One of the most interesting and rewarding aspects of covering emerging designers here is seeing how they strive to create a unique aesthetic identity for Taiwan. You sometimes hear people say that Taiwan has no art of its own (aside from Taiwanese aboriginal art) and that everything is derivative of Chinese or Japanese traditions. Until recently, pursuing a career in art or design was also simply financially unfeasible for many people. But I don’t think that means Taiwan has no creative voice. On the contrary, young designers and artists now have the opportunity to create a visual vocabulary for this country that combines influences from many different cultures while at the same time highlighting things that are particularly Taiwanese.
Textile brand In Blooom’s (印花樂) goal is to make designs that touch on the collective impressions Taiwanese people have of everyday life. One series is inspired by native animals and plants, including their signature Taiwanese crested myna (台灣八哥) prints. Once frequently seen, Taiwanese crested mynas are becoming rarer as they are pushed out of their habitats by other, more aggressive non-indigenous birds.
Another series of tessellated prints is based on the ceramic tiles that were once a common sight in Taiwanese dwellings. After seeing In Blooom’s prints, I always keep my eyes out for flooring whenever I go into an older building (Le Magasin du Ciel (現在夢中 ● 雜貨商行), which is located in a converted apartment, has a really great example). I like how they derived inspiration from something many people take for granted and turned it into an eye-catching but versatile design.
In Blooom is only a couple of years old and its three designers are all recent university graduates. I first met them at last year’s Taiwan International Cultural and Creative Industry Expo (台灣國際文化創意產業博覽會) and am happy to see how quickly the brand is growing. They recently opened their first store in Art Yard (小藝埕), which is located in a converted colonial era residence right across Dihua St from Yongle Fabric Market. For more information and the address, please check out my recent article for the Taipei Times.