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June 27, 2017

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Design Atelier paves a way for Taiwan's textile industry

"Taiwan has its own lifestyle; it is important to show it in its own way," he said.

The result is a combination of new textiles and fibers and a modernization of traditional Chinese raiment. Lu displays a recent piece — a black, well-structured zip-up jacket with a rounded Mandarin collar complete with red trim.

"At first glance, you think this is a regular jacket; but the rounded edges and oval shapes are very organic and Asian. The red is also a traditional Chinese color," he explained.

It is not always easy to sell his ideas, especially in Taiwan. On top of his own label, Lu often collaborates with different companies, designing brand aesthetics very different from his own. He finds sharing new ideas and bringing innovation to the mass market a very "Taiwan-specific challenge."

"I would have to try to explain and convince collaborating partners of my aesthetic, defend my design and help them understand that both form and function are very important to me."

As a prime example, the black jacket zips up right below the throat without any fear of nipping the skin on the neck. The stand-up collar, on the other hand, helps shield against the cold on windy days.

To develop his own label, Lu founded 10-Up Design (十上整合設計有限公司) and has diversified his brand with accessories and other fashion-related products. He is not interested in becoming a popular, mass-market brand but hopes his clothes appeals to people who are introspective and understand what his clothes are trying to represent.

Lu admitted that he gets "overwhelmed with the management and business side of the industry" and ultimately would like to have a design partner or develop an entire team.

In the meantime, he has already completed much on his own, and his fashion shows (Body Bloom, The Heroes, Function Strike Fashion) feature his versatility beyond Hakka motifs. In Function Strike Fashion collection, Lu's adeptness at color-blocking and keen interest in architectural philosophy is highly evident.

"The fashion environment in Taiwan is changing," he said. "I believe there is an emerging sense that fashion should reflect culture and not just mimic trends." ■

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