth for making clothes was no longer exclusive for a few families. Tailors and sewing factories became popular then as people’s needs enlarged. I remember that my fourth uncle, a veteran tailor, returned home to operate a training class in our house, attracting over 40 people at one blow. Many of his students became experienced tailors later in the nearby villages, which of course enriched them and led their families to prosperity.

  An exciting melody of “good clothes”. When I was in high school, my brother bought me a coat from the city. It was so beautiful that I was reluctant to wear it; however, a few months later, it became popular among many of my classmates. I have no idea since when wearing beautiful clothes has become trendy. People no longer made clothes themselves and started to buy those clothes of diversified styles. Even the least changing winter clothes became multi-styled, such as topcoats, leather clothes and down jackets, not to mention those summer clothes. In the era of “dressing well”, people enjoyed their new fabrics and styles, as well as their brand-new spirits.

  An innovative melody of “personal clothes”. Clothes are mirrors of life, and the times. Nowadays, people no longer pursue “good clothes”, as everyone can dress well. Now they dominantly pursue individuality, namely, they wear clothes that can fit into themselves and strengthen their personalities. This is precisely the best testimony of an era of innovation. I often hear female friends talking about costume matching, about how to choose the clothes that suit them best and show their personalities. Besides, men’s clothes are no longer all gray, and gradually become colorful and full of personality. This is a testimony of individual strength, and progress of the times. In the new era, our clothes are more personalized and become the business card of personal innovation.

  We often say “clothing, food, shelter and transportation”, in which clothing takes the first place. But why? Clothing is a barometer of the times. People’s “clothing tetralogy” has witnessed the great movement of the reform and opening-up. Today’s personalized dressing constitutes a concrete portrayal of the great achievements of the 40-year reform and opening-up in life. Dressing has been integrated into people’s pursuit of personality, life value, and the era.

Editor:Hou Qianqian
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