China: The Superpower

For me the work of Roy Lichtenstein is one big statement on consumerism in the 20th century. In response to this I want to explore consumerism of the modern world and discover what it means to live in the materialistic 21st century. Society has developed into a mecca for those obsessed with the latest consumer fad. With the Western World having lead the way for mass production for the last century, many LEDCs have started to build upon their economy by tapping into this need for new products and are churning out goods at lightening speed. For me when thinking about the change in consumer goods over my lifetime, there is one country that immediately springs to mind. China is the most obvious example of how traditionally poorer countries have turned around their fortunes to become one of the biggest superpowers in the world. Look at almost any household item, clothing or technology and branded somewhere is likely to be ‘Made in China’, highlighting the Chinese response to the demand of the West for cheaper products.

As a result China has one of the most powerful economies in the world, competing with the American and Europeans. But how did the industrialisation of this massive country affect its traditions and values? Through my designs I aim to illustrate the huge differences within China. Studying the traditional side of the Chinese culture and history from their past Buddhist faith to the rich farming heritage and rural villages, finding out how the clothing and way of life have changed in recent years. This will draw a nice comparison with the mega cities that have changed the Chinese landscape and how industry and ‘The Great Leap Forward’ (set at the beginning of the communist movement) have affected the lives of those living in China today.