2020/10/31  
Artisans create slow fashion for a fast-paced world (2020/10/18)
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  • 英文 English 
    Artisans create slow fashion for a fast-paced world (2020/10/18)

    Not many of us would think to go to a tailor when we want to buy clothes. But once upon a time, artisans were the prime purveyors of high-end garments and accessories. In today's market of mass-produced clothes, there is still a handful of craftsmen who make custom pieces like the qipao, a tight-fitting Chinese-style dress. Today in our Sunday special report, we take a stroll into the world of slow, made-to-order fashion that's designed to be treasured for a lifetime.

    Walking into Wanhua District’s Bopiliao Historic Block, 76-year-old Chung Chun-chung stops to snap photos, while recalling memories of his childhood.

    Photography is a hobby Chung developed in his childhood. By trade, he’s a professional jeweler. His family has run a gold jewelry shop for three generations.

    Chung’s day starts as the store’s display window is lit up. Under the store’s lights, he is bathed in the glitter of gold, jeweler and jewelry each shining resplendently.

    Chung Chun-chung
    Jeweler
    Those getting married or celebrating mothers’ and fathers’ birthdays all come here to buy. Business was the best at the start of my 20s. Back then business was the best, and my work was never complete.

    In that era, orders from weddings and birthdays alone were enough that the store had to hire a dozen or so jewelers. Their salaries back then were comparable to a bank manager’s. Chung began making jewelry at 17, and is still at today in his old age.

    Gold is heated to 1,200 degrees Celsius, until it gives off a milky white light. That light means the gold is soft enough for the jeweler to mold it into new forms.

    As the mallet hits the gold, a sharp clang penetrates the air. Each strike is made with a deliberate force, at a calibrated angle.

    Chisel in hand, he carves out a delicate pattern. Chung has spent countless days hunched over a narrow workbench, but not once has he complained of being worn out from his work.

    Chung Chen Yu-chin
    Chung Chun-chung’s wife
    If you’re doing something out of interest, you’ll do it well – you won’t feel tired doing it. He sits there all day, and if I ask him if he wants to go do something fun, he just ignores me.

    Chung is hailed as a jeweler with an “artisan’s spirit.” It’s praise for his level of skill, which is in the realm of art. And even after all this time, he still has the love for the craft that he started with.

    Similarly dedicated to his craft is 67-year-old artisan Chen Chung-hsin. Having started at 13, Chen followed in his parents’ footsteps, crafting qipao – traditional Chinese dresses – in Taipei’s then-bustling Dadaocheng area.

    Chen Chung-hsin
    Dressmaker
    If the lady next door wanted new clothes for the Lunar New Year, or if there was someone in the family getting married, they would come and have a qipao made. In the early days, in the entertainment district, there were a dozen odd qipao shops – and they would each have at least two dressmakers. Back when business was booming, we had five or six dressmakers working with us.

    In the making of a custom qipao, the materials and patterns are chosen by the customer. Next, the dressmaker will cut the materials to fit the customer’s body measurements. Each dress is highly unique, and it is unlikely two people will end up wearing the same dress.

    Ma Yu-wen
    Lecturer
    I feel that a good number of people misunderstand the qipao – they think you need to have a nice figure to wear qipao. Actually I am a person who often wears qipao and I have discovered that, qipao is magical in how it adorns the body. If you look closely at its handcrafted elements, you’ll see that everyone’s qipao is completely different. We say that Europe is known for its haute couture high-end custom fashion. Well qipao is the high-end custom clothing of Chinese people.

    For a time, qipao and custom-made gold jewelry were treasured goods in Taiwan. But both began to fall by the wayside in the 1980s, when new machinery ushered in mass production.

    Shih Wen-hsin
    Taipei Jewelers Association
    If you want to mass produce something, then of course you need to make a pattern, which you will do by using a mold. The difference between hand-crafted and molded things is… I should say that handcrafted things are much more durable and much more easily repaired. Its lines are more refined.

    Ma Yu-wen
    Lecturer
    The qipao’s decline was due to the advent of ready-made clothing. Another reason was due to the fact that in the 1960s and 1970s, qipao were very, very tight-fitting. It was popular to wear tight-fitting qipao then. Well to be honest, it’s really not convenient to move around in such a tight-fitting qipao.

