Student Work

  • Fashion Studies (MA)

    Elise Ay

    Heritage and Modernity: Taiwanese Fashion Designs’ Cultural Identity Within the Global Fashion Industry

    This research explores how Taiwanese fashion designers represent their cultural identity through design on a global stage. It specifically focuses on three designers — Justin Chou, Apu Jan, and Angus Chiang — who are considered to be part of the young up-and-coming generation of Taiwanese fashion design. This thesis investigates how they draw inspiration from their cultural past, utilize their local present, and showcase their design concepts, creativity, and cultural identity for the global fashion industry through materiality.

    In a fashion industry that still tilts towards a Euro-centric aesthetic, East Asian fashion designers from different countries racialize or orientalize themselves to better promote and market their work. To complicate matters, Taiwanese design is often conflated with Chinese design because of Taiwan’s historical and political entanglements with mainland China. However, these two design aesthetics represent a diverse set of cultural and social backgrounds. This research hopes to shed light on what kind of Taiwanese fashion designs are represented in the global fashion industry and to explore how contemporary Taiwanese fashion can develop in the future.