chinese tiktok trends fashion week

China’s New TikTok Trend: Stylish Youth Turn Campus Dorms into Catwalks

The dorm fashion shows may lack luxurious surroundings, but not creativity, fierce attitudes, and head-turning outfits

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Beatrice Tamagno Headshot
3:47 PM HKT, Tue November 1, 2022 1 mins read

Fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, New York, London, and Shanghai are global affairs and allow designers from all walks of life to showcase their latest creations by way of spectacular runway shows.

Not all fashionistas have access to such high fashion events, however, hence a new trend among some Chinese students who have decided to bring the heat somewhere closer to home: university and high school student dormitories.

douyin trends fashion week

Screengrabs of students showcasing their fashionable outfits in their dorms. Image via Douyin

Scores of students from across the country have been sharing creative videos of their DIY fashion shows on Chinese social media. In recent weeks, the hashtag ‘Dorm Fashion Week’ (#宿舍时装周#) has amassed 310 million views on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, while also going viral on the lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu and the microblogging platform Weibo.

The creative Chinese youth often fulfill multiple roles — models, audience members, and stylists — in their pet projects. Cramped dorms (usually accommodating four to eight students in China) or unadorned corridors stand in for the catwalk in their makeshift runway shows.

A stark departure from the glamorous catwalks of global fashion weeks, the dormitory fashion shows offer a humorous contrast to the excess and opulence frequently associated with high fashion.

chinese tikok trends fashion week

Screengrabs of students putting on runway shows in hallways and dorms. Images via Douyin

“My body might be in the dorm, but my heart is at Paris Fashion Week,” reads a caption that has been used more than once. The short videos may lack luxurious settings, but not creativity, fierce attitudes, and head-turning outfits.

Some universities, including Chongqing College of Mobile Communication in Southwest China’s Sichuan province, have even reposted the catwalks on their official accounts.

The ‘Dorm Fashion Week’ hype is redolent of another recent TikTok trend that similarly attempted to democratize high fashion. Known as the ‘Front Row Fashion Challenge,’ the trend saw netizens worldwide sharing outfits they would wear if invited to the most prestigious catwalks.

The contrast between high fashion and the mediocrity of everyday life has been the focus of much fashion-oriented content on Chinese social media platforms in recent years.

A similar trend that has enjoyed great popularity on Douyin revolved around reproductions of luxury brand campaigns in the Chinese countryside; these often featured senior citizens as models and cheap knockoff clothing instead of expensive garments.

douyin trends tiktok chinese fashion

The fashionable Granny Heng. Images via Douyin

Granny Heng, a 73-year-old fashion icon in China, exemplifies the DIY-fashion wave.

Together with her grandson, Heng produces short videos where she gathers objects and garments from around her village in Northeast China’s Liaoning province and transforms them into imitations of luxury fashion items. The icing on the cake: the talented fashionista also models the outfits she creates.

Humorous and entertaining, such short videos also carry a more profound message: fashion doesn’t have to be about money and status — it can be a celebration of creativity and self-expression.

Cover image via the author

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