    In modern society, efficiency and immediate gains are highly prized. Under these circumstances, the processes of traditional artisans can’t keep up in terms of speed or quantity. But some argue that such metrics don’t capture quality.

    Hsu Feng-chang
    National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute
    Have people ever considered that we live in a situation where people are too concerned with immediate gains, where everyone wants to see fast results. But are those really good results? Sometimes, that’s not necessarily the case. What we’re doing is – we’re trying to promote what we call “slow workmanship,” or rather “slow work that produces refined workmanship.”

    Custom jewelry is unique, and the craftsmen who make them patiently communicate with the client to fill their needs. This type of closeness between maker and consumer are things that mechanized production can never replicate.

    A customer of Chen’s for 30 years now, Lee Yu-feng’s closet houses 200 qipao custom-made just for her. On this visit, she is not only here to order a new dress. She’s here to implore Chen to go with her to an event held by a qipao enthusiasts group.

    It’s Saturday here on Dihua Street. There’s a stage at this bustling center. One by one these, qipao enthusiasts take to the runway to show off their dresses. As a maker of qipaos, Chen also walks the runway. Throughout the event, close to 100 people participate, making the qipao fashion show a success.

    Young people mix with shop owners, together designing a tour of the old street. Qipao shops and tea shops are worked into the tour. Visitors are encouraged to enter the shops and gain a sense for what is local culture.

    Huang Fei-lin
    Cultural historian
    For those interested in artisanal crafts, an issue faced by Taiwan at the moment is the disappearance of the traditional arts. So we need more people to focus their attention on this. The national treasures among us are inside the alleyways.

    Taiwan’s artisans spend their entire lives focused on doing one thing well. These crafts that are born out of time and reflection are the fashion items of everyday Taiwanese people.

    Chen Chung-hsin
    Dressmaker
    One customer talks about it to another customer. They wear their qipao out for the joy of it. If Taiwanese wear qipao when they go abroad, people see it and tell them, “Your clothes… that qipao is so beautiful!”

    Chung Chun-chung
    Jeweler
    People used to say that wearing gold is old-fashioned. I tell customers, it is also possible for old-fashioned to be beautiful. Handcrafted things have a handcrafted feel to them. Something that’s a bit off kilter can also be beautiful. It’s different from the rest.

    Always transforming and always improving, craftsmen work with nothing but their hands, keeping the flame alive for local traditional arts.
    中文 Chinese  
    匠師們的平民時尚

    百工百業為國家根基,走訪台灣各角落,其實有不少擁有極致手藝的匠人,他們終其一生投入產業,苦心鑽研獨門技藝。以旗袍師、打金師為例,量少、精緻慢工細活,在八零年代,消費型態受到機械化快速且大量生產的衝擊,讓手藝逐漸走向沒落。而這些由傳承自家族,或由師徒制養成老師傅,除了在技術專業上精益求精,年輕一輩也試著替他們,增加曝光、提升競爭力,希望能讓台灣匠人文化,繼續延續。

    走進萬華剝皮寮,76歲的鍾春忠,一邊拍照,一邊聊著兒時的回憶。

    拍照,是年輕時就培養的興趣,鍾春忠的職業其實是一名「打金師」,一家三代都在這裡經營金舖。

    鍾春忠的一天,始於櫥窗打亮的時刻,燈光照射下,色澤飽滿的金飾,各自璀璨。

    [[鍾春忠 打金師]]
    “結婚的,媽媽,爸爸生日都來買,生意最好時是我二十歲出頭,那時候生意最好,工作做不完”

    那個年代,光是嫁娶、賀壽的訂單,就多到讓店內,足以聘請十多位師傅,人人月薪相當於銀行經理。鍾春忠從17歲開始接觸打金,從年輕做到頭髮花白。

    金塊在1200度焰火底下,燒出乳白光芒,代表質地軟化,能進一步「打胚」塑形。

    鐵杵遇上金塊,發出清脆聲響,每一次敲擊,得斟酌力道與角度。

    鍾春忠拿著鑿子,細捶雕花。長久以來,天天窩在狹小工作檯前,但他從不喊累。

    [[鍾春忠太太 鍾陳玉琴]]
    “如果是興趣的話,你就會把事情做好,就不會感覺累,他一天都坐在那邊,問他要不要去玩,他都不理我”

