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Child's play for fashion award winner

By Li Wenfang in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-12 09:11
Wen Caiyun makes a coat during the 45th WorldSkills Competition held in the Russian city of Kazan in August. [Photo provided to CHINA DAILY]

Playing with dolls may seem childish, but for 21-year-old Wen Caiyun it set her on the path to a world championship in fashion skills.

A graduate of Baiyun Technician College of Business and Technology in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, Wen won the fashion technology competition at the 45th WorldSkills Competition held in the Russian city of Kazan in August.

The four-day contest was staged over 18 hours and covered four modules - drawing two formal items of attire, making a pattern for a skirt, designing and making a coat, and draping a dress.

The requirements for each module were only revealed to the contestants shortly before the contest started.

According to the website of the competition organizer, a fashion technology practitioner "designs and creates garments based on an understanding of aesthetics".

The practitioner must also have a strong foundation of technical skills including "design, pattern-making and use of specialized equipment for pattern-making, cutting, and manufacture".

Wen's interest in fashion started when she visited a doll-making company in Chaozhou, Guangdong, age 3, where her aunt Wen Li designed dolls' clothes.

When she was about 13, Wen Caiyun also visited a doll plant in Shantou, Guangdong, which her aunt had moved to for work.

"She liked the different designs. She liked to ask questions about designs and made one or two pieces in the design room," said Wen Li, a self-taught designer.

When she was about 7, Wen Caiyun started sewing dolls' clothes by hand at her home in Zhanjiang, Guangdong, using the materials from her old clothes. She started using a sewing machine when she was about 11.

Wen Li brought home dolls of different sizes for her niece to dress up. "Caiyun's grandma would tell me with joy over the phone that Caiyun had made a new and better piece of clothing," the aunt said.

Wen Caiyun said she liked playing with dolls and making clothes for them.

"It's a rather simple process," she said. "If I think a design is beautiful and convenient to make, I make it."

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