Nana: Fashion has infinite possibilities, and new power is born from it. As a carrier of culture and times, fashion encompasses everything. From trendy to traditional culture, from celebrities, idols to everyone’s daily life, and from West to East, it is our discourse, our power, our time. Through Asian Voice, we hope to spread the local Asian fashion culture to the world by moving cross languages and borders.
The passion for fashion during his student years led him to create a fashion inspiration sharing platform, SPOOTD, that can integrate into everyday life. With the rise of social media, SPOOTD has witnessed and accompanied many fashion enthusiasts in Taiwan, some of whom have already established their own brands and successful fashion careers. In the future, SPOOTD will continue to persist in accompanying generations of fashion enthusiasts on their journey through life filled with inspiration and passion, providing them with a space for sharing and interaction.
In the future, SPOOTD will also continue to accompany and inspire the passion and creativity of Taiwanese fashion enthusiasts, offering a space for sharing and communication in the fashion field to help them realize their dreams and integrate fashion into their daily lives.
What inspired you to create SPOOTD initially?
Ryder: Originally, it was because during my student days, I used to read various magazines, whether they were from Japan or Taiwan. One of my favorite sections in those magazines was about everyday people sharing their fashion choices. Later, I realized that most of the individuals featured in these magazines were actually store employees or people who already had a good sense of style. I wanted to get closer to the fashion choices of people in my daily life, so I created this platform, allowing everyone to share their outfits.
Coincidentally, social media was on the rise at that time, providing a platform for people to showcase and share their style, as well as to interact with each other. Initially, it was quite simple; I wanted to know what you were wearing, and friends could exchange fashion ideas. As more and more people got involved, it turned out to be in sync with the rise of community media, making it easy for everyone to share their own OOTD (Outfit of the Day).
What kind of outfit will catch your eye?
Ryder: Because I’m a big fan of sports, I’ve played basketball on a global scale and recently got into marathon running. So, when I first meet someone, I tend to be drawn to those with a connection to sports. For instance, if they’re into dancing or skateboarding, it immediately catches my eye because their style is quite distinct.
I can quickly tell that they might share similar interests with me, like music preferences or favorite sports. This creates a sense of resonance between us, so I’m generally more inclined to connect with individuals whose style is related to athletics. It feels like I could strike up conversations about basketball or skateboarding with them.
Through sharing outfits, covering lifestyle, and interviewing key figures in fashion, what kind of fashion concepts does SPOOTD aim to instill in its followers?
Ryder: First and foremost, the individuals we are currently featuring largely those who have been sharing their style since their high school or college days. This is because we’re celebrating the 10th year of SPOOTD, and many of these people have been active contributors since their early years. Some of them have even gone on to build their own brands after years of consistent sharing. Instead of focusing on imparting a specific philosophy, we aim to convey the idea that anyone willing to share their unique style can potentially, one day, have their own brand, either through our platform or independently.
When we started out, many of us didn’t have access to traditional media like magazines, as the rise of community media was just beginning. Our hope is to provide a platform where more people can gain visibility and be noticed by brands. Several of the individuals we are featuring now were once contributors themselves, and today they have ventured into building their own brands with like-minded friends who share common interests.
In terms of our interviews, Coco is primarily responsible for designing and selecting the individuals we feature. Coco has some unique insights and ideas related to the design of our interviews and the selection of interviewees.
Coco: When I first got involved with SPOOTD, it was primarily a platform for sharing submissions. However, as we discussed with Peng Ge and others, we realized that to focus on communication, we needed to transform it into a platform for deeper insights and exchanges of information and resources. We’ve previously interviewed individuals like Allen, who emerged from online media and built their brands. Through these interviews, we document their journey, share experiences and insights, and introduce fresh ideas to a broader audience. It’s all about uncovering the motivations and thought processes behind fashion choices and product selections, ultimately passing on valuable knowledge to those eager to learn.
As a sneaker enthusiast, is there a particular pair that you hold in high regard or would like to introduce to us?
Ryder: Nike woven footscape world up series is my all-time favorite. I believe this one is from the World Cup, and it’s been over a decade. I remember there were different versions for each country, and this one represents the Netherlands, which is my favorite. It’s always been quite popular in Asia, and this year they’ve released some unique colorways.
There are a total of 10 of them, and I think they represent different countries. What’s really cool about this collection is that each shoe has a number 12 on the back. This is because there are 11 players on a soccer team, and the 12th represents the fans and the spirit of the game. So, I really love this aspect of the series.
Are there any Taiwan and Japanese brands that you believe are worth exploring right now?
Ryder: If you’re looking for some well-done examples, the first one that comes to mind is GOOPi, which is quite famous these days. Wisdom is also doing well. Additionally, there’s Guerrilla, which has a significant international presence.
And for Japan, Needles, Cav Empt, wackomaria are my favorites.
In markets outside of Taiwan, such as in other countries or regions like China, Japan, and Hong Kong, do you notice any significant differences in culture?
Ryder: Japan has deeply rooted itself in Asian culture, and its fashion culture is distinct. I believe that this diversity in style is influenced by various factors such as geography and population size. In Japan, people with a shared interest, like motorcycle enthusiasts (bikers), can establish their own subcultures. Even small brands can amass a significant number of followers and promote their unique brand philosophies. This is something that many in Taiwan admire.
Taiwan’s relatively smaller size means that brands here often struggle to solely rely on a single style to thrive. They must find a balance between their style and what the market demands. Due to the smaller population, brands in Taiwan often need to cater to broader tastes, resulting in multiple brands producing similar products, like trendy shirts. This is partly due to the need to cater to a wider audience since the population is smaller.
However, Taiwan has its strengths. Taiwan excels in producing high-quality fabrics and has excellent clothing manufacturing facilities. Taiwan is particularly notable for its performance apparel, and in recent years, Taiwanese functional fashion brands have made significant strides, gaining recognition not only locally but also internationally.
What are some of the challenges you have faced during the building of SPOOTD?
Ryder: I believe our most significant challenge, shared by many media platforms, is finding a viable business model. In Taiwan, there are multiple fashion-oriented platforms similar to ours, and many have gravitated towards becoming e-commerce stores or marketplaces, allowing users to shop and share products. However, this path deviates from my original intention.
Our goal has always been to source resources and funding from brands while giving back to our engaged followers and friends. We do not want to build a business model around monetizing their followers. We see this approach as relatively novel in Taiwan. We aim to collaborate with brands and even help them organize events, both online and offline, through our platform. This is what we are currently striving to achieve.
Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to start their own career in the fashion industry?
Ryder: It’s essential to showcase your personal style because nowadays, there’s a broad acceptance of individuality.
It’s essential to showcase your personal style.
Text by Yiyao Zhang