    鍾春忠被譽為,是擁有「匠人魂」的打金師,所謂匠人,指的是手工技能了得,已經接近藝術境界,而且經過時間淬煉,他們對創作仍保有赤誠初心。

    一樣堅持手作之美的匠人,還有67歲的陳忠信,他13歲開始,就跟著父母,在熱鬧的大稻埕製作旗袍。

    [[陳忠信 旗袍師]]
    “鄰居太太過年穿個新衣,或是家裡面有人結婚,就會來做旗袍。早期在酒家經營範圍內,有十幾間旗袍店,裡面最少都有兩個師傅以上,我們生意正好時,師傅有五、六個以上”

    訂製旗袍不管是布料與花樣,都是憑客人喜好選擇,再依照不同身形量身剪裁,也因此,做出來的成品獨特性高、不容易撞衫。

    [[馬于文 輔大文創學程兼任講師]]
    “我覺得很多人對旗袍有誤解,覺得旗袍好像要身材很好才能穿,其實我自己常穿旗袍的人發現,旗袍的剪裁有修飾身形的魔力,你近看它的手工藝,其實每個人都是完全不一樣,我們說歐洲有Haute couture高級訂製,旗袍其實是華人的高級訂製”

    不論是旗袍或是打金,都曾是台灣盛行一時的流行精品,但都在八零年代,因為機械化大量生產的時代來臨,逐漸走向沒落。

    [[石文信 北市金銀珠寶同業公會召集人]]
    “這一樣東西要大量生產,那當然就會開一個模,下去用鑄模的方式,手工的東西跟鑄模的差別點,應該是說手工的東西,它一個持久性,還有可修復性高,那它的線條比較精細”

    [[馬于文 輔大文創學程兼任講師]]
    “是因為成衣出來了,還有一個原因就是六、七十年代,它是非常非常合身的旗袍,流行合身的旗袍,那其實坦白說,的確也行動比較沒有那麼方便”

    現代社會,講求效率與速利,對較之下,傳統匠人的慢工細活,不論量或速度,看似跟不上時代,但真是如此嗎。

    [[許峰旗分館長 台北當代工藝設計分館]]
    “大家有沒有想過,我們處在一個太講求速利的情境當中,大家都想要很快速的拿到成果,這個真的會有成果嗎,其實有時候不見得,以我們來講,反而在推動所謂的「慢活」,或者是「慢工出細活」”

    獨一無二,加上匠師們與顧客耐心溝通,這種親民、又充滿溫度的平民時尚,是機械化生產,完全無法代替的。

    與陳忠信有三十年交情的李玉鳳,家中衣櫥,收藏兩百件陳忠信的旗袍,這次上門,除了要做新衣服,也力邀陳忠信一同參與,由「旗袍同好社團」發起的大型活動。

    週六的迪化街,人車最密集處,搭起伸展台,一個個穿著旗袍的素人,輪番上台走秀。作為旗袍師,陳忠信也一起走秀。整場活動,參與者將近百人,成功吸引群眾目光。

    也有年輕人結合在地店家,一起研究出專屬老城區的「觀光路線」。不管是旗袍店、還是茶行,通通納入導覽內容,鼓勵觀光客,走入店舖、實地感受。

    [[大稻埕巷弄文化推廣者 黃飛霖]]
    “對於喜歡職人手藝的人來說,這是台灣目前正在面對的課題,傳統工藝的消失,所以更需要大家來關注他們,人間國寶,其實是在巷弄內”

    台灣匠人終其一生,專注做好一件事,這些經過歲月洗禮,內斂的手藝,是台灣值得被保存的平民時尚。

    [[陳忠信 旗袍師]]
    “一個客人報給一個客人,穿出去歡喜,代表我們台灣去國外,人家看到會說,噢,你的衣服,這件旗袍怎麼那麼美”

    [[鍾春忠 打金師]]
    “以前人家說戴金子俗氣,我都常跟客人說,俗氣也有俗氣的美,手工有手工的味道,歪歪的也很美,跟別人比較不一樣”

    自我蛻變、精益求精,匠師們靠著質樸溫暖的雙手,為傳統手藝創造一線生機。
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