Friday, 17 June 2016

Call for participants! Researching samfu, or Chinese pyjamas


I'm a postgraduate student of fashion history at the London College of Fashion. I'm fascinated by periods when Asian styles were popular and fashionable in 'Western' fashion, especially the trend for chinoiserie in the 1950s. I'm currently researching the samfu suit, also known as 'Chinese pyjamas'. However, I'm finding it quite hard to find examples of this suit to study, and very little has been written about it. 

Help needed! 

I'm searching for people willing to participate in this research project! Do you:
  • Own examples of samfu/Chinese pyjamas, either your own or passed down from relatives?
  • Know about making or buying this suit?
  • Have memories of seeing this suit being worn, either in overseas Chinese communities, in non-Chinese circles, or in films or TV?
  • Have family photos of this suit, especially pre-1980? 

I am very interested by the overseas Chinese communities, such as in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Europe. However, I am equally interested in speaking to people who do not have Chinese heritage about this suit, which was very stylish in the 1950s. If you are able to contribute to this project in any way, please do get in touch.

Drop me a line!

I would love to speak to you at your convenience, either in person or online via e-mail or Skype. I'm conducting research during June and July. I am based in London, but will be in Singapore for 3 weeks from mid-July.

-Anushka Tay

Below are some more images to give you a flavour of what I am researching:




Images sources (left to right, top to bottom):
1. Li Lihua at Clifford Pier, 1956 : two people. National Library Board Singapore. Source
2. Mrs Philip Isles wearing Chinese coolie pyjamas, 1948. Life. Source
3. A Chinese girl, full-length portrait. National Library Board Singapore. Source
4. Ah Kew, full-length portrait. National Library Board Singapore. Source
5. Vogue, 1953. Source.
6. Simplicity home dressmaking pattern, 1950s. Source
7. Hong Kong, Mong Kok, 2006. Ivar Hagendoorn. Source
8. Doris Day in Pillow Talk, 1959. Source.

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