The recent pandemic has played havoc on the global fashion industry, disallowing designers to strut their latest season’s fashion design on the catwalk in front of camera-toting media and fashion aficionado. 

However, on the eve of March 11, 2021, it was business as usual.

The world’s long-awaited open-to-the-public AW21 Fashion Show finally took place in Taipei. 

Thanks to Taiwan’s successful COVID-19 response, hundreds of people were able to physically gather for its highly anticipated ‘Taipei Sustainable Collections’ grand opening show. And under one roof the audience was visually delighted by the showcase of six talented designers’ latest collections that focused on sustainability. 

In addition to the usual attendees, the event also brought out many industry heavyweights that are using technology and process innovation to change the fabric of the fashion industry.

Representatives included high-level executives from two global innovative textile corporations, William Wong and Douglas Hsu (Chairman of Formosa Plastics Group and Far Eastern Group).

William Wong (second from the left) and Douglas Hsu (third from the right)

Walking into the venue, you knew immediately that this was the moment fashion lovers from around the world have been craving.

Held in a discarded warehouse turned exhibition venue at the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, the chilling ambience was quickly replaced with the spectacle of lights and sounds.

And as stated in Culture Minister Lee Yung-te’s opening remarks “This Fashion Show was made possible by the Taiwanese people, because of the sacrifice they made on (their) personal freedoms in exchange for a safer environment for all.”    

‘Taipei Sustainable Collections’ – Sustainability in post-pandemic dressing

Thursday’s opening show was the latest in a string of sustainability initiatives seen at the Copenhagen, London and Milan fashion weeks.

Six designers picked up the idea of post-pandemic dressing and recreated this concept with their own unique Taiwanese identity. 

Eco-friendly sustainable textiles and fabric technologies such as recycled scrap tires, upcycled fish scales, and oyster shells were utilized to link local textile industries and fashion designers in writing a new chapter in ‘made-in-Taiwan style‘. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRRXyRTx3H8

(opening show clip)

Functional streetwear labels such as WEAVISM promised to deliver street fashion while remaining environmentally conscious with its “WE ARE NOT PLASTIC!” A/W 21 collection, using 100% natural materials to eliminate microplastic issues in the ocean. 

WEAVISM at Taipei Sustainable Collections Opening Show

Designer brands, large and small, are now embracing functional wear as a way to reconnect with consumers as people start to explore fashion from a more practical perspective. 

#DAMUR, a Berlin-based high end streetwear brand founded by Taiwanese designer Damur Huang, included pandemic traveling into its design.

The #Travelwear 2.0 collection adopted Taiwan’s latest metallic membrane and lamination technology to combine bold design with a realistic context of epidemic prevention.

DYCTEAM ‘re:form’ collection explored our shared experience of living through a pandemic and how life can be rebuilt through symbiosis, living, and apparel.

To minimize waste in the process, Claudia Wang continued to utilize 3D virtual technology, and cooperated with leading textile manufacturers to create innovative apparel with eco-friendly designs in sustainable or recycled materials. 

#DAMUR at Taipei Sustainable Collections Opening Show

DYCTEAM at Taipei Sustainable Collections Opening Show

Claudia Wang at Taipei Sustainable Collections Opening Show

With face masks becoming part of our everyday fashion, Taipei Fashion Week teamed up with CSD, one of Taiwan’s largest face mask manufacturers, to launch four unique face masks with patterns symbolizing Taiwanese aesthetics including ethnic weaving, indigo dyeing, plum flower, and traditional window grills. 

Taipei Fashion Week teamed up with CSD to launch exclusive face masks with Taiwanese aesthetics

Iconic Taiwanese design – Explore identity and heritage at TPEFW

2020 had been a year of awakening for the local art and cultural scene.

Enter 2021, and Taiwan’s fashion industry continues to lead the way in making new waves.

With the additional scheduled 13 runway shows held by both established and rising fashion brands such as SHIATZY CHEN and BOB Jian, young Taiwanese designers are clearly finding inspiration from local cultures in their latest AW21 collections. 

At the opening show, local hip-pop music was played in the background as high-end functional fashion brand oqLiq showed off its unique Taiwanese aesthetics, integrating oriental simplicity and street fashion to redefine outdoor functional clothing.

JUST IN XX designer Justin Chou took inspiration from the common memory of Taiwanese people, using ‘window grating’, and the emblem of the Taipei Tokyo Olympics uniform, ‘plum flower’ to design his latest A/W collection.

oqLiq at Taipei Sustainable Collections Opening Show

JUST IN XX at Taipei Sustainable Collections Opening Show

And on March 15, the last day of the event, BOB Jian took his 21 A/W collection back to the Songshan Cultural warehouse.

Inspired by the designer’s childhood memory of temple fairs, the latest collection was a modern transformation from traditional costumes with colorful combinations of oriental patterns and the masks of the eight religious advance guards.

BOB Jian A/W 21 Collection – Temple Fairs

Inspired by the changing retail landscapes in Taiwan, from traditional Taiwan gama stores, to convenient stores and recently popular app delivery platforms, the 2021 A/W collection by INF created designs with patterns and embroidery that transformed cultural elements with plastic bags. 

 INF A/W 21 Collection – Time Machine

If you were ready to immerse yourself in the streets of Taipei, what better way to explore the city than to attend a runway show held on one of the busiest streets in downtown, the intersection near the famous Taipei 101. 

The first flash-mob style catwalk show amid pandemic

On Mar 13, #DAMUR turned three 110-second stop lights into a flash-mob style catwalk show where pedestrians, automobiles, and scooters at the red light unexpectedly took the front row seats.

The biggest takeaway from the show was its realization of the open-to-the public spirit. “We decided to present an outdoor show for our AW21 collection because we would like to hold onto our belief that life can’t be fully digitalized,” said Damur Huang. 

#DAMUR held its brand show in Taipei’s Xinyi District

The Rise of Taiwanese Designers on the Global Stage

In building a new golden era for Taiwan’s fashion scene, Taipei Fashion Week has as its mission supporting young talents to become the next generation of world-class designers.

Young designers from four colleges were invited to hold their very first professional fashion shows during the AW21 event, a tradition first practiced by London Fashion Week.

Taipei Fashion Week Young Talent Show

Since the launch of Taipei Fashion Week back in 2018, Taiwan’s fashion scene has quickly gained global recognition for its talented designers whose creative work speaks to both international and local audiences.

In just four years, Taipei Fashion Week has now successfully launched its first ever Autumn/Winter collection, and the organizer looks forward to the October SS22 event in hope of building more synergy with global fashion week communities. 

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