In 2011, Shinkong Textile, a Taiwanese high-performance textile developer Goopimade regularly works with, launched a new retail concept called Artifacts, which stocks emerging local designers. Similar ventures include Onefifteen, founded by Wintex Knitwear Corporation in 2013. “This type of collaboration is even more significant with outdoor-focused designer brands, whose garments help highlight the utility and performance of the textiles,” says Lu. The Taiwan Textile Foundation’s report also suggests that the collaboration is particularly significant for textiles developed “for function plus fashion”.
Goopimade is among the outdoorsy designer brands taking advantage of this. Around 70 per cent of its products use fabrics designed in collaboration with Taiwanese textile developers, and Goopimade promotes their use heavily in its marketing.
Smirk, however, raises a concern. “We have top-tier textile resources in Taiwan with the latest technology, but other parts of the supply chain are becoming outdated and incompetent. We might have to consider manufacturing outside of Taiwan someday, but we will still stay here as long as we can.”
In January, Taiwan’s Industrial Development Administration brought awareness to the need for more advanced modernization to make the local textile industry more competent, especially SMEs. The government agency aims to help create greener and more efficient supply chains and logistics by implementing internet of things (IoT), cloud computing and decarbonisation technologies. This is part of the agency’s plan to modernize Taiwanese conventional industry sectors by 2030.
Dual strategy: Clothing brand and ‘select shop’ retailers
Before Goopimade, in 2016, Smirk and Leo founded Goopi.co, an online multi-brand retailer specializing in outdoor fashion brands. The store, still running, currently stocks 41 brands, such as Brooklyn fragrance brand Apotheke and Tokyo-based artisanal hatmaker Found Feather, alongside Goopimade. Goopi.co accounts for 40 per cent of overall income, according to the company, and the rest comes from Goopimade.
Goopi.co’s model is referred to as “select shop retailing”, a term that originated in Japan to describe multi-brand stores that are more expensive than fast fashion but generally more affordable than luxury boutiques. Goopimade’s prices range from NT$360 (£9) for a pair of socks to NT$10,800 (£270) for a parka. Select shops usually offer a curation of garments and accessories with a uniform aesthetic that could easily be mixed and matched.
“Due to Taiwan’s history, education, and family values, the mainstream Taiwanese population is more concerned with comfort and convenience instead of style,” says Lu. “With Goopimade and Goopi.co’s curated products, people less sensible to style could easily adopt the urban outdoor style hassle free, especially when the brand’s price point offers more value than other designer brands.”