In the marble-coated shopping malls of Taipei, the store signs read like an A to Z of the world's most famous designers and labels: Armani, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Zegna. \nBut despite rising interest from the West in the traditions and designs of the East -- Giorgio Armani visited China in April and is expected to visit Taiwan in January to promote a line of boutiques -- Taiwanese designers have yet to break into the top end of the fashion world. \nSome are wondering if they really want to. \nTaiwanese designers are simply walking on a different catwalk from Armani, said Jenny Chen (陳宜), editor-in-chief of fashion magazine Madame Figaro's local edition. \n"The top end is dominated by famous international brands, with domestic designers trying to make an impression lower down," Chen said. "Local office ladies cannot afford a Chanel ensemble, so the local designers all have their own faithful clientele." \nThe magazine writer, who studied design in New York, said diversity was the way forward for Taiwanese fashion designers. "When different types of fashions are available, people still will go and buy," Chen said. \n"Designers should not narrowly focus on purely oriental designs, any style is welcome," she added. \nBut others say Taiwan's fashion industry should still stick to its cultural roots if it wants to achieve overseas success. \n"Taiwanese designers can go on to the international scene by uniting East and West," fashion critic and Vogue columnist Rosalie Huang said. "The refined Oriental elements are the use of coloring and handicrafts." \nOne designer who is taking that lesson to heart is Fu Tzu-ching (傅子菁). Her embroidery-loaded designs even became the subject of an exhibition at a Taiwanese history museum. \n"Local fashionistas have traded their blind adoration of foreign brands for open-mindedness, with positive results for Taiwanese designers," Fu said. "Taiwanese consumers travel overseas now and can compare products, in the past they lacked information." \nAs she is stitching clothes in her studio decorated with Chinese artifacts, Fu is upbeat about the possibilities for local talent. "The young dare to try new things. There are no limits for new fashions," she said. \nFu is less interested in going international and taking on the major brands on their own terrain. She's planning a more modest step, moving into men's clothing. \nTaiwanese shoppers are echoing her optimism. \n"The quality and style of the clothes matter the most to me, but if the designer is Taiwanese, I will be more likely to buy it," said Veronica Wu, 33, an accountant looking for sweaters at the Taipei 101 shopping mall. \nDesigners Stephane Dou (竇騰璜) and Chang Lee Yugin (張李玉菁) say international fame for a Taiwanese designer will be difficult to achieve, but not impossible. \n"Director Ang Lee (李安) became a global star with his movie, so why can't the same success happen to a fashion designer," Dou said, referring to Lee's the Academy Award-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. \nThe island's designers need to show originality and creativity, Dou said, but he acknowledges the problems. "It's difficult to create something that has not been seen before," he said. \nBut Madame Figaro's Chen says Taiwanese designers shouldn't worry about their European counterparts, because fashion is a two-way street. \n"The Asian market is influencing Europe now, because Asians live by a faster rhythm, and are interested and curious about new trends," she said. \nArmani's visits to Shanghai and Hong Kong last April created a stir in the region. \nBut Chen believes that when Armani comes to Taiwan to promote his new boutiques next January, the vast majority of Taiwan's fashion world will feel trepidation and admiration, rather than fear.
FAMILY FEUD: Weng Jen-hsien, who was convicted of killing six people in 2016, was the second prisoner to be executed since President Tsai Ing-wen took office A death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, less than a year after he was convicted of killing six people by setting fire to his home. Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he signed the order and the death sentence was carried out on Wednesday afternoon in New Taipei City. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced 53-year-old Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, niece, nephew and nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregivers. Weng set fire to his home in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) on Feb. 7, 2016, after a family feud
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...
Police in Kaohsiung are investigating a possible murder after a woman’s body was found in a plastic container on Thursday. The bucket was found by a person operating an excavator on a construction site at a private lot next to the Ciaotou Sugar Refinery Station (橋頭糖廠站) on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system. Police investigator Chen Jen-cheng (陳仁正) yesterday said police had reviewed missing person reports and have narrowed the identity of the victim down to about 20 possible people. Physical evidence suggested she might have been a Fongshan District (鳳山) woman surnamed Lin (林), who was about 60 years old when she
IN PRINCIPLE: The Central Epidemic Command Center began yesterday to ban visits to hospitalized patients, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 10 new COVID-19 cases — eight imported and two locally transmitted — bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 339. The imported cases involved six men and two women, all Taiwanese, who had traveled to Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Indonesia, countries in Latin America, the UK or the US before arriving back in Taiwan between March 6 and Tuesday, center data showed. Among them, patient No. 338 was part of a tour group that traveled to Austria and the Czech Republic, and has resulted in an infection cluster of five cases,