Creation of Contemporary Taiwanese Fashion: A Shift in Tainan City Towards Original Design by Tets Kimura & Shih-Ying Lin

Tets Kimura &

Pages 1-24 | Published online: 01 Nov 2016

Taiwan is not famous for its fashion. Out of today’s five major Taiwanese fashion styles, all of which are imported, none are indigenous to Taiwan.This may influence fashion scholars unmotivated to study contemporary Taiwanese fashion. However, post-WWII Taiwan has developed its unique textile culture. It initially acted as a manufacturer within international capitalism, utilizing a combination of the existing infrastructures built by the Japanese colonial government (1895–1945), post-war pro-US policy, and cheap labor. Unfortunately, this did not last indefinitely due to the rise of continental Asian countries, especially China, to replace Taiwan’s role. However, in the 1990s, the textile workers in the island’s historical capital of Tainan started to combine their established trade skills and the city’s nostalgic cultural atmosphere as a source of inspiration to become creators. Since then, there have also been non-Tainan natives attracted by the city’s culture to establish new fashion businesses in Tainan. Although these Tainan fashion companies are unknown in the West, in today’s Taiwan they are regarded as a local specialty characterized by original Taiwanese fashion. This paper will examine the relationship between fashion, colonial history and Taiwanese indigeneity.

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Keywords: Asian fashioncontemporary fashionTainanTaiwanTaiwanese fashion