Compared to other fashion designers who were deeply passionate about fashion from the very beginning, Allen Ko of ALLENKO3 started out with interests in architecture and industrial design. That is why he sometimes feels like an outsider in fashion. “By looking at fashion from an outsider’s perspective and with a sharper observation on 2-dimensional discipline and other design disciplines, my designs tend to be different from other designs’ works. That’s where my niche lies.” Sci-Fi fictions and comics are often sources of his inspiration. He refers to his first collection Urban Odyssey that was inspired by the film 2001 Space Odyssey as an example. The evolution of men from monkey to ape and to men ignited his obsession with the human body. For the lates Spring-Summer collection, Ko highlights at the visual impact of human muscles and organs through the lines and layout of garments. For the fashion show, he collaborates with paper artist Chung Kai Hsiang to illustrate the concept through fashion show and exhibition.
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“I really like the spirit of Zen in Eastern philosophy. I also like the clear expressions of style and arts in the West. When you combine the two, that becomes me.” With previous experiences in cultures of U.S., New Zealand, U.K., designer C JEAN remembered images of her dreams and bright colors that never fade. She recollected how awed she was when she saw the night sky when she was an exchange student in Kentucky. “I was only in high school. A friend of mine who came from Japan lied on the grass with me, looking at the sky as we shared our dreams. Whenever I think back, the image of the night sky was still unforgettable. That memory just stayed with me. I never saw anything like that again.” Therefore she selects “Starry Starry Night” as the theme for the 2021 Spring-Summer collection. The starry night in point is the night lit up by city neon lights. She transferred the color prints to her designs to remind everyone who is pursuing their dreams never to forget the real colors of the night.
Textile is still part of the forces that drive Taiwan’s economy. Brands like OQLIQ may be the energy needed to stimulate the industry. From indigo dyes, bulrush and other traditions materials to functional fabrics, materials used by designer duo Orbit Lin and Chi Houng were diverse and innovative. They saw the potential of Tainan’s textile manufacturers and decided to set up studio there. After years of operation, Oqliq has established its market niche. The latest collection is titled “Feng Tiao Yu Shuen - nature’s blessing” featuring 4 heavenly elements from Chinese folklore. It’s a collection with a whimsical touch. The Feng (wind) and Yu (rain) elements from the folklore are represented by water and wind-proof functional fabrics, whereas Tiao and Shuen are represented by comfort and functional clothing. These four elements paint the ideal imagery of post-pandemic era seen by the designers.
The sparks that light up from the synergy of dreams and execution are often the brightest. SYZYGY, a brand founded by designer duo Katrina Yu Wei Lee and Yuan Lung Kao is just like that. Initiated with a commitment to sustainability, the brand’s name Syzygy is the alignment of sun, moon and earth that occurs at the time of full moon and new moon, signifying the eternal sustaining cycle. “The term coincides with origin of our brand. We propose the extension of product life cycles for clothes. Each piece of garment should be worn in multiple ways. We want clothes to be extend eternally like syzygy,” said Kao. The 2021 Spring-Summer collection takes the theme of “Star Gazer,” expanding from previous themes of solar eclipse and transit of mercury. The focus is on human who gives meaning to these astronomical phenomenon. For the exhibition, SYZYGY wants to replicate the static/dynamic show formats that are popular in London so the audience can see the changes of the garments up close as models walk by in the presentation and feel the multiple faces of Syzygy creations.
First a student in industrial design who was designing motorcycles, designer Chang Chia-Jen became devoted in fashion design focusing on use of fabrics because of a simple dream. The dream drove him to study fashion in Italy. His designs are simple, free from excess, and urban. When he met WEAVISM, a brand by HerMin Textile, the two bonded instantly. With strong support in fabrics, he was given the free reign to be imaginative. 2021 Spring-Summer collection is based on his observations about the cyber world. It encourages the consumers to step out of their comfort zone and explore the unknown. The idea expands to the print with Chinese slogan “Yan Shang”, meaning flaming on the cyber world. He stated: “Sometimes people make conscious or unconscious statements on the Internet and create a stir.” The slogan changes in form by design. Whoever wearing the garment becomes would seem to be self-mocking as a person that stirs up a flame in the cyber world.
Bringing art and human closer is a topic designer Wei Yu Hung finds interest in. When he participated in theatric works, he realized clothes have the highest contact with human. The realization pointed to the direction of fashion design in college. He accidentally saw his mother hammering barkcloth, a traditional fabric. After studying the fabric, he discovered the craft that is somewhat rare in Taiwan but more common in Southeast Asia originated in Taiwan. Thus barkcloth became one of the materials he used for his 2021 Spring-Summer collection titled Goddess. The inspiration came from his reflection during the COVID-19 pandemic: I want to construct a universal image, like serenity and joy from religion.”