Sustainable designers and Dutch exchange at Taipei Fashion Week

Taipei Fashion Week SS21 took place at Songshan Cultural and Creative
Park from Oct 6 to 10 with the theme ‘Re:Connext’, which was
inspired by the ambition to adopt creative energy as solutions and imagine
what it means to connect and reconstruct in a post-pandemic world. Having
successfully contained the coronavirus, Taiwan is generating a buzz
globally because it has kept infection numbers extremely low. As a result,
but also successfully featured a total of sixteen
physical shows with local attendees adhering to strict measures.

Shiatzy Chen SS21 (left), if&n SS21 Summer Breeze
(right)

An online interactive buyer meeting was also launched to help designers
interact with international buyers. Virtual shows and digital exhibitions
were able to generate audience and engagement on social platforms due to
the island’s innovation in VR technology and penchant for multimedia arts.
“We fine tuned TPEFW this season to give greater exposure to local
designers,” said CM Liu, managing director of Condé Nast Taiwan, recently
to Vogue UK. The glittering event closed with festivities organized by
TPEFW x Vogue Fashion’s Night Out, cementing its second year since joining
the international fashion industry’s calendar.

Emerging Taiwanese talent: Sustainable PPE fabric and upcycled
fashion

Justin Chou, the designer of Luxxury Godbage by JUST IN XX, utilizes
waste materials and trimmings to reconstruct second-hand clothing. He
expressed in TPEFW’s press release that perhaps there’s no longer a need
for trendy attire, but designs that embody meanings, stories, and
workmanship. “I’ve been thinking how as a member of the fashion industry, I
can reduce waste and environmental pollution. It’s something not only the
industry, but also everyone in the global community, should think long and
hard about,” Chou fervently stated.

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Based in Berlin, Taiwanese designer Shih-Shun Huang’s
sustainability-conscious brand #Damur took a step further in the innovation
of upcycled fashion to create ‘safe travel fashion’ for a pandemic. For its
SS21 collection, #Damur worked with Taiwanese textile and chemical fiber
factories to manufacture clothes made with PPE P2 fabric into weatherproof
and versatile designs. “We printed houndstooth and leather patterns on
nonwoven fabric to transform the material beyond medical uses, making it
something people can wear in everyday life, including when traveling or on
planes,” Huang said in the TPEFW statement.

SILZENCE men SS21 Signature collection uses locally
sourced fabrics, showcasing Taiwan’s textile
industry

Dleet SS21 Dual
Personality

Sustainable textile hub and closing the loop

Taiwan is a worldwide hub exporting over 2.5 billion US dollars worth of
textiles in 2020. In 2019, the textile and apparel industry in Taiwan
recorded a total trade surplus of 5.6 billion US dollars according to the
Netherlands Office Taipei. As the local textile industry has steadily
invested in new machinery and developed novel products to meet the global
market demand, it has been exchanging ideas with the Netherlands in finding
solutions to help the island’s manufacturers be more sustainable, circular,
and environmentally friendly. Currently, Taiwan is also the second largest
export destination in Asia for the Dutch economy.

Dutch sustainable solutions and exchange at TPEFW: Water-free dyeing,
yarn weaved from sea algae

“The textile industry is the second most polluting one in the world and
second largest consumer and polluter of water,” said Guido Tielman,
Representative of the Netherlands Office Taipei in a recent email to
FashionUnited, “and moving its production elsewhere doesn’t solve the
problem, so we (the Netherlands) have been looking for international
partners with our vision and technologies.”

Guido Tielman, Representative and Head of
Mission from the Netherlands Office Taipei at the opening of Taipei Fashion
Week on Oct 6 where he joined the Minister of Economic Affairs, Wang
Mei-Hua and the Minister of Culture, Lee Yung-Te

“We see Taiwan as a natural partner because some of the biggest players
in textile are based in Taiwan and the Netherlands has many cutting-edge
technologies such as reclaiming ocean plastic for new yarns, dyeing without
water, and producing fiber out of seaweeds,” Tielman stated.

According to Metabolic, a Dutch consulting company that tackles major
sustainability challenges, Taiwan’s textile industry has a long history of
specialization in performance fabric made from waste-based products (PET
bottles, coffee ground) and are pioneering circularity and sustainability
efforts in this region. In 2018, Metabolic helped the Taiwan Textile
Research Institute (TTRI) conduct a circular scan and material flow
analysis to pinpoint key performers in the textile industry and on how the
island can continue to lead this part of Asia in closing the loop.

Syzygy SS21 Dream of the Star
Gazer

As seen at the World Economic Forum last year, DyeCoo is a Dutch
green-tech company leading in Co2 dyeing technology of water-free and
process chemical-free dyeing of polyester. All of the machines are
manufactured in the Netherlands and currently both customers and partners
are Taiwan’s Formosa Tafetta (FTC) and Far Eastern New Century Corporation
(FENC). Another shared vision towards a circular fashion future was from
Nienke Hoogvliet, a sustainable designer from the Hague and author of the
books “Seaweed Research” and “Fish Leather”. “In 2017, we visited different companies and learned about textile innovations, as well as about seaweed cultivation and all the species (in Taiwan). We hope we can set up a local Taiwanese seaweed textile factory or collaboration in the future,” Hoogvliet recently wrote to FashionUnited in an email.

Tielman added, “Backed by the Dutch government, a group of trade
organizations and NGOs in the Netherlands signed the Dutch Agreement on
Sustainable Garments and Textile in March 2016 vowing to “do everything in
their power” to reduce the negative impact of their activities on the
environment. Last year, over 40 businesses in the textile industry also
joined the Taiwan Circular Textile Initiative on June 12, proving that the
Netherlands and Taiwan share a commitment to sustainability.”

Designers featured this year included ALLENKO3, C JEAN, Dleet,
DOUCHANGLEE, GIOAI PAN, if&n, INF, Luxxury Godbage by JUST IN XX, oqLiq,
Seivson, SHIATZY CHEN, SILZENCE men, Syzygy, WEAVISM, WEIYU HUNG, and
#DAMUR.

Photos: courtesy of Netherlands Office Taipei, courtesy of Taipei Fashion
Week SS21

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