Study Buddy (Explorer): Mother in China transforms plastic bags into ‘high fashion’ for daughter’s catwalk at home – YP

[1] A girl in China has trended on social media because of her home fashion show. She wears dresses that her mother made of recycled plastic bags. The girl’s “environmentally friendly-themed fashion show” was uploaded to short video platform Douyin last month. It featured more than 10 dresses made by her mother using colourful plastic bags.

[2] The mother, surnamed Qi, is from Shandong province in eastern China. She said her daughter liked modelling and had catwalk training. “An idea popped into my mind that there are many plastic bags at home, the colour of which is similar to my daughter’s dresses. Why not hand-make some dresses for her?” Qi said.

[3] She said her daughter’s kindergarten asked parents to do a lot of handicraft homework with their children. So she was confident in her DIY skills when it came to making clothes.

[4] “I’ve made those stage dresses purely by following my own inspiration,” said Qi. “It is because I have watched many fashion shows performed by children and am familiar with those dresses. I think making dresses out of plastic bags is quite simple. My daughter is delighted. She told me: ‘Mum, you don’t need to buy me stage dresses in the future. I will just wear plastic bag-made clothes to walk on the runway.’”

[5] The girl’s video had been viewed 5.5 million times on Douyin as of November 9, with around 400,000 likes. “The dresses are more beautiful than those at Paris Fashion Week,” wrote one person. “The dresses are creative. The little model has got swagger,” commented another.

[6] But some people questioned whether the clothes are environmentally friendly, with some commenting: “You have wasted so many plastic bags.” Qi said she had not used many bags and said they could be reused afterwards as well. “Most of the plastic bags I’ve used can be used again. For some of the clothes, I only stuck the bottom of the bags with double-sided adhesive tape to other bags. They can be taken apart easily and be used to hold garbage,” she said.

[7] China has been fighting against plastic waste for the past decade, but it has made limited progress in reducing the volume of plastic waste due to poor implementation. In 2008, state authorities banned shops, supermarkets and wet markets from distributing plastic bags for free.

[8] The government issued a rule in 2020 forbidding shops, supermarkets, wet markets, food-delivery services and exhibition events from using non-degradable plastic bags. The China Business newspaper reported that the country produced 81.8 million tonnes of plastic in 2019, including 15.9 million tonnes of plastic film. But only half a million tonnes of plastic products were degradable, the report said.

Source: South China Morning Post, November 9


1. In paragraph 1, the girl’s dresses are made of …

A. recycled plastic.

B. discarded styrofoam boxes.

C. brand new plastic.

D. colourful paper.

2. Decide whether the following statements about Qi are True, False, or the information is Not Given in paragraphs 2 to 4. (4 marks)

(i) Her daughter has previously taken lessons in walking on the runway.

(ii) She is a professional fashion designer.

(iii) She had some difficulty making the plastic dresses at the beginning.

(iv) Her daughter’s kindergarten has asked her to organise dressmaking workshops.

3. Find a word in paragraph 3 that refers to “an activity in which something is made by hands”.

4. In paragraph 4, Qi’s daughter prefers ________ clothes to ________ clothes.

A. professional stage; recycled

B. handmade plastic bag; proper stage

C. recycled; handmade plastic bag

D. proper stage; handmade plastic bag

5. Which of the following best describes the comments mentioned in paragraph 5?

A. apprehensive

B. humorous

C. mocking

D. none of the above

6. What concern did some netizens bring up according to paragraph 6?

7. According to paragraph 6, how did Qi respond to some of the criticisms of the dresses?

8. What does “it” in paragraph 7 refer to?

9. According to paragraph 8, the rule issued in 2020 aims to …

A. ban all plastic bags.

B. promote recycling of plastic bags.

C. reduce the use of non-degradable plastic bags.

D. encourage businesses to switch to non-degradable plastic bags.

The girl’s mother said making these dresses was simple because she had past experience with dressmaking. Photo: Captured from The Paper


1. A

2. (i) T; (ii) F; (iii) F; (iv) of

3. handicraft

4. B

5. D

6. that the dresses are a waste of plastic bags / that the dresses are not environmentally friendly (any one)

7. She clarified that the plastic bags used to make the dress could be reused. (accept similar answers)

8. China

9. C

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