TAIPEI FASHION WEEK Autumn/Winter 2021/22
With Sustainability at its Core, Repurposed Banana Leaves, Fish Scales, Oyster Shells and Beeswax are what You’ll be Wearing.
Here’s a Snapshot of the Inspired Offerings at Taipei Fashion Week.
Did you know Taipei has become the first world city to host a series of physical fashion shows this year, with mask manufacturer CSD Zongwei handing out free woven limited edition art masks to lucky attendees? Unlike its Fashion Week counterparts in London, Paris and Milan that predominantly presented virtual shows or video clips, Taipei has opted for an alternative approach – for brands to present their offerings in the flesh, in front of a live audience, with international buyers in attendance.
The Taipei Autumn/Winter 2021/22 Fashion Week kicked off with six inspiring local brands interpreting the theme of ‘Sustainable Fashion’, each putting their own spin on this pressing and topical issue. At the same time school pupils and students have been included in a progressive, multi-pronged thrust, with exhibitions, activities and fashion shows laid on to boost creative energy and enthusiasm for all things fashionable in Taiwan. And judging by the overwhelmingly positive response in the media it’s been a phenomenal success and has certainly gone down a real treat with the public and industry alike.
The most appropriate place to start when reporting on Taipei Fashion Week has to be the ‘Sustainable Fashion’ contributions, which got me sitting bolt upright in my seat with excitement. The commitment to the environment and the forward-thinking technological prowess of these brands are nothing short of breathtaking. A standout collection – vibrant, youthful and cheery – was that of Claudia.W who utilized, amongst others, an uber impressive array of green materials and processes, including environmentally friendly carbon, ‘super splash’ water, fish scale yarns and shape-memory fabrics to create her eye-popping psychedelic range. Most impressively, her biodegradable fabrics can be buried effortlessly and will decompose in time. Now that’s what I’d call commitment with a capital C!
Avant-garde label Damur, with their trademark non-matching socks and footwear, wowed with a collection of bold, recycled and repurposed metallic fabrics and a stunning frilly harlequin dress made of patchwork pieces. They exploited Taiwan’s latest lamination technology to create metallic membranes for their subtle teal and pink pieces. Weavism’s theme was ‘Don’t treat us as plastic’. With neat and functional tailoring woven into in their environmentally-friendly pieces (made from unconventional fabrics such as banana leaves and beeswax) – from suits to overcoats – this impressive brand shouts easy-to-wear style with a conscience.
Still with sustainable brands, Just In XX’s designer Zhou Yuying’s contemporary patterned collection with pieces ranging from track suits to trench coats – is inspired by Taiwan’s Olympic prowess and, like the other sustainable brands featured, uses environmentally friendly fabric and ensures that waste materials like plastic bottles are cleverly incorporated into the repurposed fabric cycle. Another brand with a commendable carbon footprint is oqLiq, with their cocoon-shaped coats created from fabric that utilizes hot-pressed, high-frequency technology, their leathers repurposed from dam sediments and other fabrics used in their collection created from oyster shell powder. Finally, definitely worth a mention in this category is unisex brand DYCTEAM that prides itself on the use of special biodegradable organic cotton and reusable three-layer nylon. Refreshingly impressive, if you ask me!
The rest of Fashion Week featured a mix of classic-with-a-twist ready-to-wear and hot-off-the-press streetwear. A delightful discovery was Seivson, whose roomy pastel-shaded trouser suits with their strappy, studded punk elements contrasted beautifully with ‘damsel-in-distress’ romantic fairy-tale dresses. There was even the odd faux fur patchwork shrug and puffer coat for good measure. Isabel Wen presented a very feminine collection, celebrating the female figure not only in her designs but also in her choice of textiles – fluid silks draped, swathed and emphasized the curves of the female form. An interesting brand, Bob Jian, very effectively fused traditional Taiwanese shapes and costumes with contemporary fashion: mandarin collars and oriental patterns got some alternative design treatment and looked very sharp and modern indeed.
Schiatzy Chen produced an elegant collection that oozed Eighties inner strength, but thankfully without the obligatory oversized shoulder pads! Tweed rubbed shoulders with tulle, chiffon and leather; leg-of-mutton sleeves, miniskirts and culottes were anchored in glamorous thigh high boots. A cheerful little range of ‘gardener’-inspired clothing came from UUIN, whose bright green ginghams lit up the Autumn/Winter scene no end! A brand with cheeky schoolgirl inspired uniforms is Allenko3, whose ‘rebellious’ collection was inspired by tattoos.
Douchanglee offered a very wearable contemporary unisex range with the emphasis squarely on a balance between sustainability and functionality. Damur, who chose to show their range on a cross-section in the middle of the city, needs commended not only for their gutsy rule-breaking, but also for their collection of colourful, super fun & inspiring streetwear.
Finally, an appropriate ending to a fairy-tale Fashion Week needs to be a mention of CJean’s sumptuous Fifties-style satin coat in dramatic rouge noir. Like many pieces featured at this Fashion Week, it is nostalgically reminiscent of a previous era, but with a gutsy modern twist. This Fashion Week’s offerings have certainly heralded a new chapter for Taiwanese fashion, and one in which the contagious Taiwanese fashion energy has been spread through social media to the four corners of the earth. Rest assured, Taiwan – the world has most certainly taken notice and is eagerly awaiting your next contribution.