You can’t just wait around for the future, you have to go out and create it. That’s the ethos behind JIN, an haute couture clothing brand from Taipei. The brainchild of Burgess Wu, JIN was born of a pure love for science fiction. The flagship store in the Wanhua district, half showroom and half event space, is a laboratory for creativity inspired by Blade Runner that regularly hosts a range of unique parties.
Wu founded JIN in 2015 after dropping out of college. He was studying design but became impatient, unable to wait to start creating real things. As the son of a clothing designer, he already had a strong foundation in the craft , so he combed through past sketches and set to work building his brand: he began sourcing material and working with tailors to bring these concepts to life. When his first line, which had a sci-fi aesthetic, didn’t sell, he retreated to his home studio for some soul searching. He decided to combine his futuristic look with traditional elements, and this new approach seemed to catch on. “I wanted to offer something to society, something new for this generation,” he explains. “Fast fashion is boring—there’s no individuality. If you spend all your time following the trends, you lose yourself.”
2015 年，Wu 大学辍学后创办了 JIN。当时正在攻读设计专业的他，迫不及待并渴望能创造出实打实的作品。Wu 的父亲是一名服装设计师，在工艺方面为他早已夯实了坚硬的基础。在认真梳理了自己画过的草图过后，他开始着手打造属于自己的品牌：采购面料，与裁缝师共事，并逐渐将这些设计概念转化为现实。他的首个系列以科幻美学为主题概念，但卖得并不理想，他回到家中的工作室，反复琢磨自己的设计理念。随后，他决定将自己未来主义风格与传统元素结合起来，这种新的创作方式似乎很受追捧。“我想为社会和这一代人创造点新东西。”他解释道。“快时尚太无聊，缺乏个性。如果你一昧追逐潮流，你终会失去自己的个性。”
In Wanhua District, which is full of historic neighborhoods, it’s easy to find inspiration. “We keep our traditions,” Wu says. Nods to tradition in his designs include robes, leather headbands, silk shirts, and more. But he combines these with ultra-modern materials and tech wear details. “I travel to Guangzhou and walk around and touch the materials before choosing them. I handle them in person. I come up with the idea first and then go collect the fabrics.” He works with a well-known local tailor to produce small runs for each new line. He only releases about 10-20 pieces for each line and his customers tend to be film or design students.
在万华这个充满历史韵味的街区，灵感无处不在。你会从长袍礼服、皮革头带、丝制衬衫等设计洞见他们对传统文化的致敬，“我们要继承传统，”他说。同时，他还将这些传统元素与超前的面料材质、机能服装细节结合在一起。“我飞到广州到处寻找合适面料，选择之前都会先去用手摸，每次都由我亲自拣选。通常，都会先构思想法，再去进行挑选。”对于每一个新的系列，他都会与当地著名的裁缝师一同合作，进行小批量的生产。而一般每个系列他只推出 10 – 20 件作品，客户往往是电影或设计专业的学生。
JIN is much more than just its clothes, though. Their brick-and-mortar location is just as important, maybe more so. Underneath glowing neon signs is a working bar, which they open when hosting their one-of-a-kind events. Their central display case looks like a giant test tube. They often invite DJs to perform, and there’s even a tattoo artist with a booth set up in the back. Occasionally they bring in a sushi master, and most recently they hosted a boxing match. For Wu, the idea is to throw unconventional events that can cultivate interest with people who aren’t solely into fashion. “We want to bring people together from different scenes and make new friends,” Wu says.” There were a lot of people I’ve never met at this last event.”
但 JIN 不仅仅是一个服装品牌。他们的实体店同样重要，甚至可以说更重要。在霓虹灯标牌的下面是一个吧台，每当举办活动的时候就会派上用场；在店内中央的陈列台上放着一支巨大的试管；他们也经常邀请 DJ 前来表演，在整个空间的后面还有纹身师的工作台；有时，他们会邀请寿司师傅过来一显身手。就在最近，他们甚至还举办了一场拳击比赛。Wu 的想法是通过举办各种不拘一格的活动，吸引那些不单是对时尚感兴趣的人群。Wu 说：“我们希望将不同背景的人们聚在一起，结交新的朋友。譬如上一次活动，我就认识了很多以前从未见过的人。”
There’s still a ways to go, though. “The fashion scene here isn’t mature enough yet,” Wu complains.”People dress up for events or parties, but they don’t just dress up for fun on a regular day. I want to inspire people in Taipei to try new things. I want them to understand the value of style.”
Contributor: Mike Steyels
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li
Images Courtesy of JIN