Check out clothing and accessories which span almost a hundred years

Besides being a means of self-expression, fashion is quite often a reflection of the times.

And from Jun 12-Dec 12, locals can explore the changes in women’s status, roles and lifestyle since the 19th century through fashion at Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall’s brand new exhibition. Titled Modern Women of the Republic: Fashion and Change in China and Singapore, the exhibition will display close to 100 artefacts and photographs, focusing on Chinese women’s clothing and accessories from China as well as Singapore which span almost a hundred years.

In this examination of the evolution of women’s fashion, SYSNMH aims to trace the rise of the modern woman in Singapore and China—shaping our understanding of what constitutes a “modern woman”.


As such, the exhibition will explore this over three separate sections. First, witness the political changes in society from the 1890s to the 1930s at Charting Change Through Fashion, before understanding the evolving concept of a modern woman from the 1930s to the 1960s at Imagining the Ideal Modern Woman. Finally, learn how fashion empowered the working women in Singapore from the 1950s to the 1970s at Dressing Modern Working Women in Singapore.

Highlights include the photograph of Chinese political figure Soong Ching-ling with her mother (early Republican period) wherein Soong dons an ao (blouse-jacket) with pants, an attire typically worn by Han girls in the late Qing dynasty.

There’s also an advertisement poster for Gold Bar Hatamen brand of cigarettes that showcases a model sporting fashionably permed hair, fitted cheongsam and seated in front of a Western-style dressing table—the ideal “modern woman” enjoying her comfortable bourgeois lifestyle.


Also look out for Nanyang Monthly’s 50th Edition Cover which features a woman dressed in fashionable clothes and posing with her car parked in front of the former Supreme Court Building and City Hall.

Just explore how Chinese fashion has evolved over the years in Singapore by heading to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall this weekend.

More information available here.