The group, which is called “Hanfu She”, was founded two years ago by 21 year-old economics student Wang Tingting.
Some of the members like to wear traditional hanfu dress — a long, loose-fitting costume dating from the Han dynasty, some 2,000 years ago.
They also learn traditional Han dances and games.
“Han culture has a very large place in traditional Chinese culture,” Wang said.
“The Japanese and Korean people know how to protect and to promote their traditions. But their traditions were inspired by Chinese culture. What people see as Japanese or Korean actually sometimes came from China. So we really want to protect and promote our brilliant 5,000 year-old culture.”
Wang has more than 20 dresses, which she buys online, from websites such as Taobao.
In downtown Nanjing, Jiang Haifeng runs a small Hanfu shop. He says more and more young people are coming in to buy clothes and other items.
“Before, wearing hanfu was seen as something weird, but now it’s more common,” Jiang said.
“Most of my customers buy it to wear in their daily lives. Some clients also want wear it for a special event, such as their wedding, or coming of age ceremony. There are also students leaving to study abroad. They buy these designs to show their Chinese identity in foreign countries.”
The Han dynasty was a golden age in Chinese history, spanning over four centuries. It was a time when China unified, expanded its borders, and built the Great Wall. It was a time of great progress in art, science and politics.