Taiwan is hardly a newcomer to the streetwear scene. If you’re familiar with boutiques like INVINCIBLE, Less and Ne.Sense, then you have a pretty good idea of how far street culture in the island has come, especially in the city of Taipei.
The aforementioned shops, which also have their own in-house labels, have been going strong for years — INVINCIBLE and Less have been around since 2006 while Ne.Sense hit the ground running in 2013. They’re frequently mentioned in city guides intended for the most discerning streetwear aficionados looking to score the latest from brands like Nike, adidas, Martine Rose, WTAPS and more. But new brands are also emerging on the local scene thanks to progressive imprints like GUERILLA GROUP and Indice Studio — both have gone on to show in European fashion weeks.
Now, another batch of new brands is looking to follow suit and make a global impact on the industry. But it all has to start at home. In Taiwan, more focused shops like Syndro, Hyst, SMOKA and Woden, among others, are popping up at a rapid pace, catering to the growing local streetwear consumer and helping cultivate momentum for these brands to start their expansion worldwide.
The editors here at HYPEBEAST have picked a few Taiwanese brands you should keep your eye on. They consist of familiar streetwear styles like techwear looks, military-inspired pieces, high fashion labels and even a few avant-garde picks. Take a look at our selections below and give some of them a chance in your wardrobe roster.
Wisdom’s wares exemplify Taiwan’s love affair with post-militaria style: field jackets, weatherproof parkas and cargo pants are given a gentle contemporary upgrade, with trim cuts and neutral tones that encourage layering regardless of the season. Garments bulge with pockets, but the approachable silhouettes allow the high-tech wearables to slot in neatly with more conventional wardrobes. Of course, there are plenty of bold statement pieces — coats with paneled quilting and trousers with transformable legs — that reinforce Wisdom’s aim to channel futuristic cues.
Official website: wisdom2009.com
If Wisdom draws from the future of functional gear, their pals GOOPiMade (often shortened to GOOPi) are wholly focused on the past. A collaborative effort between Taiwanese designers and their Japanese counterparts, GOOPi is all about rugged craft, contemporary textiles and immense silhouettes. Huge jackets, shirts and cargo pants inform a typical GOOPi outfit, abetted by sling bags and bucket hats to taste. An abundance of influences yields collarless jinbei jackets, asymmetric cargo-pocketed coats, wide-fit pullovers and knee-length shorts, with all the affordably-priced clothes readily snapped up by the sturdy domestic fan base.
Official website: goopi.co
Starting its life as a merch range for a coffee shop of the same name in Seoul’s Hannam-Dong district, ALICE LAWRANCE is now a fully-fledged label specializing in post-modern streetwear. Founder and designer Will Lee produces unisex collections built upon memory, moods and individuality through street-centric designs — use of logos, oversized cuts and creative draping are often found each season. More so, ALICE LAWRANCE crafts pieces named after fictional people representing different stylistic themes, hence the focus on the individual. For Lee’s latest “I DRESS BETTER THAN YOUR BOYFRIEND” collection, the brand here continues to emphasize its tongue-in-cheek ethos which follows up previous ranges titled, “WASN’T GOING TO EXIST,” “LA LA LAND” and “SENTIMENTAL.”
Official website: alicelawrancexx.com
Professor. E evokes fantasy-inspired fashions with seasonal lookbooks that utilize dark symbols, fictional folktales and otherworldly backdrops. Despite its enigmatic nature, the standout Taiwanese label crafts a concise aesthetic through muted color palettes, cropping techniques, patterned textiles and asymmetric cuts. The formula seems to work as the brand has steadily become a favorite amongst fashion insiders, especially those who gravitate towards brands like Rick Owens, Greg Lauren and Yohji Yamamoto to name a few.
Official website: professor-e.com
One of the younger brands on this list, PLATEAU STUDIO has developed a niche following tied to Taiwan’s underground scene. Despite its contemporary nature, the imprint draws heavily from the island’s upheld traditions — as seen in the use of traditional art as backdrop for modern streetwear styles in the above lookbook. PLATEAU also prides itself in driving the region’s growing art scene as the label has also been known to collaborate with local artists for their prints and patterns. The movement as a whole can best be described as teenage angst-meets-cultural history-meets-streetwear.
Official website: plateaustudio.com
Followers of visvim, Blue Blue Japan or even ACRONYM will love oqLiq. It’s practically techwear for those who lean less towards the technical side but more the practicality and ease of wear. There’s a bevy of buckles, straps, hidden pockets and zips here, but it’s hardly overwhelming and functionality is still a prime focus. Noragi jackets, oversized parkas, utilitarian vests and patchwork pieces are clear standouts. Everything in its most recent FW20 range has been impressive, more than enough for oqLiq to feel confident to make its runway debut at NYFW.
Official website: oqLiq
Amongst all the brands on this list, LUSIVE is the one that exhibits the most flair. From vibrant animal prints, oversized outerwear cuts to mix-and-match ensembles, the Taiwanese label clearly has a knack for what’s current with streetwear trends — think Balenciaga, Martine Rose or even ARIES in terms of styling. While LUSIVE still has ways to go to catch up to these industry names, its future holds great promise with four Taiwanese stockists already under its belt less than a year after its debut. It will be exciting to see where LUSIVE goes from here within the seasons ahead.
Official website: lusiveworkshop.com