When I hear the words “Asian fashion” I characterize them as electric and having a newness in the field of style and dressing, such an abstract taste. Words that have just enough potency to move the “now” to a “next”.
All along my way throughout the clothing markets of Taipei, Taiwan, I’ve been submerged in the culture of Taiwanese fashion. In the markets, I didn’t find that much of my traveling amongst many people was so frightening after all. It was, in a way, magically overwhelming. I often shop around the areas of Zhongxiao Dunhua and everywhere I turn my eyes glance around, adhesive to the many metal spikes of gold and silver, bedazzled high top converse sneakers, dipped and dyed hair, cheetah printed hoodies, tailored leather suits, and studded out hats, with fast talking bargainers quietly pleading “jhe kao, jhe kao…” Just imagine this. As a person of small stature, I began to feel even smaller. It became clear to me, as I moved between clusters of crowded people, that this was not just a trendy culture, but also one of great versatility and demand for it.
I refer to Taiwanese fashion as a great surrounding and I questioned many times here, whether or not fashion and person style really are two different things. I had became infatuated with everything that I saw. Using my best-broken Chinese, I bought an unforgivable amount of clothing, until almost every single NT in my wallet was gone. In a helpless case, I wouldn’t have had any way home but at least I’d be wearing a great outfit. It’s weird this kind of satisfaction made me feel secure.
The way of thinking about fashion and style should be divided as aspects of a sub-culture. A unique one, that is rapidly unfolding and popularizing the way that we dress, how we express ourselves, and more importantly, how we identify with ourselves and the world around us. I clutched the thought that my understanding about Asian fashion has been greatly influenced by the exchanges of trend-setting in Taipei, Taiwan. While a boy riding on his moped scooter wearing lavender colored floral Hello Kitty helmet could interpret femininity in another culture, here in Taiwan it seem socially accepted. So now, impeads a topic suitable for conversation on the gender roles of societal
prejudices in the way that people dress and how a person is defined by what he or she wears. This is a critical observation, and I found that Taiwanese fashion can be seen as not only cultural but, philosophical. That’s just it! I found the people of Taiwan do have their own personal style respectful to their culture and neoteric day-to-day life and with luck, has a liberated movement in fashion free of these social blockades. I believe Taiwan is driven by something far more creative and bigger than just lavender colored floral Hello Kitty helmet.
Written by Mell Green