Taipei Fashion Week opened its Spring/Summer 2023 season on October 14th with “CrossLab: Dialogue between Indigenous Art and Fashion”, a themed group show highlighting the collaboration between 5 designers with 5 expert traditional craftsmen.
The show explores the intersection of fashion, craft and humanity through 50 pieces, emphasizing the importance of preserving and passing along cultural traditions and design techniques from various indigenous groups while building community and fashion with a new perspective. Modern civilization is the crystallization of historical accumulation, which is the mission of Taipei Fashion Week.
Taipei Fashion Week Spring SS23
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“The opening show focuses on exploring the innovative possibilities of the treasured crafts of the Taiwanese indigenous communities, and transforming the national treasure craft into new inspiration for fashion design. I hope that through the translation of these contemporary fashion designers, classic weaving crafts can enter our daily wardrobe,” said Minister of Culture, Lee Yung-Te.
Taipei Fashion Week continues to chart a progressive outlook on the future of fashion, this season looking to its roots and reinterpreting traditional techniques for modern designs as a form of cultural sustainability. Designers Bob Jian, McFly Chao, Chia-Hung Su, Justin Chou and Shao-Yen Chen worked to convey a narrative where modern protagonists discover their self-identity through traditional costume craftsmanship as a way to move forward.
Indigenous masters—also known as preservers of the disappearing skills that have unique significance for each ethnic group—were essential to the development of each collection. Such skills include specialty weaving techniques from the people of Kavalan, Paiwan, Seediq and Atayal. The resulting fashion is striking, a balance of tradition and innovation, proving indigenous techniques have a place in modern fashion.
Highlights included DYCTEAM’s collaboration with Seta Bakan, one of the most respected weavers among the modern Seediq people, who helped inject a handcrafted element into the brand’s urban clothing style. Similarly, SHAO YEN worked with zaqong to include exclusive banana silk weaving of the Kavalan people into his designs. Among the 16 indigenous communities in Taiwan, only the Kavalan people have this special skill, which was typically reserved for nobles. Meanwhile, JUST IN XX imagined street wear for the future with the help of Ljavaus, the most representative preserver of the traditional craft of Paiwan Kinavatjesan traditional embroidery. Ljavaus sorted eight traditional pattern techniques that not only contain valuable wisdom from tribal elders to teach their younger generations, but also symbols and totems that depict tribal memory and legends.
The entire show was an immersive experience, featuring VR visual sets, models from the community, and sound and music produced by indigenous musician, Abao—all highlighting the core crossover and connection of craft and modern fashion, old and new, humanity and commerce.
Following the opening show, Taipei Fashion Week will continue through October 28th. To learn more about this season’s runway collections, head to tpefw.com.