September's iteration of New York Fashion Week was unlike any that took place before. Not only were most of the shows and presentations presented digitally, but the series of events that usually take place in an actual week were also condensed down to three days. Despite the shortened time frame, NYFW included a number of exciting, short-film like presentations, one of which included Taiwanese brand oqLiq. The Quintessential Gentleman received exclusive access to the presentation and interviewed the brand's designers Orbit Lin and Kay Hung.
What or who inspired you to begin designing clothes?
We are inspired by both the latest technology and old, traditional culture. We design to meld the old and new worlds with style, but also with functional aspects present.
How would you describe your style aesthetic?
We would classify oqLiq as urban outdoor streetwear. It's a combination of traditional oriental culture and urban outdoor style that provides high-end functionality.
Who would you say is your customer and how do you design clothes to meet their needs?
Our consumers can see their needs in the details of clothes, such as the use of environmentally friendly and sustainable materials. The clothes can be worn for a long time and are made with good craftsmanship. The pieces also take into account the needs of someone living in the city, such as being water resistant for rainy days and including many beautiful, but practical pockets to help make life convenient.
COVID-19 has impacted the fashion industry in unprecedented ways. Can you tell us how/if you have re-envisioned creating clothing in this environment?
We plan to consider post-pandemic needs when designing the clothing and accessories, which will be both functional and practical. However, we will still convey the original aesthetics of the brand, because when all of this passes, the classic aesthetic we represent should still remain.
Tell us about what inspired your latest NYFW presentation?
The inspiration of the collection came from a prayer for favorable weather called “nature’s blessing." In the oriental novel Investiture of the Gods, there are four heavenly kings, known as Jian, Chin, San, and Lung (sword, instrument, umbrella, dragon) who symbolically represent nature’s blessing. Virūḍhaka of the South direction holds a sword, representing wind (feng); Dhṛtarāṣṭra of the East direction holds ruan or pipa (instruments), representing tune (tiao); Vaiśravaṇa of the North direction holds an umbrella, representing rain (yu); Virūpākṣa of the west direction holds a dragon or snake, representing smooth (shuen). The four words (feng tiao yu shuen) in Chinese means a nature’s blessing.
The imagination of these four heavenly kings can be seen throughout the fashion show, delivering the message of nature’s blessing. The spirit of the brand echoes is conveyed through windproof,, rainproof and comfortable clothing. These four words are consistent themes in oqLiq clothing: Wind (windproof), Tune (functional clothing in tune with body), Rain (rainproof) and Smooth ( comfortable).
The color scheme of the collection featured a lot of neutral and muted colors. Was there a particular reason you went with this color scheme?
We tend to like the colors of nature, which we think make people feel more comfortable.
How do you see the brand growing in the future?
We move forward, we hope to combine oriental aesthetics with Taiwan's environmentally friendly and sustainable materials. We also hope that more customers will know Taiwan, which is full of so many different cultural elements.