Fashioning ‘Hong Kong-ness’: Chinese Tailors in Hong Kong and America, 1945-1980

Katon Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstractpeer-review


    Hong Kong was once renowned for its worldwide story about serving as a Sino-western suit centre, so much that Americans dubbed it ‘the Tailor of the Pacific’ in the Cold War. Through problematising the emergence and global development of Hong Kong suit culture from the mid-1940s to the 1980s, this article seeks to show the power of transnational connections of the Chinese tailors in Hong Kong and America in contributing to the place identity of Hong Kong. The article will first explore the migration and transnational businesses of the Chinese tailors in Hong Kong and America, showing how they served as the nexus of contacts in the two places. While it will pay particular attention to the commercial practices of the tailors in constructing, preserving, and showcasing the presence of ‘Hong Kong features’ in their suit products, it will also address how such ‘Hong Kong-ised’ suits created by the tailors were further framed by the Hong Kong Tourist Association as a cultural emblem of the colony during the late 1960s and the 1970s. It argues that through the transnational businesses and cross-border interaction between Hong Kong and America, a unique sense of ‘Hong Kong-ness’ was generated that pulled societies in Hong Kong and America closer to form a wider Sino-western cultural web outside of the framework of ‘nation’ during the Cold War.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2023
    Event2023 AAS-in-Asia Conference - Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea, Republic of
    Duration: 24 Jun 202327 Jun 2023


    Conference2023 AAS-in-Asia Conference
    Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
    Internet address

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Hong Kong
    • Fashion
    • New York
    • Suits
    • Identity
    • Cold War


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